Defending champions Munster kicked off their 2023-24 Vodacom United Rugby Championship campaign with a victory over the Sharks at Thomond Park on Saturday night.
Munster scored five tries as they rumbled to a 34-21 win in Limerick.
The opening quarter was a stop-start affair as both sides looked to shake off the pre-season rust. However, within a matter of minutes Munster opened up a 14-point lead courtesy of tries from lock Edwin Edogbo and hooker Diarmuid Barron.
The Sharks hit back shortly before the break through winger Werner Kok but it was the hosts who closed out the first half with a try as outside centre Antoine Frisch capitalised on a loose ball for the easiest of tries.
Ireland flyhalf Joey Carbery made it four from four off the kicking tee, slotting a penalty from in front before replacement centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg finished off a spectacular counter-attack for the Sharks.
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Any realistic hope of a famous Sharks win were dashed when scrumhalf Cameron Wright was shown a yellow card for a high shot. The hosts made the numerical advantage count as winger Andrew Conway claimed the bonus-point try on his return from a 15-month layoff.
Scrumhalf Ethan Coughlan put the icing on the cake as he crossed the whitewash for a try on debut before the Sharks bagged a consolation try after the hooter through replacement Aphelele Fassi.
The task does not get any easier for the Sharks as they travel to Leinster next week while Munster look forward to facing Benetton.
Photo: Ryan Byrne/Backpagepix