Reds too good for Edinburgh again
Munster 30 Edinburgh 3
Munster defeated Edinburgh for the fourth time this season with a dominant second-half display in yesterday evening’s RaboDirect PRO12 encounter at Musgrave Park.
Man of the match Ian Keatley kicked 20 points, with tries in the final quarter from CJ Stander and Mike Sherry capping off the home win.
A Piers Francis penalty gave Edinburgh an early lead and the Scottish team were only 6-3 behind at the break, but Keatley’s right boot pushed the hosts out of sight in the Cork rain after the interval.
Munster had to endure a difficult first quarter during which BJ Botha was penalised for not scrummaging straight – referee Ian Davies sin-binned the South African prop in the 13th minute.
Francis, who missed a difficult first penalty, made no mistake with his second attempt as Edinburgh edged into the lead.
Davies’ officiating of the scrum continued to dominate proceedings with Munster winning the next two penalties in the set-piece, the first allowing Keatley to kick the hosts level.
Botha got the verdict over John Yapp on his return and Keatley converted the second of two quickfire penalties, punishing Richie Rees for being caught offside.
Greig Tonks, Netani Talei and Ben Atiga tested the Munster defence late on, but Stander and company ensured the first half remained try-less.
Munster opened the second half on the front foot, JJ Hanrahan dinking a clever kick in behind Dougie Fife but the Edinburgh winger beat Johne Murphy to the bobbling ball.
The hosts maintained their presence in the visitors’ 22 and another Keatley penalty gave them a six-point buffer after Willem Nel infringed in a scrum.
The showery conditions made for a scrappy encounter and each penalty kick was becoming increasingly important.
Munster’s stand-in captain Jamie Coughlan was caught by a high tackle from Rees and Keatley slotted the resulting kick from a central position.
The province’s direct style forced further mistakes from territory-starved Edinburgh and a fifth successful strike from Keatley had his side 15-3 ahead by the hour mark.
A sixth followed from the fly-half before a pinpoint Hanrahan pass sent Ivan Dineen scurrying up the right touchline. He kicked ahead for the supporting Stander, who went over unopposed for a 68th-minute converted try.
Munster, who did the double on Edinburgh in the Heineken Cup pool stages, crossed again with five minutes remaining – replacement hooker Sherry scrambling past Talei after an assist from Stander.