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Munster

  • O'Donnell, Slattery (2), Zebo (2),
    Penalty goals: Hanrahan,
    Conversions: Keatley (3), Hanrahan,
36 - 8

Zebre

  • D'Apice,
    Penalty goals: Palazzani,

RaboDirect PRO12: Munster lead the way again after beating Zebre

Last updated: 15th February 2014  

Tommy O'Donnell  Munster Julien Bonnaire Clermont Auvergne Heineken Cup

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Simon Zebo and Ger Slattery scored two tries apiece as Munster defeated Zebre to move back to the top of the RaboDirect PRO12.

Irishman Zebo will hope his first-half brace convinces Joe Schmidt to give him an RBS 6 Nations call-up, while Slattery's maiden PRO12 scores sandwiched Tommy O'Donnell's 70th-minute bonus-point effort.

Zebre's first ever visit to Musgrave Park was marked by Tommaso D'Apice's try in the 12th minute, but Munster built a 15-5 half-time lead despite a stop-start performance.

A Guglielmo Palazzani penalty kept the Italians in the hunt before Munster touched down twice while Zebre captain Andries van Schalkwyk was in the sin-bin.

Rob Penney's league leaders added a fifth and final try when replacement hooker Slattery crossed in the right corner with a minute left.

Munster took a while to get going and the Italians stunned the Cork crowd with a high-quality opening try.

Giovanbattista Venditti, a late inclusion on the left wing, slipped past two tacklers and handed off CJ Stander before passing for hooker D'Apice to dive over in the left corner.

The conversion was put wide by Palazzani, who donned the number 10 jersey due to the pre-match withdrawal of Ruggero Trevisan.

Munster closed the gap to 5-3 on the quarter hour when JJ Hanrahan punished Zebre lock George Biagi for a side-entry call.

Appearance record

Donncha O'Callaghan had an earlier-than-expected introduction on a night when he overtook Ronan O'Gara's appearance record for the club. The lock's 240th appearance arrived in the 18th minute when he came on for the injured David O'Callaghan.

The hosts began to click into gear in the second quarter and following an Ian Keatley-inspired break in the middle, there were numbers wide on the left where Zebo spun away from Brendon Leonard to score in the corner.

Hanrahan converted and Felix Jones was called back for a forward pass from Zebo, who was on his toes throughout as he looked to impress the Irish management.

There were a couple of near misses as marauding forwards Stander and Billy Holland were hauled down in the visitors' 22, and Zebo then evaded Kameli Ratuvou's grasp to glide over in the right corner.

Hanrahan missed the difficult conversion, ending his run of 19 successful place-kicks in a row, but Munster were beginning to find some rhythm at 15-5 up.

Former All Black Leonard raced into Munster territory to set up an early Palazzani penalty which closed the gap back to seven points.

There were few incidents of note during a substitution-filled third quarter, and it was only after Van Schalkwyk saw yellow for infringing close to the Zebre line that Munster zoned in on the bonus point.

A powerful lineout maul did the trick as Slattery was driven over in the 62nd minute and Keatley converted for a 22-8 scoreline.

South African Stander, the man of the match, then took a quick tap in the 70th minute and a swift recycle from the ruck saw his back-row colleague O'Donnell squeeze in for the bonus-point try.

Keatley again added the extras and his final and most difficult kick of the night was also on target, as he converted after Duncan Williams put fellow replacement Slattery over by the corner flag.

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Guinness PRO12 Table

Guinness PRO12 Table - May 10 2014
Pos Team P Pts
12 Zebre 22 29
Forthcoming Guinness PRO12 Fixtures
TimeFixture
Guinness PRO12
Friday 5th September
Guinness PRO12
19:35Munster vs Edinburgh
19:35Ospreys vs Benetton Treviso
Saturday 6th September
14:40Scarlets vs Ulster
17:00Connacht vs Newport Gwent D'gons
17:15Glasgow vs Leinster
Sunday 7th September
17:00Zebre vs Cardiff Blues
Friday 12th September
19:35Ulster vs Zebre
19:35Edinburgh vs Connacht
19:35Newport Gwent D'gons vs Ospreys
20:00Benetton Treviso vs Munster
Saturday 13th September
14:40Leinster vs Scarlets
Sunday 14th September
16:00Cardiff Blues vs Glasgow
Friday 19th September
19:30Munster vs Zebre
19:35Connacht vs Leinster
19:35Cardiff Blues vs Ulster
Saturday 20th September
TBCScarlets vs Benetton Treviso
14:40Newport Gwent D'gons vs Glasgow
Sunday 21st September
16:00Ospreys vs Edinburgh
Friday 26th September
19:35Leinster vs Cardiff Blues
19:35Glasgow vs Connacht
19:35Edinburgh vs Scarlets
Saturday 27th September
16:00Zebre vs Ulster
18:30Munster vs Ospreys
Sunday 28th September
16:00Newport Gwent D'gons vs Benetton Treviso
Friday 3rd October
19:35Ulster vs Edinburgh

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Phil Edwards

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