Edinburgh turned the screw in the last quarter to claim a hard fought 18-16 win over a green Munster side at Musgrave Park on Friday evening in what was a decent game of rugby.
As far as starts go, Munster could hardly have gotten off to a worse one. A woeful pass from Nick McCarthy went through Ben Healy’s legs on the goal line at the cost of a five metre scrum.
From the resultant scrum, van der Walt made a decent break. Two phases later and Matt Scott was over form short range. The conversation was added by van der Walt and the victors led 7-0.
It was a largely forgettable opening quarter for the home side who were starved territory or possession. Edinburgh extended the lead in the 21st minute as van der Walt landed a fine kick after a penalty at the scrum.
Munster responded immediately with a good series of carries seeing Edinburgh penalised for not rolling away at the ruck. Healy banished any lingering nerves with a low strike between the posts to reduce the arrears to 7.
Johann van Graan’s side had wrestled back the momentum and when Dan Goggin forced a knock on in defence. The Munster backline pounced. Arnold kicked up to within 10 metres of the Edinburgh line. The chase was superb and forced the penalty for holding on.
Munster secured the line out and a mammoth 23 phases later Tommy O’Donnell was given the try after a consultation from the TMO. 10-10 after Healy converted and a superb response.
Munster forced a early penalty just two minutes after the restart. Ben Healy stepped up to land the kick from well outside the 10 metre line.
Minutes later and a defensive lapse saw Edinburgh cut a huge hole in the Munster backline as van der Walt broke through. Pierre Schoeman took a pop pass but some superb covering defensive from Munster held the prop up and short of the line.
Munster put in a huge defensive effort to repel the five metre scrum after a sustained Edinburgh attack. Simon Hickey added a 56th minute penalty to cut the gap to just three.
The momentum was beginning to shift back in Edinburgh’s favour and when a sublime cross field kick from Blair Kinghorn caught Wootton just out of position. Eroni Sau pounced and finished to make it 18-16 to the visitors.
The Scottish side manage to see out the remaining 17 minutes of the game excellently to keep Munster at bay. In fairness the home side never seriously threatened in the final quarter.
For their part, Munster just couldn’t get the required possession or field position for put them in range for go-ahead penalty. It was a disappointing end to what was a largely positive performance.