Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Munster 13-14 Edinburgh

Edinburgh’s trip to Munster at the tail end of last season had been one of the darkest days for fans of the pro-team so it was with some trepidation that those same fans will have seen a trip to Thomond Park lined up as the first fixture of the new Guinness PRO12 season.

Viewing the opening minutes it was almost an unrecognisable Edinburgh side, not just on the team sheet. Tom Heathcote – in for last-minute call off Greig Tonks and in from the Bath wilderness – kicking two early penalties, and Edinburgh taking a Munster scrum to pieces in brutal fashion.

Under Alan Solomons last year Edinburgh were wildly schizophrenic but this was a much more assured looking Edinburgh, even against new coach Anothony Foley’s rusty looking Munster team.

It wasn’t all sunshine and roses – for every good break like Fraser McKenzie’s there was the forward pass by Heathcote that would put Dougie Fife over the line timed correctly. The defence looked well drilled though, and Atkins and McKenzie in the second row were providing plenty of muscle backed up by Cornell du Preez and fizzy newcomer Hamish Watson.

The complexion of the match changed a bit after half an hour when blindside Tomas Leonardi made an iffy tackle on Thomond favourite Simon Zebo and was yellow carded. His opposite number CJ Stander barrelled through Strauss and Beard from close range to bring the home side within a point and they failed to convert to leave Edinburgh with a narrow lead.

Another slightly forward pass on the other wing left Tim Visser unsure if he should run it in. He did, but the TMO chalked it off. Luckily Edinburgh had a penalty advantage and went in another Heathcote penalty to the good.

HT: Munster 5-9 Edinburgh

After half time Leighton Hodges got a bit too prominent, first sending Hamish Watson to the bin almost as Leonardi was warming up to return, then spending some time debating with the TMO as to whether or not Donncha O’ Callaghan had recklessly used his boot. It turned out he had, but the gawky Irishman stayed on the park.

Edinburgh were stung into life and some jinking runs around the tackle area by the lively Sean Kennedy created space further out. Sam Beard – who till then had been quiet in attack – put a perfectly weighted grubber behind the Munster defence and it bounced up perfectly for Jack Cuthbert to collect and score the try. Heathcote was unable to convert from out wide, but Edinburgh had scored 8 points to Munster’s 5 during the almost 20 minutes they were a man down.

Ex-Super Rugby Highlanders man Phil Burleigh was welcomed to PRO12 rugby by a swamping of Munstermen as the home side continued to press searching for a way back in, but Solomons’ men held their shape resolutely as Munster realised they were in serious danger of losing.

The only player making any serious ground for Munster was CJ Stander, and he duly dragged Munster back into the game, bouncing Heathcote away for another short range dart. Again though the penalty was missed by Keatley keeping daylight between the teams.

Edinburgh attacked with a level of confidence not seen for a year or two although in a much more direct fashion than the swashbuckling days of Laidlaw and De Luca, Sean Kennedy using his beefy pack to make ground and playing to the strengths of the oddball mix that Alan Solomons has assembled.

It was almost reminiscent of watching Glasgow, which these days is a compliment.

Keatley finally hit the mark with ten minutes to go making the score 13-14 and as the benches came on, Edinburgh started to look edgy as the home crowd grew in confidence. Heathcote and Hidalgo-Clyne both kicked from hand poorly when possession was so vital.

Dougie Fife so nearly smashed the home side’s hopes as he broke through and passed to Watson inside rather than Burleigh outside. Although Watson was having a great game he couldn’t cap it with a try and was penalised for frantically holding on. His “punishment” was to finish the game on the wing as Visser limped off and Edinburgh found themselves short of backs.

Hodges awarded Edinburgh a late penalty at the edge of Heathcote’s range with just over a minute to go, and although he missed the effort it used up enough time to see the clock to 80 minutes.

Munster threw everything at the last play, sprinting back with Zebo to the fore. It looked like a tragic end as Nel was carded for killing it with 82 minutes but his blushes were spared as Keatley also missed to allow Edinburgh the win they deserved.


12 Responses

  1. Well done, Edinburgh!

    Just a question if anyone could answer it. At the end there, Edinburgh got the penalty and Tom Heathcote lined up to take it, I kept thinking, no, no, go for a corner flag lineout as it would simply use up the time more effectively than the kick, especially as the lineout was going so well.

    Penalty or lineout?

  2. Regarding the kick at the end, maybe a lack of awareness maybe a lack of lineout faith. It was a strange one though.

    The other comment above. Totally agree. Love those chicken balls.

  3. Agree with you, I could not understand that either. Why attempt a kick on his limit, and he’d missed a couple already, knowing a miss meant the ball would still be live when a kick to the corner, line out and a few carries would have used the time up. Very dumb but they got away with it and recorded a fantastic win. Well done to Edinburgh,

  4. great game and well done Edinburgh, I thought heathcote was unlucky he eaked out that time to the last second for his kick, if it had of gone over three points and game over, with it missing they had to run from their own game line probably too much for most teams to try and recover but they nearly did it!!

    great wins for both clubs but please don’t leave us hanging on too the dying seconds like that again, my heart wont cope!!

  5. Fantastic result for Edinburgh. Just shows what can be achieved with a little hard work and determination. I wish our national team and the SRU wouold take note. So it begs the question- if Glasgow and Edinmburgh can be succcessful, why not have a borders team and one based in Aberdeen?

  6. Neil I think you should write to big business or people with big pockets in those areas as that is the only way we can get the clubs going.

    On another note did anyone watch the Glasgow game on Sky? Ref the penalty against Matawalu for an off the ball incident leading with his elbow.
    This brought about a penalty then a try for leinster getting them back in the game as at that point.

    At the time of the incident I think only the sky commentary had seen this and played it on their screens but I think it included the big pitch side screen which then the TMO ref saw and brought it to the attention of the Ref.
    Now is this a way by SKY of influencing the officials to an incident as I feel all the way through the game SKY commentary Is Leinster this Leinster that and with time ticking away they said Leinster need to get a try….then bang the incident.

    I feel It is a bit suspicious and needs looking at by someone in the Pro12 do SKY have an agenda are they looking to back some of he big irish clubs????

    1. Maybe I should write to them but isnt that something the SRU should do. After all, they are the governing body for our game. Its just a pity that they dont share the passion and drive of us fans.

  7. I find it questionable that no replays were shown for the stamping incident involving Donncha O’Callaghan during the Edinburgh v Munster game. The TMO, whom I think was Irish, said they were having technical difficulties, but then said O’Callaghan was “clearing out” and later that he had used his feet and the outcome was a reversed penalty. If the incident had been available to the ref on video replay (as was every other TMO incident) O’Callaghan would probably have been sin-binned.

  8. From memory, the ref instruction that Edinburgh/Heathcote must take the kick with time remaining on the clock came after the decision to kick. Perhaps, justifiably, with under two minutes on the clock when they made that decision, they thought they could run the clock dead prior to taking the kick? As a counter to that argument, however, the captain should have checked if there would be time for a restart after the kick – I did not hear that conversation take place.

  9. On a completely different note, and only due to lack of an appropriate thread, has anyone any thoughts on the eligibility ‘loophole’ story that is rumbling on? For those that don’t know, players who have previously played 15s internationally could potentially qualify for another nation due to the presence of 7s in the Olympics. This new route allows a player to play 7s for a new nation and thereby, after a stand-down period, qualify for the 15s. I have heard some whispers that the IRB are looking to close this loophole, but given their glacial pace on other matters it would surprise me if they manage to do that before the WC.

    There has been a fair amount of speculation that Samoa will look to bring in a number of players through this method, with 3 ABs and 2 Aussies already widely reported to be considering the switch.

    If, as expected, Samoa do bring in additional players, I wonder if Scotland are actively looking at bringing in previously-capped players from other nations to our squad. Can anyone suggest some top-class internationals that have played for other countries that may be eligible? Perhaps we should try and lure Richie McCaw to switch sides and play for us!

    1. If that is the case then international rugby will be a joke. You should be born in that country or your parents nationality taken into account. At an extreme level you could play in that country but it should be at least 8 years or so to show you love playing for that club and enjoy living in country!!

  10. to add a comment about ediburghs game on Friday night at Murrayfield, if ever there was a time to get a home win and build on the munster game then that’s was the night. But it looked like the old Edinburgh again, if your scrum isn’t working then change or better don’t opt for it..

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion