Monday 24 July 2017

Impressive Munster rack up a half-century

Zebre 14 Munster 50

James Cronin scores Munster's sixth try. Photo: Sportsfile
James Cronin scores Munster's sixth try. Photo: Sportsfile

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

James Cronin and Ronan O'Mahony scored two tries each as Munster eased past Zebre with a disciplined, professional display in Parma.

Seven days out from their Champions Cup quarter-final against Toulouse at Thomond Park, Munster impressed for long periods and after Niall Scannell, Tommy O'Donnell and Ronan O'Mahony scored before the break, they ran in four more tries in the second period to claim a seventh bonus-point win of their Pro12 campaign.

Kayle Van Zyl of Zebre is tackled by John Ryan and Jack ODonoghue. Photo: Roberto Bregani/Sportsfile
Kayle Van Zyl of Zebre is tackled by John Ryan and Jack ODonoghue. Photo: Roberto Bregani/Sportsfile

With his squad set to be strengthened by the return of Conor Murray, Simon Zebo, CJ Stander, Keith Earls and the likely Racing 92-bound Donnacha Ryan, boss Rassie Erasmus will be delighted with the display of many of his fringe players. Ronan O'Mahony brought his seasonal tally to 11 tries with one in each half, Jack O'Donoghue was impressive again at the back of the scrum, while newer faces like the Johnston brothers - Bill and Dave - also impressed.

From the start Munster were impressive as they kicked to the corners in search of tries and never gave their opponents a minute to breathe. Their first two tries arrived off the back of rolling mauls in the fourth and 18th minutes, while O'Mahony's first try came from some great play by the pack which he finished in the left corner for a 21-0 lead.

There were brief glimpses of Zebre's potential. Back-row Derick Minnie barged over on the half-hour mark and Lloyd Greeff also scored a try 15 minutes into the second period, but other than that it was one-way traffic.

Leading 24-7 at half-time, Munster continued to be disciplined after the restart and it only took them six minutes to seal the bonus point when Rory Scannell darted though a gap in the defensive line to score under the posts. For his trouble he took a late blow from Marcello Violi, who was sin-binned for Zebre, and with a man less to face Munster soon struck again, when Ronan O'Mahony finished well after a stunning Darren Sweetnam break and offload.

Kayle Van Zyl of Zebre is tackled by John Ryan and Jack ODonoghue. Photo: Roberto Bregani/Sportsfile
Kayle Van Zyl of Zebre is tackled by John Ryan and Jack ODonoghue. Photo: Roberto Bregani/Sportsfile

After the bench was emptied Cronin drove over twice from close range to wrap up the half-century of points.

Scorers - Munster: N Scannell, T O'Donnell, R O'Mahony (2), R Scannell, J Cronin (2) tries; T Bleyendaal (4), R Scannell (2) cons, T Bleyendaal pen. Zebre: D Minnie, L Greeff tries; M Violi, S Bordoli cons.
Zebre: D Berryman; K Van Zyl (G Palazzani 66), T Boni, T Castello (M Pratichetti 72), L Greeff; S Bordoli, M Violi (C Engelbrecht 72); B Postiglioni (A De Marchi 28), O Fabiani, B Le Roux (G Roan 63); G Koegelenberg, V Bernabò (c) (J Furno h-t); M Mbandà, D Minnie (S Tobias 68), F Ruzza (P Ceccarelli 76)
Munster: D Johnston; D Sweetnam, J Taute (D Goggin 66), R Scannell, R O'Mahony; T Bleyendaal (B Johnston 51), D Williams (A Lloyd 60); D Kilcoyne (J Cronin 51), N Scannell (R Marshall 63), J Ryan (S Archer 65); D O'Callaghan, B Holland (D O'Shea 70); P O'Mahony (c), T O'Donnell (C Oliver 57), J O'Donoghue.
Referee: S Gallagher (IRFU)

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