Seven-try Munster demolish Zebre as Peter O'Mahony returns after a year on the sidelines
Published 01/10/2016 | 20:05
Clinical Munster racked up seven tries in a 49-5 demolition of an outclassed Zebre in their one-sided Guinness PRO12 clash at Thomond Park.
Munster had the bonus point in safe-keeping by half-time after scoring four tries in the opening half. They added three more touchdowns, with CJ Stander completing a brace, to make it four wins in five league outings.
All seven tries were converted, four by fly-half Tyler Bleyendaal and the final three from replacement Ian Keatley who passed the 1,000-point career mark for the Irish province.
A very satisfying night for Munster's director of rugby Rassie Erasmus also included a return to action for Ireland back rower Peter O'Mahony following his 12-month lay-off for a serious knee injury.
O'Mahony was sprung from the bench for the final 20 minutes and received a huge ovation from the home supporters, having been injured playing for Ireland at last autumn's Rugby World Cup.
Munster took a firm grip on the game in the opening half, laying the foundations for the win. They bagged their first try inside four minutes when flying winger and man of the match Darren Sweetnam touched down, following a fine break from Conor Murray.
After Zebre number 10 Carlo Canna pushed a penalty attempt right and wide in the ninth minute, Munster survived another scare when only a desperate cover tackle from Sweetnam prevented Giovanbattista Venditti from running the length of the pitch to score an intercept try in the 21st minute.
Having survived that let-off, scrum-half Murray added Munster's second try soon after when he broke from the back of a maul.
Try number three arrived for the province just before the half-hour mark when number eight Stander blocked down an attempted clearance from the Zebre defence before touching down.
Munster had the bonus point in the bag in the 32nd minute when Bleyendaal intercepted on halfway and the pacy Simon Zebo collected Murray's neat chip through before touching down for a 28-0 interval lead.
Munster were awarded a penalty try in the 52nd minute when Sweetnam was impeded as he looked set to score, and Erasmus' men, who visit provincial rivals Leinster next week, added further tries through prop Stephen Archer and Stander.
Archer charged over on 64 minutes after Keatley broke and passed before Stander broke away in the closing minutes following Duncan Williams' pass. Between those scores Zebre bagged a consolation try when winger Gabriele di Giulio crossed in the corner in the 72nd minute.