Unimpressed Richard Cockerill says Edinburgh only beat Munster’s second team

Edinburgh enjoyed a significant victory over Munster in Cork on Friday evening, closing the gap on their opponents at the top of Pro14 Conference B to two points, but head coach Richard Cockerill refused to get carried away.

Edinburgh coach Richard Cockerill. Picture: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images
Edinburgh coach Richard Cockerill. Picture: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

It was, he pointed out, a weakened Munster side and he also called for a more clinical edge from his players.

Tries in each half from Matt Scott and Eroni Sau gave Edinburgh the win at Musgrave Park, but Cockerill’s side struggled badly each side of half-time as their 10-0 lead was transformed into a 16-10 deficit before the hour mark.

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But they deserved the win and after a Simon Hickey penalty steadied their challenge, Sau’s late try gave them the four point haul and sealed victory over the side that ended their Champions Cup hopes in last year’s quarter-final. Cockerill was not inclined to celebrate such a victory though.

“Munster is a great club with great people. I’ve got a huge amount of respect for them and I’m very keen to make the point around the circumstance of this,” said Cockerill.

“I have been at Leicester plenty of times when you put a second team out and a team comes and turns you over and they’ve run round like they’ve won the World Cup and you go ‘really, is that your aspirations?’

“Well our aspirations are bigger than – with respect – beating Munster’s second team. We need to be better.. “They are a great club and one day if we work really hard we’d love to be as good as this club is. Look, we are really delighted, happy with my players they did some really good things as well.”

While Munster appeared to boss the scrum at Musgrave Park, Edinburgh will be very happy with their defensive effort, particularly how their defensive maul held up. Munster’s only try came after incessant pressure on the Edinburgh try-line for 23 phases and by and large the Scottish side looked comfortable.

“There are parts of our game that were really really good,” Cockerill added. “This is a great win for us, it’s a great four points but circumstance has fallen our way, but we’ll take it. But we need to be better, there are parts of our game tonight that just weren’t good enough with the players that we had on the field.

“However, we started really well and did some really good things. We finished strongly and we controlled that last ten minutes and we squeezed the life out of them to keep the result. So some really good parts but it’s sort of you are never as good as you think you are.”

Last week Edinburgh coughed up a lead to end up drawing with Bordeaux in the Challenge Cup and after this victory in the Pro14 they face the first of their back to back games with Wasps at BT Murrayfield on Friday.

They might have to play for that game without the services of centre and try scorer Scott, who sustained a rib injury, but other than his knock Edinburgh appear to have emerged unscathed.