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Munster hold off Zebre Parma fightback

FRIDAY WRAP: Hamish Watson’s early try set Edinburgh on their way to a hard-fought 19-15 victory at home to Ospreys in the United Rugby Championship.

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The Scottish side looked in command when they led 16-3 at the break, although the spirited Welsh threatened a comeback victory with a strong second-half display in which both Sam Parry and Morgan Morris pushed their way over.

Edinburgh were able to field some of their Scotland contingent in the shape of Harry Paterson, Ben Healy, Sam Skinner, Glen Young and Watson, while others like Duhan Van Der Merwe, Ewan Ashman, Grant Gilchrist, Jamie Ritchie and Pierre Schoeman were given the weekend off to rest ahead of the national team’s match in Italy next Saturday.

Ospreys – buoyed by five consecutive victories since Christmas – began the stronger of the two teams and they got the first points on the board when Dan Edwards sent a penalty between the posts in the 12th minute.

However, the visitors were unable to sustain their bright start and Edinburgh seized the initiative with an impressive 17th-minute try in their first notable attack of the match.

Bill Mata powered his way forward after a line-out before laying off to Matt Currie who darted towards the line and then offloaded for Watson, who had an easy finish.

Ospreys lost their discipline in the second quarter, allowing Healy to kick three penalties and open up a 16-3 advantage for the hosts at the interval.

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The Welsh outfit got themselves back in the game in the 47th minute when hooker Parry forced his way over from the back of a line-out. Edwards hit the upright with his conversion attempt.

After Healy missed a penalty, Ospreys cranked up the pressure on their hosts when replacement Morris powered his way over from close range in the 68th minute following a spell of pressure in front of the line. Owen Williams’ conversion brought the visitors within a point.

A Healy penalty in the 73rd minute gave Edinburgh some breathing space, although Ospreys made them sweat until the very end before ultimately falling short in their comeback bid. The victory moved the hosts up to fourth in the table.

Man of the Match: Hamish Watson, who was recently recalled to the Scotland squad, laid the foundations for Edinburgh’s victory when he was on hand to score his side’s only try, finishing off a move that he started himself. Another impressive display at club level for the experienced back-rower.

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*Munster moved back into play-off territory in the United Rugby Championship after beating battling Zebre Parma 45-29 on the back of five first-half tries.

Academy talent Ruadhan Quinn scored his first senior tries for Munster, whose attack was fluid but their defence was poor in allowing Zebre to bite back for a late bonus point.

Graham Rowntree’s men turned around with a 33-10 advantage, striking early on through Quinn and Mike Haley before closing out the first half with converted efforts from RG Snyman, Sean O’Brien and Antoine Frisch.

Quinn returned from the sin bin to double his tally as Munster moved 40-10 clear, but Zebre closed to within 11 points thanks to final-quarter tries from Thomas Dominguez, Geronimo Prisciantelli and Dylan de Leeuw, adding to Muhamed Hasa’s 18th-minute effort.

However, Shane Daly went over in the last minute to ensure Munster had the final say. Another positive on the night for the home side was flyhalf Tony Butler’s 10 points from the tee as he celebrated signing his first Munster senior contract.

The sharpness the Irish province showed in winning a friendly against Harlequins last week was evident when Snyman offloaded off the ground for Quinn to cross in the fifth minute.

Fullback Haley surged clear for the hosts’ second try soon after, with Butler’s crisp conversion making it 12-0.

Centre Damiano Mazza drew Zebre downfield before prop Hasa crashed over. Argentinian full-back Prisciantelli converted, and also kicked a penalty following Quinn’s yellow card for a ruck infringement.

Snyman managed to score before Quinn’s return, spinning out of a tackle to go over from close range before a purposeful 33rd-minute attack ended with wing O’Brien bagging the bonus point for the hosts, with Butler tagging on both conversions.

The quick-thinking Craig Casey played in Frisch for the Reds’ fifth try, just before half-time, and Ennis youngster Butler converted with his easiest kick.

Daly had a try ruled out for a knock-on before Quinn picked off Luca Bigi’s long lineout throw to score on the hour mark, with Butler’s boot making it 40-10 and seemingly putting Zebre out of contention.

However, the visitors refused to lie down and Scott Gregory’s turnover led to a try for Zebre replacement Dominguez, who was released by Simone Gesi.

Prisciantelli then won the race to his own kick through in the 68th minute, and with six minutes left, replacement De Leeuw barged over the line, following Gesi’s initial burst into the 22 as Zebre closed the gap to 40-29.

While frustrated to leak those tries, Munster did sign off with their seventh of the night when Daly sped over from the left wing thanks to Haley’s midfield spark.

Man of the Match: Mike Haley is finding form again at just the right time, heading towards the business end of Munster’s season. He took his try well, and had some nice touches elsewhere in both defence and attack, in an all-round tidy performance.

Friday’s scores and scorers:

Edinburgh 15-19 Ospreys

For Edinburgh:
Tries: Watson
Cons: Healy
Pens: Healy 4

For Ospreys:
Tries: Parry, Morris
Cons: Williams
Pens: Edwards

Teams:

Edinburgh: 15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Harry Paterson, 13 Mark Bennett, 12 Matt Currie, 11 Chris Dean, 10 Ben Healy, 9 Ben Vellacott (captain), 8 Viliame Mata, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Tom Dodd, 5 Glen Young, 4 Sam Skinner, 3 WP Nel, 2 Dave Cherry, 1 Boan Venter.
Replacements: 16 Patrick Harrison, 17 Luan de Bruin, 18 Javan Sebastian, 19 Marshall Sykes, 20 Ben Muncaster, 21 Ali Price, 22 James Lang, 23 Wes Goosen.

Ospreys: 15 Jack Walsh, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Evardi Boshoff, 12 Keiran Williams, 11 Keelan Giles, 10 Dan Edwards, 9 Luke Davies, 8 Jeandre Rudolph, 7 Justin Tipuric (captain), 6 Harri Deaves, 5 Victor Sekekete, 4 James Ratti, 3 Tom Botha, 2 Sam Parry, 1 Nicky Smith.
Replacements: 16 Lewis Lloyd, 17 Rhys Henry, 18 Ben Warren, 19 Rhys Davies, 20 Morgan Morris, 21 Cameron Jones, 22 Owen Williams, 23 Mat Protheroe.

Referee: Chris Busby (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Rob McDowell (Scotland), Calum Worsley (Scotland)
TMO: Colin Stanley (Ireland)

Munster 45-29 Zebre

For Munster:
Tries: Quinn 2, Haley, Snyman, O’Brien, Frisch, Daly
Cons: Butler 5

For Zebre:
Tries: Hasa, Dominguez, Prisciantelli, de Leeuw
Cons: Prisciantelli 3
Pens: Prisciantelli

Teams:

Munster: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Seán O’Brien, 13 Antoine Frisch, 12 Alex Nankivell, 11 Shane Daly, 10 Tony Butler, 9 Craig Casey, 8 Gavin Coombes, 7 Alex Kendellen (captain), 6 Ruadhán Quinn, 5 RG Snyman, 4 Tom Ahern, 3 John Ryan, 2 Niall Scannell, 1 Josh Wycherley.
Replacements: 16 Eoghan Clarke, 17 Jeremy Loughman, 18 Stephen Archer, 19 Fineen Wycherley, 20 Jack O’Sullivan, 21 Ethan Coughlan, 22 Rory Scannell, 23 Ben O’Connor.

Zebre: 15 Geronimo Prisciantelli, 14 Scott Gregory, 13 Luca Morisi, 12 Damiano Mazza, 11 Simone Gesi, 10 Tiff Eden, 9 Alessandro Fusco, 8 Giovanni Licata (captain), 7 Bautista Stavile, 6 Giacomo Ferrari, 5 Leonard Krumov, 4 David Sisi, 3 Muhamed Hasa, 2 Luca Bigi, 1 Luca Rizzoli.
Replacements: 16 Giampietro Ribaldi, 17 Samuele Taddei, 18 Riccardo Genovese, 19 Dylan de Leeuw, 20 Davide Ruggeri, 21 Thomas Dominguez, 22 Jacopo Trulla, 23 Josh Kaifa.

Referee: Adam Jones (Wales)
Assistant referees: Frank Murphy (Ireland), Sam Holt (Ireland)
TMO: Sean Brickell (Wales)

 

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