Munster 16-18 Edinburgh: Capital side win in Cork for first time in 15 years

Eroni Sau touches down to score Edinburgh's second try against Munster. Picture: James Crombie/INPHO/Shutterstock
Eroni Sau touches down to score Edinburgh's second try against Munster. Picture: James Crombie/INPHO/Shutterstock
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Edinburgh closed to within two points of Munster at the top of Conference B as tries from Matt Scott and Eroni Sau gave them the honours at 
Musgrave Park.

Without a win at the ground for 15 years, Edinburgh dominated much of the first half but reclaimed the lead when Sau crossed 17 minutes from time.

Edinburgh only had to wait for two minutes for their first try when Scott, pictured, stepped around debutant Ben Healy and stretched to score, with Jaco van der Walt adding the extras.

The kicker extended Edinburgh’s lead following a scrum penalty after 20 minutes, but Munster finally got on the scoreboard in the 23rd minute. Playing in his 200th game for the club, Stephen Archer popped up with a strong carry, and when tackler Bill Mata failed to roll away Healy kicked his first points for the province to trim the lead.

Seven minutes from the interval Edinburgh almost broke through the Munster defensive line off a set lineout play but winger Sau knocked on and Munster booted clear deep into Edinburgh territory. A Munster lineout and maul followed and that was halted well, but after 23 phases on the line when every home player appeared to try and drive over, Tommy O’Donnell was awarded the score and Healy levelled with the conversion.

Edinburgh had some superb maul defence from Ben Toolis to thank just before the break as Munster attacked again, but tied at 10-10 at half-time was a fair reflection of the contest.

Munster carried the form they’d found before the break into the second half and when Hamish Watson – playing his first game since he sustained a knee injury against Ireland at the World Cup – was caught offside near halfway Healy drilled over the penalty.

That was the first time that Richard Cockerill’s side had trailed in the game and they almost reclaimed the lead straight away.

The power of Stuart McInally broke the Munster defensive line and Pierre Schoeman was in support on his inside, but despite showing impressive pace the prop was stopped inches short and held up by Jack O’Donoghue’s covering tackle.

Some accurate, long kicking from Blair Kinghorn, Henry Pyrgos and Van der Walt had helped Edinburgh gain a territorial foothold in the first quarter but with Munster turning up the heat in the second period it was tougher for the Scottish side to exit.

Another penalty earned by the Munster scrum sent them towards the Edinburgh 22 in the 54th minute and following a high tackle by Schoeman, Healy made it 16-10 from the tee. But Edinburgh responded when Simon Hickey kicked his first penalty shortly after his arrival.

Watson delivered a brilliant jackal near his try-line on the hour mark which earned his side a relieving penalty and a few minutes later Edinburgh hit the lead again. With a 
penalty advantage waiting, Edinburgh took a chance and Kinghorn’s crossfield kick picked out Sau and he spun clear of the tackle to put his side 18-16 ahead. Hickey’s conversion was off target from the 
sideline.

Scott was forced off when he picked up an injury in the build-up to the try and he was replaced by George Taylor but despite the loss of their first tryscorer Edinburgh continued to press.

A lineout infringement allowed Hickey to push 
Munster right back on their try-line but they then denied Edinburgh a third try of the night with some excellent maul defence when the score looked certain to follow. 
Nevertheless it didn’t make an impact and the visitors held on for a deserved win in the south of Ireland – their fourth of the campaign.