Munster race past Edinburgh
MATCH REPORT: Munster produced a storming fightback to claim a bonus-point 38-17 victory away to Edinburgh in their United Rugby Championship Round Nine encounter on Friday.
The hosts were on top for most of the first half and led 12-0 and 17-7, but they collapsed in the second half as the Irish province scored 31 unanswered points to claim a well-deserved win.
There was an emotional minute’s applause before kick-off as a tribute to former Scotland international Doddie Weir, who lost his battle with motor neurone disease last weekend.
Edinburgh – with most of their internationals back after the year-end Tests – wasted little time finding their stride and went ahead with just two minutes on the clock when Chris Dean raced in behind the posts after being fed by Luke Crosbie. Blair Kinghorn made no mistake with the kick.
The hosts spent much of the early stages on the front foot and in the 15th minute rampant winger Darcy Graham – fresh from his hat-trick for Scotland against Argentina a fortnight ago – intercepted a pass just inside his own half and dashed clear down the right to score his ninth URC try of the season. Kinghorn saw his conversion attempt come back off the post.
Having fallen 12 points behind, Munster started to come to life and they got themselves back in the game in the 24th minute when Craig Casey forced his way over after a sustained spell of pressure. Joey Carbery was successful with the conversion.
Edinburgh’s early momentum was further disrupted in the 27th minute when Graham had to go off injured, replaced by Jaco van der Walt.
But the hosts regained their poise and stretched their lead in the 37th minute when Scotland captain Jamie Ritchie spun away from a couple of tackles wide on the right and touched down after good play by Dean and Kinghorn to set him up. Kinghorn was off target with the conversion.
Munster reduced their deficit to just three points in the last action of the half, however, when Rory Scannell found a gap in the Edinburgh defence to bound over from close range and Carbery made no mistake with the conversion.
The visitors got themselves in front for the first time just two minutes into the second half when Calvin Nash burst gleefully between the posts, with Carbery again converting.
After a dominant start to the second half, Munster – who had trailed 17-7 towards the end of the first half – went 11 points in front after 53 minutes when Gavin Coombes forced his way over the line and Carbery added the extras.
Carbery then took the score to 31-17 when he continued his immaculate kicking to send a penalty between the posts in the 64th minute. And the number 10 capped off a fine night for himself when he scored a try and then converted in the very last action of the night.
Tries: Dean, Graham, Ritchie
Tries: Casey, Scannell, Nash, Coombes, Carbery
Cons: Carbery 5
Edinburgh: 15 Wes Goosen, 14 Darcy Graham, 13 Mark Bennett, 12 Chris Dean, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Blair Kinghorn, 9 Ben Vellacott, 8 Villame Mata, 7 Luke Crosbie, 6 Jamie Ritchie (cc), 5 Grant Gilchrist (cc), 4 Jamie Hodgson, 3 Luan de Bruin, 2 Patrick Harrison, 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Tom Cruse, 17 Boan Venter, 18 WP Nel, 19 Marshall Sykes, 20 Nick Haining, 21 Charlie Shiel, 22 Jaco van der Walt, 23 James Lang.
Munster: 15 Shane Daly, 14 Calvin Nash, 13 Antoine Frisch, 12 Rory Scannell, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 Joey Carbery, 9 Craig Casey, 8 Gavin Coombes, 7 John Hodnett, 6 Peter O’Mahony (captain), 5 Tadhg Beirne, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 John Ryan, 2 Niall Scannell, 1 Jeremy Loughman.
Replacements: 16 Diarmuid Barron, 17 Josh Wycherley, 18 Roman Salanoa, 19 Jack O’Donoghue, 20 Alex Kendellen, 21 Paddy Patterson, 22 Jack Crowley, 23 Patrick Campbell.
Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)
Assistant referees: Ian Kenny (Scotland), Ross Ma bon (Scotland)
TMO: Philippe Bonhoure (France)