Munster remain in the hunt for a Pro14 home semi final following a 28-0 bonus point away win over Zebre.
However, the Red Army stay in second spot in Conference B after Edinburgh’s victory over Connacht.
Tries from Calvin Nash, JJ Hanrahan, Rory Scannell and Darren Sweetnam (all converted by JJ) saw Munster come away with what ended up being a comfortable win.
Munster’s cause was made slightly easier when winger Pierre Bruno was red carded for a leading with his forearm as he carried into contact with Chris Cloete in the 10th minute.
Johann van Graan’s men made the extra man tell almost immediately when Calvin Nash got just enough downward pressure to a perfectly timed Craig Casey kick in behind.
JJ Hanrahan added the conversion to put Munster 7-0 in front and in firm control of the contest.
Van Graan may have expected his side to dominate from that moment, but things didn’t go to play for the travelling team.
Munster had lots of possession for the rest of the half, but were unable to add to Nash’s try due to a mixture of solid Zebre defence, Munster ill-discipline and some poor execution.
Whatever was said at half time seemed to have the desired effect as Munster were much more patient.
The second try arrived 13 minutes after the restart. Some strong carries from Jeremy Loughman and Rory Scannell created a bit of space and Hanrahan dived over for a try that he also converted.
That try seemed to spur Munster on and they began to put the foot down on a visibly tiring Italian side.
Some more patient attacking saw Munster in the home ’22 once more and again it was Hanrahan that was key to the score.
With a penalty advantage accruing, the Kerryman floated a pass to the right wing for Scannell to stroll over for the third try.
The Munster out half nailed his third conversion to give his side a 21-0 lead on 57 minutes.
After Scannell’s try, Munster’s lethargy returned. Several attacking positions were not taken advantage of and the bonus point looked unlikely.
However, some bit of magic inside the Zebre ’22 from firstly, Loughman, and then an outrageous flick pass by Kevin O’Byrne saw Hanrahan fire wide for Sweetnam to score on his return from injury.
Hanrahan again nailed a superb conversion to give Munster a 28-0 bonus point victory.