Pro14: Munster score late try to secure bonus-point in 32-7 over Zebre

Kevin O'Byrne
Kevin O'Byrne extended Munster's lead in a dominant first half display
Pro14: Zebre v Munster
Zebre (0) 7
Tries: Giammarioli Con: Brummer
Munster (17) 32
Tries: Wycherly, O'Byrne, O'Mahony, Scannell Cons: Johnston 2, Scannell Pens: Johnston, Scannell

Rory Scannell's last minute try secured a bonus-point win for Munster in a turgid affair against Zebre in Parma.

Forwards Fineen Wycherley and Kevin O'Byrne went over from close range as the visitors scored 17 unanswered points in the opening 40 minutes.

Ronan O'Mahony and Scannell scored late tries to seal the win after Renato Giammarioli had reduced the deficit.

Johann van Graan's side remain second behind Glasgow in Pro14 Conference A.

The match as a spectacle suffered as a result of difficult conditions and a pitch that was cutting up fro the beginning, encouraging both sides to kick for territory as opposed to playing exciting ball-in-hand rugby.

The Italian side have never beaten Munster before and they did not look likely to break their duck as they allowed the visitors to dominate proceedings during the first half.

Highly rated 20-year-old lock Wycherley produced another impressive individual performance, particularly in the loose, and was rewarded with a try when he touched down at the base of the post.

O'Byrne added another try before the break with fly-half Bill Johnston, who was only handed the starting berth following JJ Hanrahan's injury in the warm-up, kicking accurately to extend the advantage.

Murray returns

Conor Murray was brought on with half an hour remaining to make his first appearance of the season.

The British and Irish Lion has not played since Ireland's last Test against Australia in June, missing the entirety of the autumn international series.

Opportunities on the ball for the scrum-half were limited, although his flat pass did allow Scannell to run in untouched in what was the final act of the game.

Zebre, who had not lost at home since the fifth round of fixtures against Ospreys, did offer more of a threat in the second half and enjoyed a 10 minute spell deep inside Munster territory before replacement Giammarioli finally got the ball over the line.

It looked as though Munster would have to make to without the bonus-point until O'Mahony capitalised on a wayward pass to dot the ball down with 10 minutes remaining before Scannell secured the extra point in the game's final play.

Zebre: G Di Giulio; P Balekana, G Bisegni, T Boni, J Elliott; F Brummer, R Raffaele; C Ah-Nau, M Ceciliani, D Chistolini, L Krumov, D Sisi (capt), J Tuivaiti, M Mbanda, G Licata.

Replacements: O Fabiani, D Rimpelli, E Bello, G Biagi, R Giammarioli, J Renton, C Canna, G Venditti.

Munster: M Haley; R O'Mahony, R Scannell, T Bleyendaal (capt), A Wootton; B Johnston, N Cronin; J Loughman, K O'Byrne, S Archer, F Wycherley, D O'Shea, G Coombes, C Cloete, A Botha.

Replacements: M Sherry, B Scott, C Parker, S O'Connor, C Oliver, C Murray, J Taute, C Farrell.

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