Munster’s Irish internationals did the damage as they convincingly beat Zebre 49-5 in a seven-try showing to move top of the Guinness PRO12 table.
Conor Murray, CJ Stander and Simon Zebo, as well as Darren Sweetnam, all crossed the whitewash as Munster wrapped up the bonus point before the break and they refused to let up after the interval.
A penalty try and Stephen Archer’s effort made the score 42-0 and although Gabriele di Giulio finally got the visitors on the board with nine minutes remaining, the hosts had the final word with Stander grabbing his second score of the game.
The victory takes Munster’s Guinness PRO12 record against Zebre to nine wins from nine games and also brings their Thomond Park winning streak in all competitions to six matches.
It took just two minutes for the hosts to get off the mark as Sweetnam darted over and Tyler Bleyendaal banged over the first of Munster’s seven successful conversions.
Carlo Canna had the chance to narrow Zebre’s deficit with a ninth-minute scrum penalty but his kick drifted wide and that was the closest the Italians came to troubling the scorers in the first period.
Halfway through the first 40 minutes, scrum-half Murray dived over off the back of a line-out maul before his Ireland team-mate Stander charged down an attempted clearing kick in the Zebre 22 and gathered to dot down under the posts.
Munster’s fourth, bonus-point clinching, try was arguably their best of the match as Bleyendaal intercepted and found Sweetnam, whose offload released Murray to chip through for Zebo to kick and control for the score.
Try number five came ten minutes into the second half as a kick ahead from Sweetnam saw him tackled off the ball by Gideon Koegelenberg and the penalty try awarded.
Archer then charged over the whitewash following Ian Keatley’s initial break and pass but Zebre got on the scoreboard when di Giulio crossed in the corner.
But there was still time for flanker Stander to touch down for the second time in the match as he broke away from the Zebre defence and Keatley’s successful conversion took him over 1000 points for the province.
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