Pro14: Munster 51-18 Cheetahs
|Guinness Pro14: Munster v Cheetahs|
|Munster (22) 51|
|Tries: O'Donnell, Wootton 4, Kleyn, Farrell Cons: Keatley 4 Pen: Keatley|
|Cheetahs (6) 18|
|Try: Small-Smith, H Venter Con: Petzer Pens: Petzer 2|
Alex Wootton's four tries helped Munster thump Pro14 newcomers the Cheetahs despite some thrilling back play from the South African visitors.
A Tommy O'Donnell try and two Wootton scores put Munster 22-6 up the break.
William Small-Smith's superb try as he ran from his 10-metre line cut Munster's lead after half-time.
Jean Kleyn and Chris Farrell responded to Small-Smith's try and after two more Wootton tries and a Simon Zebo try, Henco Venter notched a late reply.
Munster's scrum domination at Thomond Park and a sporadically effective maul laid the foundations for their win.
O'Donnell's seventh-minute try came after the Cheetahs scrum, on its own put-in, was demolished just short of the line with Jack O'Donoghue off-loading for the Ireland flanker to score.
With the exception of Ian Keatley's early three points, Munster opted to kick for the corner on every other occasion the under-pressure Cheetahs were penalised and a line-out maul led to Wootton's first try on the 20th minute, with Darren Sweetnam delivering a superb floated pass to the wing.
To their credit, Munster's play wasn't just of the 'stick it up your jumper' variety with fast hands from impressive centres Farrell and Jaco Taute helping to set up Wootton's second touchdown five minutes before the break.
The Cheetahs' forward weakness bit them again just before the break as Munster turned over an attempt to earn a line-out maul try.
Small-Smith's score immediately after the resumption will surely be a contender for try of the season as he ran from just outside his own 22 after taking a pass from centre partner Francois Venter, who had fielded Keatley's restart.
But Munster quick reasserted their domination as Kleyn and Farrell ran through a porous Cheetahs rearguard to extend their advantage to 34-11, with the bonus point secured.
Wootton's two further scores within a six-minute period pushed Munster's advantage to 44-11 by the 61st minute as he equalled the competition's record of four tries in a single game.
Ireland wing Zebo got on the scoresheet as he won a foot race to get the touchdown in the 74th minute before Cheetahs flanker Venter's late reply.
The wins gives Munster a second successive bonus-point after last week's opening home success over Benetton Treviso.
Munster: A Conway, D Sweetnam, C Farrell, J Taute, A Wootton, I Keatley, D Williams; L O'Connor, R Marshall, S Archer; J Kleyn, B Holland (capt); S O'Connor, T O'Donnell, J O'Donoghue.
Replacements: N Scannell for Marshall 58 mins, D Kilcoyne for L O'Connor 58, J Ryan for Archer 58, F Wycherley for Kleyn 71, R Copeland for O'Donoghue 65 J Hart for Williams 62 R Scannell for Taute 60, S Zebo for Wootton 62.
Cheetahs: C Blommetjies; S Petersen, F Venter (capt), W Small-Smith, M Mapimpi; R Petzer, S Venter; C Marais, J du Toit, J Coetzee; R Bernardo, R Hugo; P Schoeman, H Venter, N Jordaan.
Replacements: T van Jaarsveld for Du Toit 50, O Nche for Marais 60, T Botha for Coetzee 68, A Koster for Jordan 28 G Olivier Bernardo 77, T Meyer for S Venter 73, A Mgijima for Benjamin 77, R Benjamin for Blommetjies 56.