Munster 25 Edinburgh 23
IT was another late Ben Healy show for Munster at Thomond Park, as his conversion from a 77th-minute CJ Stander try ensured victory over Edinburgh in a hard-fought Pro14 Conference B clash.
Edinburgh will feel hard done by, as they will have felt that they won the majority of the collisions, but ultimately Munster’s recent habit of winning games at the death continued.
Healy opened the scoring from a penalty in the 4th minute, and he repeated the trick from 45m in the sixth minute to double Munster’s lead.
Edinburgh got themselves into the contest with a 13th minute try from Mark Bennett, who brushed aside his opposite number Alex McHenry with ease to cruise over, with Jaco van der Walt adding the extras.
Healy added another penalty in the 20th minute, but Edinburgh regained the lead when tighthead WP Nel crashed over for his side’s second try on the half-hour mark after Duhan van der Merwe had made hard yards down the left flank.
Out-half van der Walt again added the conversion, but Healy had the last word in the half when he kicked his fourth penalty, from four attempts, to leave it 12-14 at the break, after great work at the breakdown from Tadhg Beirne.
The 47th minute saw a huge moment in the game when Andrew Conway made a magnificent try-saving tackle on George Taylor, when a try seemed a certainty, although van der Walt did add a three-pointer two minutes later.
Healy kept Munster in touch with a 54th-minute penalty, and with Edinburgh’s van der Walt being sin-binned for a high tackle on the young Munster ace, he put Munster back in front with another impeccable strike in the 58th minute.
With his number 10 still in the bin, centre Bennett took up the kicking duties and split the post in the 67th minute, as the team’s swapped the lead once more.
Healy’s first miss came in the 70th minute, which was punished in the 74th minute when the returned van der Walt added another penalty after replacement lock Gavin Coombes was pinned for being offside, and Edinburgh had an 18-23 lead.
Then after James Cronin had brilliantly won a penalty around halfway Munster went down the line and backed themselves to score a try, and they did just that. Big carries from the likes of Cronin, Coombes and John Hodnett got them close to the line, which allowed captain CJ Stander to dot down from close range in the 77th minute.
This time Healy made the kick and Munster led again, when it mattered, at the final whistle.
Scorers for Munster: Healy (6 pens, 1 con), Stander (1 try).
Edinburgh: van der Walt (2 pen, 2 cons), Bennett (1 try, 1 pen), Nel (1 try).
MUNSTER: Haley, Conway, McHenry, Scannell, Gallagher, Healy, Casey, Stander, O’Donnell, O’Donoghue, Beirne, Wycherley, Ryan, Marshall, Loughman.
Subs: Hodnett for O’Donnell (32), Goggin for McHenry (50), Cronin for Loughman (54), Coombes for Wycherley (61), O’Byrne and Murray for Marshall and Casey (63), Salanoa for Ryan (72).
EDINBURGH: Hoyland, Graham, Bennett, Taylor, van der Merwe, van der Walt, Groom, Haining, Watson, Ritchie, Gilchrist, Toolis, Nel, McInally, Sutherland.
Subs: Davidson for Gilchrist (31), Schoeman for Sutherland (52), Berghan for Nel (61), Willemse for McInally (67).
Referee: Nigel Owens