EDINBURGH enjoyed a bright start but failed to do what the Scarlets and Cardiff had done to Munster at Musgrave Park and the Irish side shook off their early lethargy to produce a well deserved RaboDirect Pro12 win.
There was no bonus point for the Irish side but coach Rob Penney was well pleased with a workmanlike performance by his second-string side who pushed themselves back towards top four contention.
For Edinburgh and Michael Bradley things don’t get any better and the visiting coach admitted: “We didn’t really threaten a whole lot in that match. It was only 6-3 at half time but, by then, Munster had begun to establish themselves.
“We had Munster under a bit of pressure in the first 20 minutes but that was mainly because they were conceding penalties.
“That picture changed and I suppose the scores were down to technical things. There was nothing much happening in that first half, it was a weird type of a game but Munster went about their business much better in the second half.”
Stand-off Piers Francis gave Edinburgh a 13th-minute lead with a well-struck penalty but Munster responded with two penalties by Ian Keatley to give them control of the scoreboard. The home side were denied an early second-half try when winger Danny Barnes was beaten to the touch by Greig 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 18-3 with subsequent penalties and Munster, indeed, were somewhat unlucky not to stretch that lead with a couple of decent attacks in the middle of the half.
They eventually got their reward with a brilliant 68th-minute try by CJ Stander, who chased a kick ahead by Ivan Dineen. It was converted by Keatley.
Five minutes from time Mike Sherry was on the end of a brilliant move to stretch the lead to 30-3.
Edinburgh’s lack of scoring chances disappointed Bradley. He said: “We really didn’t create much did we? We struggled all night at the breakdown and that was crucial. Ian Keatley kept the scoreboard ticking over with a succession of penalties and the game drifted away from us.”
This time last year, Edinburgh were preparing for a Heineken Cup quarter-final but Bradley’s men are now stumbling from one poor result to another.
“I suppose everyone will be looking more at the Heineken Cup than the Rabo but this year we had Munster and Saracens in the group and they are, I believe, much better sides than London Irish and Cardiff, who we had in our group last year. We had London Irish, Cardiff and Racing and any one of those could have come out on top.
“The key difference this year was having both Munster and Sarries but, in the Rabo, there are still eight games left and we will see how we finish.
“We have been competitive. We have won four and been beaten by a score in five. Today’s game got away from us and so too did a couple more. Compared to last year when we were pretty poor in this competition I feel we can be better, although the Heineken is what everyone is focusing on and, granted, that is not a pretty picture.”
Next up for Edinburgh are Cardiff and Bradley is hoping his side can get back on the winning trail.
“It will be difficult but we beat them in the Arms Park and hopefully we can recover sufficiently to beat them at home.”