Edinburgh edge Munster
PRO14 REPORT: Eroni Sau’s second-half try proved the difference as Edinburgh edged Munster 18-16 in Cork.
It was Edinburgh’s first win at Irish Independent Park since 2004.
On an error-strewn night in Cork, a much-changed Munster trailed early to Matt Scott’s try.
But the Irish province, who had not lost here in Cork in over three years against any opposition, fought back through the boot of the young Ben Healy and Tommy O’Donnell’s first-half try.
However, a bit of Fijian flair from Sau to get on the end of a cute crosskick from Blair Kinghorn was enough to see Edinburgh home and claim a vital win at the top of Conference B.
Munster were led out by Stephen Archer, celebrating his 200th cap for the province, but they had a nightmare start.
Healy was tossed a hideous pass from Nick McCarthy, and they conceded a five-metre scrum, from which Scott barrelled over.
Their lead was extended by a Jaco van der Walt penalty while Healy’s sluggish start continued with a pass into touch.
But the Munster scrum got to work to gain the hosts a foothold before Healy slotted their first points.
And then after 23 phases battering at the Edinburgh line before the break, some quick thinking by O’Donnell was rewarded by the TMO.
Healy again slotted the extras to make it 10-10 at the break, and the flyhalf was clearly warming to his task with a booming penalty upon the resumption.
The 20-year-old from Tipperary added another for a 16-10 lead for Munster who looked to have weathered the storm.
Pierre Schoeman went close for the visitors but for a Jack O’Donoghue tackle but replacement Simon Hickey drilled a penalty to trim the lead to three points.
However, Edinburgh were not done there and with a penalty advantage to come, Kinghorn chanced a kick to the corner and Sau juggled and gathered to go over for the pivotal score.
And try as they might, an ill-disciplined Munster could not summon a response in the final quarter and Richard Cockerill’s side held on for an impressive win.
Pens: Healy 3
Tries: Scott, Sau
Con: Van der Walt
Pens: Van der Walt, Hickey
Munster: 15 Shane Daly, 14 Calvin Nash, 13 Sammy Arnold, 12 Dan Goggin, 11 Alex Wootton, 10 Ben Healy, 9 Nick McCarthy, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Tommy O’Donnell, 6 Jack O’Donoghue (captain), 5 Darren O’Shea, 4 Fineen Wycherley, 3 Stephen Archer, 2 Rhys Marshall, 1 Liam O’Connor.
Replacements: 16 Kevin O’Byrne, 17 James Cronin, 18 Keynan Knox, 19 Jed Holloway, 20 Conor Oliver, 21 Neil Cronin, 22 JJ Hanrahan, 23 Rory Scannell.
Edinburgh: 15 Blair Kinghorn, 14 Eroni Sau, 13 Mark Bennett, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Jaco van der Walt, 9 Henry Pyrgos (captain), 8 Viliame Mata, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Magnus Bradbury, 5 Grant Gilchrist, 4 Ben Toolis, 3 Pietro Ceccarelli, 2 Stuart McInally, 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Michael Willemse, 17 Rory Sutherland, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Lewis Carmichael, 20 Ally Miller, 21 Charlie Shiel, 22 Simon Hickey, 23 George Taylor
Referee: Marius Mitrea (Italy)
Assistant referees: Sean Gallagher (Ireland), Matteo Liperini (Italy)
TMO: Stefano Pennè (Italy)