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JJ's double chases Zebre out of Thomond

JJ Hanrahan marked his first start for Munster with two tries and a man-of-the-match display as they beat 29-3 Zebre at Thomond Park.

An uninspiring first half produced just six points, with Ian Keatley and Zebre's Australian centre Daniel Halangahu striking a single penalty apiece. But Munster found an extra gear or two after that, inviting Hanrahan, twice, and Felix Jones through for tries and Luke O'Dea dotted down for a 76th-minute bonus-point score.

It was a missed penalty-riddled start to proceedings in Limerick.

Zebre, with their heavy pack putting their weight about, went off their feet at a central ruck in the 26th minute, allowing Keatley to kick the hosts ahead with the first score.

However, both sides struggled to retain possession and build attacks. Halangahu had the final say before half-time, splitting the posts with his first successful kick after the Italians put pressure on in the scrum.

Five-and-a-half minutes into the second half, Munster finally unlocked the Zebre defence. Hanrahan backed himself, darting through a gap and getting past Luca Martinelli near the line for a well-taken try.

Keatley converted and just before the hour mark, Jones jinked past four defenders on a eye-catching surge to the whitewash which will have pleased watching Ireland boss Declan Kidney.

The full-back's 56th-minute try was converted by Keatley who supplied the assist and the extras for Hanrahan's second.

With Zebre tiring and Munster finding holes out wide, Laulala drew a couple of defenders and passed for O'Dea to finish off the night's scoring in the right corner.

Meanwhile, current Leinster Academy Manager Colin McEntee will move into a new role as the IRFU High Performance Manager.

It could leave an opening for former Ireland full-back Girvan Dempsey to succeed him in The Academy, although ex-Leinster hooker John Fogarty and the experienced Wayne Mitchell are also in the mix.