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Four-try Coombes helps Munster rout Zebre

Gavin Coombes’ haul brought his personal try tally to 15 for the season
Zebre (6) 11
Try: Mori Pens: Canna 2
Munster (28) 54
Tries: G Coombes 4, Casey 2, N Scannell, L Coombes Cons: Carbery 6, Flannery

Gavin Coombes furthered his case for an Ireland call-up with four tries as Munster ended their season with a stylish eight-try win over Zebre in Parma.

Craig Casey (two), Niall Scannell and Liam Coombes also crossed while Federico Mori scored the only try for the hosts, who finish bottom of the Rainbow Cup’s northern league with no points.

The win lifts Munster above Edinburgh into second as their 2020-21 campaign draws to a close.

With Irish head coach Andy Farrell set to name his squad for the summer Tests on Monday, Coombes’ display was yet another stand-out performance in an excellent season from the 23-year-old back row.

Widely expected to be in contention for a call-up before the game, his outstanding display in Parma only strengthens the likelihood of his inclusion for matches against the USA and Japan in July.

Coombes and Casey, another player likely to feature in Ireland’s next squad, each scored twice in the first half as the hosts eased through the gears, with their forwards dominating the set-piece providing a platform for their backs to punch holes in a disorganised Zebre defence.

Carlo Canna’s two penalties were all the hosts had to show for a one-sided first half.

There was no let-up from Munster after the break with Niall Scannell touching town from a maul, just as Coombes had done in the first half.

Liam Coombes, cousin of Gavin, scored his side’s sixth try on the hour mark before his cousin powered over for his hat-trick try and then added a fourth in the final play of the game.

The second half also saw Billy Holland come on for his 247th and final Munster appearance, with the lock moving into retirement as the province’s second most-capped player of all time,

Munster: Gallagher; Conway, Farrell, R Scannell, L Coombes; J Carbery, C Casey; Kilcoyne, N Scannell, Ryan, Kleyn, F Wycherley; O’Mahony, O’Donoghue, G Coombes.

Replacements: K O’Byrne, O’Connor, Salanoa, Ahern, Holland, McCarthy, Flannery, Cloete.

Zebre: Trulla; D’Onofrio, Mori, Lucchin, Bruno; Canna, Violi; Lovotti, Bigi, Nocera, Sisi, Krumov; Bianchi, Leavasa, Giammarioli.

Replacements: Manfredi, Rimpelli, D’Amico, Ortis, Licata, Casilio, Di Marco, Biondelli.

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