Graeme Rowntree’s delight at his first win as Munster boss was tempered by his side’s failure to earn a bonus point in four tries despite dominating Parma Zebras in Cork on Saturday.

Returning home for the first time this season after BKT United Rugby Championship defeats in Wales to Cardiff and then last Sunday to the Dragons, the new head coach asked for a positive response from the team after two sloppy performances. Peter O’Mahony’s side claimed victory in front of 6,485 supporters at Musgrave Park.

A first-half brace from hooker Niall Scannell, both from a dominant line maul, and a close-range try from his front-row partner Keinan Knox, all converted by Ben Healy, gave Munster a 21-0 lead at the break. However, the Reds were unable to add a fourth try in the second half, going down 5-0 after Lorenzo Pani’s 45th-minute try. All this suggests that it is still very early to get a new coaching ticket for Rowntree, attack coach Mike Prendergast, defense coach Denis Leamy and forwards coach Andy Kyriacou.

“Delighted to win after the week we’ve had,” Rountree said. “Delighted to win, but I would have liked a bonus point. We’ll see what we can do better in the second half in terms of possession. Our ambitions are good, but we have to keep our eyes on the ball.”

The win, he added, was “important for momentum” ahead of a four-game block in which Munster visit Connacht on Friday, host the Bulls in Limerick next week and then travel to Dublin to face Leinster at the Aviva Stadium before October’s home derby against Ulster.

“It’s been a tough, short week, but a tough week on many fronts,” Rountree insisted. – We needed a win and we needed to show the elements of the game that we worked very hard on. I was just disappointed with the consistency of our ball possession.

Despite the leak at the start of the second half, Munster kept control of the contest, but were again sloppy in possession and could rarely get past four or five stages. Munster’s ambitions were also not helped by a stop-start game littered with long delays due to injuries, set-off scrambles and lengthy discussions between referee AJ Jacobs and his TMO.

“It was frustrating, but you have to work hard,” Rountree said. “We showed good control of the game, our set-piece was in good shape, particularly our tackle, and the second half was a grind, stop-start, injuries and littered with our own mistakes, our own controllable mistakes.

“I wanted more from the second half, more points. I wanted more from our territory and possession in midfield, we needed more points.”

MUNSTER: M Haley; S Phillips, M Fekitoa, D Goggin (R Scannell, 60), P Campbell; B. Healy (J. Carbery, 50), S. Casey (S. Murray, 50); D. Kilcoyne (J. Loughman, 50), N. Scannell (S. Buckley, 50), C. Knox (S. Archer, 45); F. Wycherley (E. Edogbo, 57), T. Beirne; J O’Donoghue, P O’Mahony – Capt, Jack O’Sullivan (R Quinn, 73).

ZEBRE PARMA: R Krill; P. Bruno, E. Cronje (F. Smith Jr., 12; N. Casilio, 37 – HIA), E. Luchin – captain (L. Pani, 30), J. Trula; T Eden, A Fusco; J Pitinari (L Rizzoli, 53), G Ribaldi (L Bigi, ht), I Neculai (M Nocera, 53); G. Venditti, L. Krumau; D. Ruggeri, M.J. Pelser (I. Bianchi, ht), T. Fox-Matamois (J. Furno, 59).

Yellow card: G Venditti 24-34.

Judge: AJ Jacobs (South Africa).

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