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Simon Zebo hat-trick sees Munster to bonus-point victory over Edinburgh

By PA
(Photo By Sam Barnes/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

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Simon Zebo stole the show with a hat-trick of tries in Munster’s 34-20 United Rugby Championship win over Edinburgh at Thomond Park.

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Replacement Henry Pyrgos’ 69th-minute score had the Scots still in the hunt, but Zebo tiptoed along the left touchline to brilliantly seal the bonus-point victory.

Converted scores from Fineen Wycherley and Zebo had Munster leading 20-10 at the break, with the Scots sandwiching in a 10-point spurt of their own.

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Ramiro Moyano’s slick try saw Edinburgh recover from an early 13-point deficit, and Emiliano Boffelli’s reliable right boot delivered 10 points.

However, Ben Healy booted 14 points for the home side – including two touchline kicks – and Zebo’s finishing was equally impressive.

Young fly-half Healy knocked over a fifth-minute penalty and Edinburgh fell 10-0 behind in as many minutes. Second-row Wycherley powered over from a zippy Craig Casey pass.

Chris Cloete’s second turnover penalty was turned into three points by Healy, but Edinburgh hit back assuredly in the 23rd minute.

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Back from Scotland camp, Blair Kinghorn and captain Mark Bennett carved through to send the rapid Moyano over to the right of the posts.

His Argentinian compatriot Boffelli added the extras, and he then closed the gap to three points with his opening penalty.

Munster managed to score on the stroke of half-time, lovely hands from Chris Farrell and Healy releasing Zebo to cross from close range.

Healy’s excellent conversion reopened the 10-point margin, before both sides blew chances on the restart.

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Another well-struck Boffelli penalty had Edinburgh just 20-13 in arrears, the play quickly swinging from one end to the other.

Edinburgh suffered a double blow on the hour mark, Mike Haley feeding Zebo for his second converted try before the influential Bennett went off injured.

Foiling the visitors’ attempts to respond, Wycherley stole a line-out and then Dave Kilcoyne, on his 200th Munster appearance, forced a knock-on from Boan Venter.

The wily Pyrgos showed his experience with a clever snipe in under the posts for Boffelli to convert.

There was no denying it was Zebo’s night, though, as Healy sent the Corkman squeezing past Moyano for the clinching score, converted with aplomb by the number 10.

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