MUNSTER EVENTUALLY FOUND top gear to eviscerate Edinburgh at Thomond Park and secure a home quarter final in the Heineken Cup.
Rob Penney’s men had an underwhelming first-half before trusting their forwards to pile into the Scots and make them wilt. Conor Murray sniped over from close range to add to the two tries picked up in the opening 40 minutes and Peter O’Mahony powered over to wrap up the required bonus point before the hour mark.
Edinburgh hit the front after seven minutes through scrum-half Greig Laidlaw’s penalty but home nerves were settled on the eight minute mark when Paul O’Connell’s dummy run freed up James Coughlan to score. The Munster scrum was well on top and as Edinburgh worried about the penalty try, Murray found winger Johne Murphy to score. Laidlaw tagged on a penalty to make it 12-6 at the break.
The Munster pack forced itself onto the Edinburgh line, three minutes into the second half, and Murray dived through a gap to touch down. There was a sense of inevitability to the fourth score but O’Mahony still had to bash through three black shirts to ground the ball. The decision went before the TMO but the Munster captain, and fans, were already celebrating. It was duly awarded.
Conor Murray snipes over to score Munster’s third try. INPHO/Billy Stickland
Edinburgh were completely sapped at that stage and substitute Simon Zebo was starting to have some fun. Fields of Athenry was ringing out as Munster bossed another scrum, allowing Murray time and space to pick out Zebo on the left wing to ghost past his man and dot down.
Referee Wayne Barnes denied BJ Botha what would have been a brilliant try, by calling play back for and Edinburgh penalty. Try number six was not far away, however, and a sweeping backline move was finished off by Felix Jones to give the scoreline a look of largesse.
Tries: Coughlan, Murphy, Murray, O’Mahony, Zebo, Jones.
Conversions: Keatley (4)
Penalties: Laidlaw (2)
Munster: F Jones; K Earls (S Zebo), C Laulala, J Downey (JJ Hanrahan), J Murphy; I Keatley, C Murray (D Williams); D Kilcoyne (J Cronin), D Varley (D Casey), S Archer (BJ Botha), D Foley, P O’Connell (Do. O’Callaghan); P O’Mahony (c), T O’Donnell, J Coughlan.
Edinburgh Rugby: J Cuthbert; D Fife, N De Luca, B Atiga (J Dominguez), T Brown; G Tonks (C Bezuidenhort), G Laidlaw (c) (G Hart); A Dickinson (W Blaauw), R Ford (A Lutui), W Nel (G Cross), G Gilchrist, I Van Der Westhuizen (O Atkins); C Du Preez, R Grant (T Leonardi), D Denton.