Munster notched up a hard fought bonus point win in turgid conditions in Parma to move back ahead of Connacht up into second place in Conference A.
Fineen Wycherley barged over after 15 minutes following a concerted period of Munster pressure with Bill Johnston adding the extras. That was followed by another try form Kevin O’Byrne as Munster committed the Zebre defenders and attacked the wide channel to score in the left corner.
Johnston converted O’Byrne’s try and then added a superb long range effort as time elapsed in the first period to give Munster a 17-0 lead.
Zebre had a good spell of pressure in the second half with Renato Giammarioli crossing for a try which was converted by Francois Brummer. Munster’s lead was now cut down to ten points with 17 minutes remaining and giving the conditions, a bonus point seemed a distance possibility. On the plus side of things, Conor Murray replaced Neil Cronin at scrum half following his lengthy layoff.
A Rory Scannell penalty on 69 minutes halted the Italians momentum and restored some breathing space. Munster then upped a few gears and some quick thinking from Ronan O’Mahony saw the winger touch down for a clever try to put Munster within a try of the five pointer.
It would come with the last play of the game as O’Mahony batted down a Bleyendaal crossfield kick to Mike Haley. One phase later a sublime pass from Murray found Rory Scannell on the wing to beat the last defender and cross for the bonus point score with the last play of the game. Certainly not a classic but very much a case of job done in Parma.
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