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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,
  • Guinness PRO12
  • 15th Feb 2014
  • KO 18:45
  • Att: 7,330

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

Tommy O'Donnell: One of Munster's tryscorers

Munster s Simon Zebo

Simon Zebo: Two tries

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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 - January 11 2015
Pos Team P Pts
12 Zebre 13 10
Forthcoming Guinness PRO12 Fixtures
TimeFixture
Guinness PRO12
Friday 13th February
Guinness PRO12
19:35Ulster vs Benetton Treviso
20:05Edinburgh vs Ospreys
Saturday 14th February
19:35Munster vs Cardiff Blues
Sunday 15th February
12:45Scarlets vs Connacht
13:00Zebre vs Glasgow
15:00Leinster vs Newport Gwent D'gons
Friday 20th February
19:05Benetton Treviso vs Cardiff Blues
19:35Edinburgh vs Ulster
19:35Leinster vs Zebre
Saturday 21st February
14:40Scarlets vs Munster
17:15Glasgow vs Ospreys
Sunday 22nd February
16:00Newport Gwent D'gons vs Connacht
Friday 27th February
19:35Ospreys vs Leinster
19:35Ulster vs Scarlets
Saturday 28th February
19:15Munster vs Glasgow
Sunday 1st March
12:45Cardiff Blues vs Edinburgh
17:00Zebre vs Newport Gwent D'gons
17:15Connacht vs Benetton Treviso
Friday 6th March
19:35Cardiff Blues vs Connacht
19:35Glasgow vs Zebre
Saturday 7th March
14:40Ospreys vs Munster
17:15Scarlets vs Leinster
18:00Benetton Treviso vs Edinburgh
Sunday 8th March
16:00Newport Gwent D'gons vs Ulster
Friday 27th March
19:35Leinster vs Glasgow

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Phil Edwards

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