Simon Zebo sets European record as Munster set for English opponent in Last 16
MUNSTER 45-7 WASPS
Having copped it from near and far about their playing style, Munster were delighted to cut loose on woeful Waps again. Simon Zebo certainly had some fun out there.
Anyone following Munster's season will know how they started the season brightly, had major Covid disruptions, some scrappy performances and are getting back to their best. This afternoon against Wasps saw the upward trend continue.
Their victory stroll secured them third place in Pool B and a Last 16 game against Exeter Chiefs, over two legs, in April.
Already locked in for the Champions Cup knock-out stages, today was all about putting Wasps to bed and finishing as high as possible in the Pool B standings. Munster got off to a great start when Conor Murray pounced on a bouncing ball after Tadhg Beirne had been tackled near the tryline.
The home side's second try, at Thomond Park, was a record-breaker for Simon Zebo. Already the province's top try-scorer, Zebo set a European Cup record when crossing for his 24th try in Munster colours. His score -teed up by a lovely Ben Healy chip - saw him move one ahead of the legendary Anthony Foley.
Dan Robson grabbed a try back for Wasps, but Munster fans were soon cheering again when Gavin Coombes steamed off the back of a scrum and skittled Wasps outhalf Charlie Atkinson. He was held up just short but Jack O'Donoghue zoomed in to score his side's third.
Gav Coombes bopping lads into another dimension 💥 👀 pic.twitter.com/UO9RjRfToO
— House of Rugby (@HouseOfRugby) January 23, 2022
Munster seal bonus point victory
Four minutes into the second half, Munster got the bonus point with their fourth try of the day. They were awarded a penalty that they opted to kick to touch before winning the lineout and teeing Jeremy Loughman up power over from close range.
From there on out, it got messy.
Wasps needed a losing bonus point or a try-scoring bonus point - any point from anywhere - to pip Stade Francais to the Last 16. They entered the game ravaged with injuries, though, and picked up more as the game went on. They could not get it going today.
Munster knew they had all five points wrapped up with 30 minutes to play and their intensity levels dropped off. Mistakes crept in and they squandered a couple of promising attacking positions.
The game finished on a high, though, as Zebo was set up by Mike Haley for a try that made it 25 in Europe. And counting...
In time added on, Rory Scannell got over for what is his fourth ever European try. A ways to go to catch Zebo, though.
Our Man of the Match: Jack O'Donoghue (Munster)