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Munster Grind Down Kings for Big Win – Irish Star withdrawn after 18mins.

Munster got past the Kings eventually to continue their quest to finish top of Conference A

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Photo By Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Munster secured a bonus-point 43-0 win over the Southern Kings at Irish Independent Park on Friday night and they didn’t need to hit top form.

The win now means that Munster remain top of Conference A while the Kings are rock bottom of Conference B with only two wins this season.

With five internationals back for Munster it was actually the visitors who got off to a good start to the game with breaks from the likes of Martinus Burger and Michael Willlemse showing their attacking qualities.

However, it was the hosts that struck first with Neil Cronin diving over in the 13th minute. With Rory Scannell converting in front of the posts for a 7-0 lead.

From there the Kings frustrated Munster for a large period of the half following that try but Munster also caused their own downfall with a number of mistakes.

The visitors No 8 Ruaan Lerm was sin-binned after 35 minutes as he took out Cronin in a ruck.

That yellow card left more space for Munster and within a couple of minutes, Andrew Conway was in for try number two following some great work from Jean Kleyn and Tyler Bleyendaal.

The kick was missed, and it was 12-0 at half-time.

The second half began as a scrappy affair until kicks from Conway and Alby Mathewson in the 53rd minute sent Darren Sweetnam rushing over the line and Scannell converted to push them out to a 19-point lead.

On the hour mark, Billy Holland secured the bonus-point try after a couple of quick carries from Arno Botha. The two points were missed meaning it stayed at 24-0 heading into the final quarter.

The last 20 minutes were dominated by the hosts and replacement Luke Marshell added try number five from a maul which was converted by Scannell once more.

Kings subs Tertius Kruger and Andisa Ntstila were binned for a high tackle on Sweetnam and a tip tackle on Conway respectively.

Man of the match Kleyn got in on the scoring act with 10 minutes remaining, but the extras were missed.

Scannell made up for his missed kicks with a last-minute try of his own which he converted himself to leave the score at 43-0.

The biggest upset of the night was seeing Chris Farrell come off after 18 minutes with a knee injury which is a worry for both Munster and Ireland.

Speaking after the win assistant coach Jerry Flannery gave a quick update on Farrell’s injury.

“I think Chris just tweaked his knee on a carry. We already had it strapped beforehand so it is just precautionary at this stage,” he said.

Cronin also spoke after the game about his team’s content at winning the match.

“We knew what we had to do to win but they didn’t make it easy for us, so we’re delighted with the five points,” he said.

The win leaves Munster seven points clear at the top of conference A for now, while the Kings remain joint-bottom of Conference B with only 19 points.

Next up for the men in red is a trip to Wales to face the Ospreys, while the Kings continue their tour of the northern hemisphere with another tough test away to reigning champions Leinster.

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Pro14

Munster confirm Zebo signing

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(Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Munster Rugby and the IRFU are pleased to announce that Simon Zebo has signed a one-year contract to return to play with the province for the 2021/22 season.

This co-funded contract will see Munster’s all-time record try-scorer return from Racing 92 and line out for his home club where he made 144 appearances and scored 60 tries between 2010 and 2018.

In his third season with the Top 14 side, the 31-year-old has played 55 times and scored 21 tries to date.

Head Coach Johann van Graan said, “The opportunity to bring Simon back to Munster came about in early April following a final review of our squad’s budgetary position for season-end and with assistance from the IRFU to support what we believe is a really good deal for Munster and Irish Rugby.

“Simon’s desire to return to Ireland and play with his home club is illustrated by his willingness to sign at a level below his market value elsewhere. This has made bringing the province’s all-time leading try-scorer back home, possible.”

Simon Zebo said, “I am thrilled and honoured to be coming back home to play for Munster. My family and I have been so lucky to have enjoyed three incredible years with Racing 92 in Paris and I cannot thank the team there enough, I really have made friends for life and take with me some brilliant memories.

“However, as everyone knows, Munster holds a very special place in my heart and I’ve always said that I wanted to play for them and potentially Ireland again, so when this opportunity arose the lure of being close to home, family and friends and Munster fans, it outweighed all other options. I cannot wait to get back to the HPC with the team and hopefully a packed Thomond Park.”

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Pro14

Ulster Rugby agree to release Coetzee early

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Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Marcell Coetzee has played his last game for Ulster Rugby.

With back-row, Marcell Coetzee, currently side-lined with a hamstring injury, Ulster Rugby has agreed terms which will see the player released from the club at the end of this month, ahead of his planned departure at the conclusion of the 2020/21 season.

Given the need for several weeks of rehabilitation following the injury sustained by Coetzee in last month’s Guinness PRO14 fixture against Leinster, Ulster Rugby and the player have reached a mutual agreement to part ways on Friday 30 April.

Head of Rugby Operations and Recruitment, Bryn Cunningham, said: “We have come to an agreement that will allow Marcell the time and space required to continue his rehab.

“I’d like to thank Marcell for his contribution to the province over the past five years and we wish him and wife, Chanelle the very best for their upcoming return home to South Africa.”

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Pro14

Lowry retained at 10 for Ulster v Zebre

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The Ulster coaching team has named the match-day squad to host Zebre in tomorrow night’s final Guinness PRO14 regular season game (Kingspan Stadium, 8.15pm).

21-year-old, Cormac Izuchukwu will make his first start for the Ulster men as he is named in the second row alongside Kieran Treadwell. Marty Moore comes back into the starting front row at tighthead, with Eric O’Sullivan and John Andrew retaining their starting berths at loosehead and hooker. Jordi Murphy will captain the side at openside flanker, with Sean Reidy and David McCann being retained at blindside and Number Eight.

A youthful back line sees Ethan McIlroy coming into the  back three at full-back, with Rob Lyttle on the left wing and Robert Baloucoune returning on the right. Stewart Moore and James Hume will make up the midfield pairing, while John Cooney and Michael Lowry are named at half-back.

Brad Roberts, Callum Reid, Tom O’Toole, Alan O’Connor and Matty Rea are the forward reinforcements, with David Shanahan, Ian Madigan and Ben Moxham providing the back line options on the bench.

Ulster team to play Zebre Rugby, Guinness PRO14 Round 16, Friday 19 March at Kingspan Stadium (kick-off 8.15pm, live on Premier Sports / eir Sport):

(15-9) Ethan McIlroy, Robert Baloucoune, James Hume, Stewart Moore, Rob Lyttle, Michael Lowry, John Cooney;

(1-8) Eric O’Sullivan, John Andrew, Marty Moore, Cormac Izuchukwu, Kieran Treadwell, Sean Reidy, Jordy Murphy (Capt.), David McCann.

Replacements: Brad Roberts, Callum Reid, Tom O’Toole, Alan O’Connor, Matty Rea, David Shanahan, Ian Madigan, Ben Moxham.

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