Munster back on top after hard fought win in Edinburgh
Ronan O’Mahony scores first-half try at Myreside
Munster’s Rhys Marshall attempts to hold off the tackle of Edinburgh’s Sean Kennedy during the Guinness Pro 12 game at Myreside. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho
Edinburgh 9 Munster 10
Munster moved to the top of the Guinness Pro 12 table after defeating Edinburgh by the narrowest of margins at Myreside with a performance, if not of the classic genre, that was enough to see the job done.
Edinburgh could not have any complaints at losing having put in a ragged display that never really threatened the Munster line. In the end they had to depend on the goal kicking of their Welsh-born outhalf Jason Tovey to supply their points.
For Munster this was clearly a difficult game given the absence of so many of their stars on Ireland duty. But with their core players, and notably skipper Tyler Bleyendaal, providing the experience to help the youngsters in the team, Munster were able to achieve the win with greater ease than the score suggests.
After dominating the set-piece for much of the first half Munster went into the break trailing 9-7, Edinburgh’s points having come exclusively from Tovey with three penalty goal – his third success off the tee coming after the Munster scrumhalf Duncan Williams had been carded for a deliberate knock-on.
For their part Munster, who had looked the slicker with ball in hand and who had looked more dangerous at scrum time, scored the only try of the first half, a touchdown by Ronan O’Mahony from Bleyendaal’s scoring pass after the visitors’ forwards had pounded the Edinburgh line, the Munster outhalf adding the extras.
Munster made five changes in the first 10 minutes of the second half giving the forward pack more beef and a bit more nous from the likes of Tommy O’Donnell, but it was Edinburgh who had the first real chance to score in the second half when they set up a maul from a lineout.
Munster, however, were able to deal with the immediate pressure, before putting a squeeze on Edinburgh that ended with Bleyendaal giving the Irish province the lead with a penalty goal.
Then when Edinburgh gave away a scrum penalty Bleyendaal found good field position with his touch kick to provide an attacking platform for Munster. But in the wet conditions Munster were unable to control the ball.
It mattered little as Munster were able to contain any breakouts by Edinburgh. However they had a late scare when Edinburgh fullback Blair Kinghorn had a long-range shot at goal from inside his own half. The ball fell just short, to the relief of the Munster men.
EDINBURGH: B Kinghorn; D Hoyland, C Dean, P Burleigh, T Brown; J Tovey, S Kennedy; J Cosgrove, N Cochrane, M McCallum; F McKenzie, B Toolis; M Bradbury, J Hardie, C Du Preez.
Replacements: S McInally for Cochrane (57 mins), V Mata for Hardie (65 mins), S Hidalgo-Clyne for Kennedy (69 mins), M Allen for for Burleigh 78 mins).
MUNSTER: J Taute; C Nash, F Saili, D Goggin, R O’Mahony; T Bleyendaal (capt), D Williams; P McCabe, R Marshall, S Archer; J Kleyn, D Foley; D O’Callaghan, C Oliver, J O’Donoghue.
Replacements: K O’Byrne for Marshall (51 mins), D Kilcoyne for McCabe (34 mins), B Scott for Archer (51 mins), D O’Shea for Kleyn (71 mins), B Holland for Foley (43 mins), T O’Donnell for Oliver (43 mins), R Scannell for Nash (47 mins).
Referee: B Whitehouse (Wales)