Coombes scores four as Munster thrash Zebre
PRO14 RAINBOW CUP REPORT: Gavin Coombes scored four tries as Munster secured second place in the northern section of the ProO14 Rainbow Cup with a convincing 54-11 victory over Zebre in Parma.
Coombes and Craig Casey scored two first-half tries apiece in front of around 1,000 fans as Munster took a 22-point lead into the break, before Niall Scannell and Liam Coombes added their names to the scoresheet in the second half and the No.8’s quartet was completed.
Joey Carbery contributed six conversions from six attempts, while Federico Mori crossed for Zebre’s only try midway through the second period as the Italians ended the competition bottom of the table.
Zebre started brightly but it was Munster who got over for the opening score after 10 minutes, when Gavin Coombes powered over from close range and Carbery added the extras.
Occasional bursts forward from the home side gave Munster something to think about and their efforts were eventually rewarded with two Carlo Canna penalties that reduced the deficit to a single point.
The visitors soon re-established daylight, however, showing good hands to spread the ball wide to the right before Casey touched down in the corner and Carbery split the posts.
Gavin Coombes then collected the ball at the back of a line-out to charge over for his second five minutes from half-time, and there was still time for Casey to dot down under the posts for the bonus point before the interval.
Carbery stayed perfect from the tee to open up a 28-6 lead at the end of the opening period.
Scannell touched down from a line-out maul early in the second half, with Carbery again on target before the flyhalf hauled down Federico Mori at the other end with a try-saving tackle.
There was no stopping Mori three minutes short of the hour, though. Following a period of pressure on the Munster line, Zebre spread the ball out wide for the centre to twist and turn his way over for the hosts’ only try.
Mori’s joy was short-lived as Liam Coombes intercepted his attempted chip to race for the line and Carbery kept up his conversion record before clocking off for the evening.
Gavin Coombes then capitalised on a fortunate bounce of the ball to go over under the posts, with Jake Flannery picking up where Carbery had left off by adding the conversion.
The No.8 completed the scoring after the 80 and lock Billy Holland – making his final appearance for the province – was wayward with a rare attempt from the tee.
Pens: Canna 2
Tries: G Coombes 4, Casey 2, N Scannell, L Coombes
Cons: Carbery 6, Flannery
Yellow card: Giovanni D’Onofrio (Zebre, 84)
Zebre: 15 Jacopo Trulla, 14 Giovanni D’Onofrio, 13 Federico Mori, 12 Enrico Lucchin, 11 Pierre Bruno, 10 Carlo Canna, 9 Marcello Violi, 8 Renato Giammarioli, 7 Potu Junior Leavasa, 6 Iacopo Bianchi, 5 Leonard Krumov, 4 David Sisi (captain), 3 Matteo Nocera, 2 Luca Bigi, 1 Andrea Lovotti.
Replacements: 16 Marco Manfredi, 17 Daniele Rimpelli, 18 Nicolò D’Amico, 19 Samuel Ortis, 20 Giovanni Licata, 21 Nicolò Casilio, 22 Filippo Di Marco, 23 Michelangelo Biondelli.
Munster: 15 Matt Gallagher, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Chris Farrell, 12 Rory Scannell, 11 Liam Coombes, 10 Joey Carbery, 9 Craig Casey, 8 Gavin Coombes, 7 Jack O’Donoghue, 6 Peter O’Mahony (captain), 5 Fineen Wycherley, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 John Ryan, 2 Niall Scannell, 1 Dave Kilcoyne.
Replacements: 16 Kevin O’Byrne, 17 Liam O’Connor, 18 Roman Salanoa, 19 Thomas Ahern, 20 Billy Holland, 21 Nick McCarthy, 22 Jake Flannery, 23 Chris Cloete.
Referee: Andrea Piardi (Italy)
Assistant referees: Marius Mitrea (Italy), Clara Munarini (Italy)
TMO: Matteo Lipperini (Italy)