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Bonus Point Victory In Parma

January 10, 2015 12:00 am By Munster Rugby

Munster secured a bonus point 31-7 victory away to Zebre thanks to a comprehensive first half display that set the tone and produced three converted tries.

Foley’s men led 24 nil at the break thanks to tries from Felix Jones, CJ Stander and Conor Murray, and the boot of Ian Keatley.

The fourth try and crucial bonus point was secured early in the second half with Simon Zebo claiming the points, and Keatley rounded off a flawless kicking display by adding the extras.

A controlling first-half performance gave Munster the upper hand going in at half-time in Parma and in the second 40 there was further positive news with Keith Earls and James Cronin both making a return to action.

Munster were awarded an early penalty after Zebre flanker Filippo Cristiano interfered with play on the ground, and Ian Keatley stepped up to kick the opening points after 8 minutes.

Minutes later the out-half and centre Pat Howard linked well to bring play deep into the Zebre 22, and with Howard offloading to Felix Jones, the fullback ran in the first try of the game.  With Keatley successfully adding the conversion Munster moved ahead 10 nil after 15 minutes.

The next try came off the back of a dominant scrum in front of the posts and quick thinking from man of the match CJ Stander.  When Munster were awarded the free kick after a number of resets the number 8 took a quick tap and go, and barged over for the second try.  

The third try came two minutes later thanks to the work of centre pairing JJ Hanrahan and Pat Howard attacking deep inside Zebre territory.  This time it was Conor Murray who opted to go himself from close range.  When the scrumhalf crashed over the line he collided with the post and was removed from the field of play for further examination with Duncan Williams taking his place until half-time. 

A final first half flourish from the home-side tested the Munster defence and the Italian side missed a clear try scoring opportunity when a 3 v 1 attack ended after number 8 Andries Van Schalkwyk was unable to control the ball. 

They opened the second half in similar fashion when holding on to possession and edging closer to the Munster line before Stander pounced on a lose ball and distributed it to Ronan O'Mahony.  The winger then kicked ahead in to open space and with his opposite number chasing Simon Zebo was at the end of it to cross for Munster's fourth try.

Zebre did get on the scoreboard after 56 minutes when replacement hooker Oliviero Fabiani was awarded the try after referee Ian Davies consulted the TMO, and replacement Luciano Orquera added the conversion and final score of the game.

Following the victory Munster are second in the table one point behind Glasgow Warriors, although Ospreys can regain top spot when they take on Newport Gwent Dragons tomorrow.  

The squad were boosted by the return of James Cronin and Keith Earls and both got a good hit out according to Head Coach Anthony Foley, each getting over 20 minutes of game time. 

Munster: Felix Jones; Ronan O'Mahony (Keith Earls 53), Pat Howard, JJ Hanrahan, Simon Zebo; Ian Keatley (Johne Murphy 69), Conor Murray (Duncan Williams 32/HT, 59)); Eusebio Guinazu (James Cronin 49), Kevin O'Byrne (Niall Scannell 50), Stephen Archer; Dave Foley (Donncha O’Callaghan 61), Billy Holland; Dave O'Callaghan, Peter O'Mahony Capt. (Paddy Butler 66), CJ Stander.

Replacements: Niall Scannell, James Cronin, John Ryan, Donncha O'Callaghan, Paddy Butler, Duncan Williams, Keith Earls, Johne Murphy.
 

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