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Munster win brings their marathon season to a halt

Rainbow Cup:
Zebre 11, Munster 54
TAKE note of the date. Friday, June 11, 2021. This must have been Munster’s longest season in their history and they finished it in style. Eight tries, seven of them converted, it was all too easy tonight in Parma for Johann van Graan’s side, but what a pity that they missed out on a final appearance.
Gavin Coombes notched up four tries with Craig Casey (pictured) scoring two and one each from Liam Coombes and Niall Scannell. Joey Carbery was in fine kicking form, kicking six conversions and Jake Flannery was also accurate with an extra two-pointer. Munster had bagged the bonus point before the break with Coombes and Casey scoring a brace of tries each. Niall Scannel put the outcome out of reach a few minutes after the break and the rest was just a formality. Federico Mori scored Zebre’s only try with Carlo Canna kicking two penalties.
We can look back on a season of ups and downs but once again the trophy cabinet remains empty. The high moments of the win over Clermont Auvergne in the early stages of the Heineken Champions Cup, the win over Leinster on their home patch and the brilliant performance against Toulouse when they came up agonisingly short in a nail-biting finish in Thomond Park, will be remembered but the defeat by Connacht at home proved costly in the Rainbow Cup.
Whether Munster have the depth of talent to seriously challenge for the big prizes is questionable. Big wins in the Guinness PRO14 and the Rainbow Cup can be misleading. The squad will have mixed feelings as they make their way back from Italy tonight. It was a long season and they will certainly be looking forward to the break.
Zebre: Jacopo Trulla, Giovanni D’Onofrio, Federico Mori, Enrico Lucchin, Pierre Bruno, Carlo Canna, Marcello Violi, Andrea Lovotti, Luca Bigi, Matteo Nocera, David Sisi, Leonard Krumov, Iacopo Bianchi, Potu Junior Leavasa, Renato Giammarioli.
Replacements: Marco Manfredi, Daniele Rimpelli, Nicolò D’Amico, Samuele Ortis*, Giovanni Licata, Nicolò Casilio, Filippo Di Marco, Michelangelo Biondelli.
Munster: Matt Gallagher; Andrew Conway, Chris Farrell, Rory Scannell, Liam Coombes; Joey Carbery, Craig Casey; Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, John Ryan; Jean Kleyn, Fineen Wycherley; Peter O’Mahony (c), Jack O’Donoghue, Gavin Coombes.
Replacements: Kevin O’Byrne, Liam O’Connor, Roman Salanoa, Thomas Ahern, Billy Holland, Nick McCarthy, Jake Flannery, Chris Cloete.
Referee: Andrea Piardi (FIR, 14th competition game)
Assistant Referees: Marius Mitrea, Clara Munarini (both FIR)
TMO: Matteo Lipperini (FIR)

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