Munster Rugby lost out 16-18 to Edinburgh in a tight encounter in the Guinness Pro14 at Irish Independent Park in Cork on Friday night.
Richard Cockerill’s Edinburgh side hadn’t won in the southern capital since 2004 but had enough strength to hold out against a much-changed Munster side this evening to claim victory.
Within the opening three minutes of the game, Edinburgh centre Matt Bennett put his side in front as he stretched over the line for a try. Referee Marius Mitrea consulted with his TMO, while telling him the on-field decision was a try. His fellow official soon confirmed the five-pointer as the hosts took the early advantage. Jaco van de Walt added the straight-forward conversion for a 7-0 lead to the Scottish outfit.
Van de Walt soon extended his side’s lead with a 20 minute penalty from the Munster 10m line, putting his team 10-0 ahead.
Edinburgh failed to improve on their score in the opening period and must have been disappointed to finish the first 40 minutes level with Munster.
It took Johann van Graan’s outfit until the 23rd minute, however, before getting on the scoreboard. Munster Academy player Ben Healy successfully kicked a penalty as he reduced his team’s deficit to 7 points.
Later, with Munster camped on the Edinburgh line for phase after phase, Tommy O’Donnell finally burrowed over, when his side had a penalty advantage. The referee’s on-field decision was a try, but again consulted with his TMO, who admitted he couldn’t see a clear grounding. The Italian official kept with his original decision and awarded the score. Healy converted his second kicking effort at goal to level the scores at 10-10, with 35 minutes on the clock.
MUNSTER 10-10 Edinburgh.
23 phases of play, and Tommy O”Donnell finally gets over the line for Munster’s first try of the evening at Irish Independent Park.
— eir Sport (@eirSport) November 29, 2019
Despite a poor opening 20 minutes to this game, which saw Munster achieve just 29% possession, the southern province’s comeback in the second part of the first half, saw them leave the field at half-time with 66% territory and 59% possession to their name.
Half-time: Munster Rugby 10 Edinburgh Rugby 10.
Healy’s fine kicking continued early in the second half, as the out-half kicked a long-range effort from just inside the halfway line, putting the hosts ahead for the first time in the game.
Moments later, the combined efforts of captain and Guinness Man of the Match, Jack O’Donoghue, Calvin Nash and Shane Daly prevented Edinburgh prop Pierre Schoeman scoring a try. As the Scottish capital’s front row broke through the Munster defence, Stuart McNally, passed to the onrushing Schoeman who looked as though he would score, only for the valiant effort of the aforementioned trio in red.
An Edinburgh high tackle gave Ben Healy another chance to practice his goal-kicking as the young Number 10 scored another three-pointer to push his team into a 16-10 lead with 14 minutes played in the second period.
Edinburgh replacement Simon Hickey gave his team hope when narrowing the deficit with his first penalty kick of the evening in the 56th minute. The standard kicking-effort from in front of the posts brought Cockerill’s side to within three points of Munster.
With Edinburgh on the attack in front of the Main Stand, fullback Blair Kinghorn quickly switched play as his kicked pass found Eroni Sau on the opposite wing, and the speedy winger ran in to put the Scottish side back into the lead. Though Cockerill’s men failed to convert the difficult effort from the touchline, they held an 18-16 advantage which they maintained for the closing 17 minutes of this fixture.
— PRO14 RUGBY (@PRO14Official) November 29, 2019
Final score: Munster Rugby 16 Edinburgh Rugby 18.
Shane Daly, 14. Calvin Nash, 13. Sammy Arnold, 12. Dan Goggin, 11. Alex Wootton, 10. Ben Healy, 9. Nick McCarthy.
1. Liam O’Connor, 2. Rhys Marshall, 3. Stephen Archer, 4. Fineen Wycherley, 5. Darren O’Shea, 6. Jack O’Donoghue (captain), 7. Tommy O’Donnell, 8. Arno Botha.
16. Kevin O’Byrne, 17. James Cronin, 18. Keynan Knox, 19. Jed Holloway, 20. Conor Oliver, 21. Neil Cronin, 22. JJ Hanrahan, 23. Rory Scannell.
15. Blair Kinghorn, 14. Eroni Sau, 13. Mark Bennett, 12. Matt Scott, 11. Duhan van der Merwe, 10. Jaco van der Walt, 9. Henry Pyrgos (captain).
1. Pierre Schoeman, 2. Stuart McNally, 3. Pietro Ceccarelli, 4. Ben Toolis, 5. Grant Gilchrist, 6. Magnus Bradbury, 7. Hamish Watson, 8. Villiame Mata.
Michael Willemse, 17. Rory Sutherland, 18. Simon Berghan, 19. Lewis Carmichael, 20. Ally Miller, 21. Charlie Shiel, 22. Simon Hickey, 23. George Taylor.