Munster fail to fire in loss to Edinburgh at Musgrave Park

Munster fail to fire in loss to Edinburgh at Musgrave Park

Ben Healy of Munster is tackled by Hamish Watson and Villame Mata of Edinburgh at Musgrave Park during last night's clash. Picture: Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Munster 16 Edinburgh 18

THIS was a disappointing night at Musgrave Park as Munster lost to one of their main rivals in Conference B of the Guinness Pro14.

It was a scrappy affair; with the visiting side showing more of the attacking flair throughout against a Munster side that only saw Captain Jack O’Donoghue starting again after the draw with Racing Metro.

It was the worst possible start for debutant out-half Ben Healy. Munster received the kick-off and a wicked pass from half-back partner Nick McCarthy slipped through Healy’s leg. He managed to recover and offload to Wotton who came under pressure and touched down behind the line to concede a five-metre scrum.

Edinburgh sent the ball out to centre Matt Scott who powered towards the line. While he was tackled a couple of metres short he managed to wriggle his way forward and stretch his arms out to just scrape the line with the ball. Jaco van der Walt slotted over the conversion to put his side 7-0 up.

Healy had another nervy moment with a loose pass floating over Calvin Nash’s head and into touch. As the half progress; the former Glenstal Abbey grew into the game with some strong kicks and a couple of decent half-breaks.

In the opening half-hour, Munster struggled to get any attacking fluidity to their game with Edinburgh looking more threatening as van der Walt and Duhan van der Merwe made strong runs. Van der Walt extended his side’s lead on the half-hour mark with a penalty although Healy cancelled it shortly after with his first penalty effort.

One big positive for Munster in that opening period was their defence; particularly at the breakdown with the likes of Liam O’Connor making some big turnovers. A great counter-ruck saw them win a penalty that Healy kicked to the corner. The initial maul was repelled and the ball was spread out. After numerous phases close to the line Tommy O’Donnell managed to squeeze over. Healy levelled the scores at 0-10 apiece as Munster started to build a rhythm but couldn’t add any further scores before half-time.

Healy had a much stronger start to the second-half; as he slotted over a long-range penalty to put Munster in the lead for the first time. Edinburgh front-rowers Stuart McInally and Pierre Schoeman s responded in the most unlikely manner with surging runs seeing the latter held up just short. Munster managed to come out unscathed from the ensuing series of attacks and Healy soon slotted over his third penalty to stretch Munster’s lead to 16-10.

Replacement out-half Simon Hickey made it a three-point game with his first kick at the post for the visitors. Hamish Watson made a try-saving turnover for Edinburgh after a great surge by Arno Botha set-up a Munster attack. The Scots worked the ball down the field and having earned a penalty, Blair Kinghorn put through a cross-field kick that bounced up beautifully for Eroni Sau nudge Edinburgh into an 18-16 lead.

With a flurry of replacements; the game once again became very scrappy and Munster conceded some uncharacteristic penalties at the set-piece allowed Edinburgh close out the game comfortably inside Munster territory.

Scorers: Munster: T O’Donnell try; B Healy 3 pens, con.

Edinburgh: M Scott, E Sau tries; J van der Walt pen, con; S Hickey pen.

MUNSTER: S Daly; C Nash, S Arnold, D Goggin, A Wootton; B Healy, N McCarthy; L O’Connor, R Marshall, S Archer; F Wycherley, D O’Shea; J O’Donoghue (c) T O’Donnell, A Botha.

Replacements: J Holloway for O’Shea; JJ Hanrahan for Healy and R Scannell for Arnold all 61, J Cronin for O’Connor and K Knox for Archer both 64, C Oliver for O’Donnell 66, K O’Byrne for Marshall 68, N Cronin for McCarthy 71.

EDINBURGH: B Kinghorn; E Sau, M Bennett, M Scott, D van der Merwe; J van der Walt, H Pyrgos (c); P Schoeman, S McInally, P Ceccarelli; B Toolis, G Gilchrist; M Bradbury, H Watson, V Mata.

Replacements: S Hickey for van der Walt and S Berghan for Ceccarelli both 53, M Willemse for McInally and G Taylor for Scott both 64, R Sutherland for Schoeman 71.

Referee: M Mitrea (IRF)

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