Munster started well in front of a strong home crowd with an alarmingly easy try for Danny Barnes and an earlier penalty given them by Scottish ref Neil Paterson. After that things settled down a bit with Phil Godman making a few breaks and throwing the odd hospital pass.
Edinburgh then capitalised well on a Munster mistake and Talei broke down the blind side with Godman in support. An offload and a well-sold dummy later and Godman was dotting down for the try. The missed conversion like his earlier missed penalty was a curio, given the presence of Chris Paterson on the park with little much else to do but Edinburgh had worked their way back into the match.
It was a physical game though, and Jim Thompson suffered what looked like a dead leg that soon saw him susbtituted for Leonard who came on in the centre.
Thereafter little much of interest occured with both of the relatively inexperienced sides struggling to put a final pass together, although Munster had more of the chances to butcher. Luck or scrambled defence saw Edinburgh through to go in 13-5 at half time, when it could have been more in any direction.
In the second half Leonard took over the kicking (briefly) and missed his first chance at goal, but a misjudged Munster counter-attack off that allowed Edinburgh a sustained period of offloading that eventually saw Tom Brown touch down on the line. The TMO awarded it and Godman tried the touchline conversion. Another miss, and still only 13-10. Again you wondered if perhaps missed kicks would be the difference. As it turned out, they weren’t.
Munster being Munster they attacked again straight away and pressure on the tryline saw Jack Gilding yellow carded for a repeated infringement, followed by a series of scrums where Munster obviously were aiming for the penalty try. Neil Paterson didn’t initially oblige but instead sent Kyle Traynor to the bin instead, forcing Edinburgh to call on their reserves (and third choice front row) slightly earlier than they had planned. Still there was no danger of the depleted back division being threatened as Munster keep persisting with the scrum, and eventually Paterson went under the posts – Neil, that is.
At 20-10 even an attempt to get the ref at the bottom of a ruck didn’t harm Munster’s chances of seeing off under-pressure Edinburgh, as they upped the pressure and scored another easy try against 13 men, most of them stand-offs. The crowd responded enthusiastically and even if this Munster team were not as famous as some of the names usually on the team sheet, they seemed equally adept at defending the reputation of Fortress Thomond.
The first time I heard Sepp Visser’s name was during a TMO referral where he probably scored but footage was inconclusive, otherwise having little to do all day.
Scotland’s form player at the moment Greig Laidlaw came on to try and spur one of those famous Edinburgh comebacks with 10 to play and 17 points down and instantly shortened the lead with a converted try, but there was to be no fairy tale this time. With a bonus point for Edinburgh briefly appearing in view, Munster booted it back over the horizon with their fourth try and the win sealed.
You sense a stronger Edinburgh team with their first choice front row might have pulled off a better result as this Munster team was strong but not utterly dominant. Still, you can’t blame Bradley for focusing on Europe and resting the odd key player.
After all, that’s what Munster do.
Munster (13) 34
- Tries: Barnes, Penalty, Zebo, O’Dea
- Cons: Keatley 4
- Pens: Keatley 2
Edinburgh (5) 17
- Tries: Godman, Brown, Laidlaw
- Con: Laidlaw