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Peter O’Mahony made his long-awaited return to rugby as he helped Munster to pummel Zebre 49-5 at Thomond Park.
The southern province ran in seven tries as they completely outclassed their Italian opponents.
Indeed, the hosts had a bonus point secured before half-time after tries from Darren Sweetman, Conor Murray, CJ Stander and Simon Zebo, all converted by the boot of Tyler Bleyendaal.
The home side added a further three five-pointers after the break through Stander grabbing his second, prop Stephen Archer crossing the line and a penalty try.
Substitute Ian Keatley added the extras for all three second-half tries to pass the 1,000 point mark for his career.
Zebre’s consolation try came late on when winger Gabriele di Giulio crossed in the corner.
O’Mahony’s introduction with 20 minutes remaining after 12 months out with a knee injury capped a satisfying night for Munster who moved, temporarily at least, to the top of the Pro12 table.
Ulster reclaimed top spot later on Saturday but they left it late as they edged past Ospreys by 9-7 in a tight encounter at Ravenhill.
Paddy Jackson's 79th minute penalty finally broke the resolve of the Welsh side who had not trailed at any other point during the game.
The only try of the contest came in the fifth minute and it was scored by Osprey's prop Nicky Smith, with Dan Biggar adding the extras.
The hosts struggled to put together much by the way of flowing attacking moves and they were reliant on the boot of Jackson to claw back into the game.
The out-half got Ulster's first points on 28 minutes after Ben John was pinged for not rolling away.
Jackson put the home side to within a point of their opponents with his second successful kick just after the break.
Jackson missed a straightforward penalty soon after and they were relieved when Biggar's drop-goal attempt went wide late on.
Ulster won it with just a minute left when Jackson kicked his third penalty after Cracknell was punished for not rolling away.
Leinster produced an impressive fightback away to Cardiff Blues to win 16-13 at the Cardiff Arms Park.
Jonathan Sexton gave last season's beaten finalists an early lead with a penalty but the visitors trailed by 10 points at half-time after Chris Anscombe crossed for a try, which he converted, and registered two penalties.
The Irish province fought back in the second half with a second Sexton penalty before Rhys Ruddock grabbed a try and Sexton levelled the game with the resulting conversion.
The out-half then kicked Leinster into the lead with his third penalty with just nine minutes left.
Despite a hectic finish to the game, that was the last score and the hard-earned win moves Leinster up to third place in the table.
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