Friday 26 April 2019

Munster overcome spirited Zebre to secure crucial bonus point win

Munster 31 Zebre 12

Rhys Marshall of Munster, supported by team-mate Alby Mathewson, scores his side's second try despite the tackle of Mattia Bellini of Zebre during the Guinness PRO14 Round 18 match between Munster and Zebre at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Rhys Marshall of Munster, supported by team-mate Alby Mathewson, scores his side's second try despite the tackle of Mattia Bellini of Zebre during the Guinness PRO14 Round 18 match between Munster and Zebre at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Munster kept in touch with Glasgow Warriors in the race for a home semi-final in the Guinness PRO 14 after a hard-fought 31-12 bonus point win over Zebre.

Johann van Graan's side are three points behind Glasgow in Conference A with just three matches remaining, with top spot securing a bye into the final four as well as home advantage.

Munster were made to work hard for their win and only made the game safe late in the second half after getting a big impact from the bench.

The Thomond Park faithful had to wait until deep in the second half to breath easy after the Italians put up a spirited fight to get on top early on.

Tries from Jamie Elliott and Roberto Tenga saw Michael Bradley's men open up a shock 12-0 lead, with Munster spurning a number of opportunities in the first half before Jeremy Loughman crashed over in the corner right on the whistle after a strong maul.

Zebre missed a number of kicks at goal that would have increased their lead and Munster made them pay, with Rhys Marshall scoring after yet another Munster maul.

Darren Sweetnam put Munster in front for the first time after the hour mark before the maul proved effective once again, with replacement hooker Niall Scannell securing the important fourth try.

There was time for one more Munster score, with Mike Haley powering over after a break inside the 22.

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