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Munster hammer five tries past Zebre to get van Graan era off to winning start

Alex Wootton scored a brace of tries as part of a comfortable bonus-point victory in Parma.

Image: Giuseppe Fama/INPHO

Zebre 19

Munster 36

John Fallon reporting in Parma

MUNSTER MADE IT eleven wins from eleven against Zebre to get the Johann van Graan era off to a victorious start in Parma.

Van Graan just kept a watching brief as Felix Jones and Jerry Flannery ran the show in what turned out to be a routine win.

Munster looked to be coasting to victory against a second string Zebre side when they opened up a 17-0 lead after just 26 minutes.

Rory Scannell got in for the opening try after early dominance finally yielded a touchdown after 18 minutes, with JJ Hanrahan’s conversion making it 10-0 having earlier landed one of three penalties.

Scrum-half James Hart crowned his first start with try after temporary replacement Brian Scott snatched a lineout.

But then it unravelled for Munster when first Robin Copeland was binned and Zebre struck for their opening try when centre Giulio Bisegni scored after former Connacht full-back Ciaran Gaffney was stopped short.

And then when the impressive Sam Arnold was yellow-carded, Zebre used the space to go wide and send captain Jacopo Sarto over in the left corner for a try which was again converted by scrum-half Guglielmo Palazzani to leave it 17-14 to Munster at the break.

Munster took control again once they got back to 15 players and Alex Wootton wrapped up the game and a bonus point with two tries in a four-minute spell.

He got the first after 53 minutes in the right corner and then a superb long pass from Simon Zebo sent him over in the left corner for the clinching score.

Winger Gio Venditti pulled back a try for an understrength Zebre side in the closing stages but Munster finished on a high when Calvin Nash got in for their fifth try at the death.

Scorers

Zebre

Tries: G Bisegni, J Sarto, G Venditti.

Conversions : G Palazzani (2)

Munster

Tries: A Wootton (2), R Scannell, J Hart, C Nash.

Conversions : JJ Hanrahan (4).

Penalties: Hanrahan.

Zebre: Ciaran Gaffney; Pierre Bruno, Giulio Bisegni, Faialaga Afamasaga, Gio D’Onofrio; Maicol Azzolini, Guglielmo Palazzani; Cruze Ah-Nau, Luhandre Luus (Oliviero Fabiaini ’41), Eduardo Bello; James Tucker, Leonard Krumov; Jacopo Sarto, Johan Meyer, Derick Minnie (Maxime Mbanda ’43).

Munster: Simon Zebo (Bill Johnston ’76); Darren Sweetnam, Sam Arnold, Rory Scannell, Alex Wootton (Calvin Nash ’67); JJ Hanrahan, James Hart (Jack Stafford ’76); Liam O’Connor (Brian Scott ’67), Rhys Marshall (Kevin O’Byrne ’63), Stephen Archer (Brian Scott ’21-’27, Ciaran Parker ‘78); Jean Kleyn, Billy Holland; Jack O’Donoghue, Chris Cloete, Robin Copeland.

Referee: Lloyd Linton (Scotland).

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About the author:

John Fallon

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