Munster got back into the RaboDirect groove with an emphatic victory over Edinburgh at Musgrave Park in Cork last night.
In many respects it was a difficult night for Rob Penney’s boys, but they were absolutely deserving of the win and after a tough first-half contest they pulled away in the second period.
Munster were undoubtedly the better side although Edinburgh gave as good as they got for much of the first half and even for periods of the second. However, Munster’s experience paid off and they managed anything Edinburgh threw at them when the Scottish side enjoyed periods of dominance.
Munster were stronger in every department and bizarre would be the best way to describe BJ Botha’s 13th-minute yellow card for a scrum offence that was inoccuous to say the least. Piers Francis kicked the resultant penalty to give Edinburgh a 3-0 lead against the run of play but it just proved that there are no firm rules for what happens in the 16-man scrum battle any more.
Even Edinburgh players appeared perplexed at some of the decisions from Welsh referee Ian Davies.
Ironically Munster got back on level terms with a 20th-minute penalty from Ian Keatley after a scrum infringement from the visitors, Marcus Horan providing the pressure to make William Nel concede the opportunity.
Keatley missed a further opportunity following another collapsed scrum, this time based on Botha’s strength in the breakdown but the stand-off got another chance within seconds to kick Munster into a 6-3 lead after 28 minutes.
Munster were denied an early second half try when winger Danny Barnes was beaten to the touch by Greg Tonks but Keatley put Munster into a further position of strength with another penalty in the 48th minute for a 9-3 advantage. That went out to 15-3 with subsequent penalties from the stand-off and Munster, indeed, were somewhat unlucky not to stretch that lead with a couple of decent attacks in the middle of the second half.
They got the reward, however, with a brilliant 68th-minute try from CJ Stander after he chased a kick ahead from Ivan Dineen. Five minutes from time Mike Sherry was at the end of a brilliant movement to stretch the lead to 30-3.