SIMON Zebo bagged a stunning first half hat-trick of tries as Munster recorded a precious 31-5 bonus point win over Zebre in their Guinness PRO12 clash at Thomond Park this Friday night.
Anthony Foley’s side laid the foundation for their first win in four home PRO12 games in the opening half after which Munster led their Italian opponents 17-0.
Zebo capitalised on good work from Australian centre Andrew Smith to bag his first try on 14 minute when finishing a fine backline move. Winger Ronan O’Mahony created the opening for Zebo’s second try when he superbly collected Conor Murray’s well-placed box kick.
Replacement out-half JJ Hanrahan made the crucial break which led to Zebo’s third try in the 36th minute
Munster, who were without a PRO12 win in front of their own supporters since March, wrapped up the bonus point within two minutes of the re-start when Man of the Match Zebo turned provider for centre Smith to score.
Replacement prop Dave Kilcoyne added Munster’s fifth try on 64 minutes.
Next up for Munster is a home tie with the Ospreys on Saturday, September 27, at Thomond Park, at 6.30pm.
SCORERS: Munster: Simon Zebo three tries. Andrew Smith, Dave Kilcoyne try each, JJ Hanrahan three cons. Zebre: Samuela Vunisa try.
MUNSTER: Felix Jones (capt); Ronan O’Mahony, Andrew Smith, Denis Hurley, Simon Zebo; Johnny Holland, Conor Murray; James Cronin, Duncan Casey, BJ Botha, Billy Holland, Paul O’Connell, Paddy Butler, Tommy O’Donnell, Robin Copeland. Replacements: Kevin O’Byrne, David Kilcoyne, John Ryan, Donncha O’Callaghan, Jack O’Donoghue, Duncan Williams, JJ Hanrahan, Johne Murphy.
ZEBRE: Hendrik Daniller; David Odiete, Giulio Bisegni, Kelly Haimona, Giulio Toniolatti; Edoardo Padovani, Guglielmo Palazzani; Andrea Lovotti, Andrea Manici, Luciano Leibson, Quintin Geldenhuys (capt), George Biagi, Mauro Bergamasco, Filippo Cristiano, Samuela Vunisa. Replacements: Oliviero Fabiani, Andrea de Marchi, Dario Chistolini, Valerio Bernabò, Andries Ferreira, Alberto Chillon, Gonzalo Garcia, Mirco Bergamasco.
REFEREE: Ian Davies (Wales)