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Ras-matazz: Munster give Erasmus the perfect send-off as Simon Zebo scores in rout

The South African may not be in charge for the province’s next Pro14 fixture again Zebre at the end of the month.

Image: Ryan Byrne; ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Munster 49

Dragons 6

John Fallon reports from Cork. 

MUNSTER GAVE RASSIE ERASMUS the perfect send-off with a seven try rout of Dragons in Cork.

And JJ Hanrahan produced a man of the match performance which he crowned by converting all seven tries.

A good break by Hanrahan set up Rory Scannell for the opening try of the game after 20 minutes, with the centre sliding over in the left corner despite a tackle from Dragons full-back Will Talbot-Davies.

Hanrahan landed the touchline conversion on a perfect night for rugby to make it 7-0.

But Munster coughed up a penalty almost immediately on the restart and Dragons out-half Angus O’Brien landed it from 38 metres.

However, Munster’s dominance in the set-piece was telling, especially the scrum, and they opened up a 14-3 lead on the half hour when Simon Zebo — back in Cork for the first time since announcing his departure to France — spun out of a couple of tackles after being set up by impressive debutant Chris Cloete.

Simon Zebo celebrates scoring their second try Source: Ryan Byrne; ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Hanrahan again added the conversion from the left touchline but they were unable to increase their lead before the break despite their increasing dominance.

O’Brien reduced the margin with a penalty two minutes after the restart but it was all Munster after that.

Darren Sweetnam and Robin Copeland combined to send Jack O’Donoghue over after 48 minutes and Sweetnam secured the bonus point just short of the hour after being set up by Hanrahan.

They turned the screw in the closing quarter with Sam Arnold, making his first appearance of the season after injury, crossing for his first Munster try — and then added a second in the dying moments.

Rassie Erasmus Source: Ryan Byrne; ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne/INPHO

There was a special moment in between as well for replacement hooker Kevin O’Byrne when he got his first Munster try after a good drive from a lineout.

Scorers:

Munster

Tries: Rory Scannell, Simon Zebo, Jack O’Donoghue, Darren Sweetnam, Sam Arnold (2), Kevin O’Byrne

Conversions: JJ Hanrahan (7).

Dragons

Penalties: A O’Brien (2).

Munster: Simon Zebo; Darren Sweetnam, Chris Farrell, Rory Scannell (Sam Arnold ’59), Alex Wootton; JJ Hanrahan, Duncan Williams (James Hart ’52); Liam O’Connor (James Cronin ’49), Rhys Marshall (Kevin O’Byrne ’60), Stephen Archer (Brian Scott ’65); Jean Kleyn (Darren O’Shea ’49), Billy Holland; Jack O’Donoghue (Ian Keatley ’71), Chris Cloete (Mark Flanagan ’64), Robin Copeland.

Dragons: Will Talbot-Davies; Ashton Hewitt, Adam Warren, Jack Dixon (Pat Howard ’59), Jared Rosser; Angus O’Brien (Arwel Robson ’65), Charlie Davies (Sarel Pretorius ’51); Thomas Davies (Luke Garrett ’50), Gerard Ellis (Liam Belcher ’45), Lloyd Fairbrother (Brok Harris ’50); Joe Davies (Scott Andrews ’65), Rynard Landman; Aaron Wainwright, James Benjamin, James Sheekey (Ben Roach ’50).

Referee: Mike Adamson (SRU).

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