Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Edinburgh 14 – 16 Munster

Damien Hoyland evades Munster's defence - pic © Al Ross
Damien Hoyland evades Munster's defence - pic © Al Ross

Edinburgh missed a golden opportunity in injury time to record a home win over Munster tonight at Murrayfield.

With the clock well beyond 8o minutes and Munster leading 16-14, Damien Hoyland made a crucial interception in Edinburgh’s 22. Evading tackles he ran deep into the Munster half where the home side pounded the try line relentlessly for the next 2 minutes. Eventually they elected to pass the ball back to Sam Hildago-Clyne who saw his drop goal attempt charged down.

It was a thrilling end to an otherwise disappointing game. Whilst neither side showed much in the way of attack, Edinburgh made life difficult for themselves with some inaccurate passing and poor handling, and it was the half-backs Hildago-Clyne and Greg Tonks who seemed to be most afflicted with this.

The game started well for the visitors who found themselves 7-0 up early on thanks to a John Ryan try, the prop touching down against the base of the post following a free kick 5 metres out. Ian Keatley converted (0-7).

Hildago-Clyne got the Scots on the scoreboard 3 minutes later with a penalty in front of the posts (3-7), and Munster’s discipline slipped again when winger van den Heever was yellow carded for taking out Tom Brown in the air. Edinburgh were unable to take advantage of the extra man and although they tried to play with some width their accuracy often let them down. After half an hour Keatley was able to extend Munster’s lead from another penalty following a collapsed scrum (3-10).

It was not until 38 minutes that Edinburgh were able to mount their first sustained attack. They couldn’t break through the resolute defence, and after 10 phases they were awarded a penalty which Hildago-Clyne converted.

Half Time Score: Edinburgh 6 – 10 Munster

Edinburgh started the second half sharply, and 6 minutes in they scored their only try of the game; Cornell Du Preez manufactured a clever offload to Hoyland, the youngster then showed sizzling pace before the ball was shipped left through hands to Brown who stepped inside taking 3 defenders with him, this created space for Will Helu to touch down in the corner. The conversion attempt hit the post (11-10).

The Edinburgh scrum was starting to exert some control on the game at this point, and the all Scottish front row of Dickinson, Ford and Nel were doing some real damage. But it was from a penalty given for not rolling away that Edinburgh got their next points. Francis Saili was caught on the wrong side (albeit Anton Bresler made life very difficult for him to move away). Saili was yellow-carded and Hildago-Clyne added the 3 points (14-10).

Alan Solomons will be disappointed that his team were not able to push on from here being 4 points and 1 man up, but once again poor ball retention cost them field position, and this time it was Ross Ford’s turn to get pinged by the referee for not rolling away. It was an easy penalty for Keatley (14-13).

Edinburgh had a chance shortly after this to extend their lead when they found themselves deep in the Munster 22 following some good pressure. Rather than retaining the ball though, Hildago-Clyne elected to chip through only for the ball to land in the grateful arms of Conor Murray who cleared the danger, and the chance had gone.

When WP Nel was replaced by John Andress the home side scrum started to struggle, and on 66 minutes he was penalised on the halfway line. Keatley stepped up to fire over what turned out to be the winning kick (14-16).

Munster are experts at closing out tight games and for the next 15 minutes they camped themselves in their opponent’s half. In one remarkable passage of play Edinburgh ran through 19 phases but barely gained any ground.

The sin-binning of Greg Tonks 5 minutes before the end did not help Edinburgh’s cause, and it was perhaps most acutely felt in that last dramatic and heart stopping play of the game. Although the pace of the wonderful initial break from Hoyland had been lost, Edinburgh still had possession right in front of the posts. If blockers had been in place and a quicker pass delivered perhaps Hildago-Clyne would have dropped the goal. We will never know, but it certainly would have helped if the scrum-half had been able to deliver the pass and Tonks was on the field to kick the goal.

Edinburgh will reflect on this as a game they probably didn’t deserve to win, but perhaps should have. Their scrum went well until Nel went off, and Hoyland, Du Preez and Watson all came out of the game with plus marks. Ultimately though, some of the basic skills were not where they needed to be tonight.

Final Score: Edinburgh 14 – 16 Munster

SRBlog Man of the Match: Damien Hoyland was electric when he got the ball in space and was a constant threat to the Munster defence.

15 Responses

  1. The half backs had shockers, there is no other way to put it. Tonks, like Burleigh is not a FH by inclination. A good player but not in that position. H-C is a good SH, we have seen that, but must learnt not to try and force things and to concentrate on the basics, like good passing!

    Why did the Edinburgh management not manage to work out that they would struggle without a quality playmaker at 10. That was fairly obvious to the rest of us and we are not getting paid to make those calls!

  2. I realise thst the it was a wet ball, but some of the Edinburgh passing tonight was shocking.

    At least SHC took the responsibility for the drop kick with Tonks in the bin. The drop kick execution was was a horror show and the less said the better.
    Is De Ture not ready to play at 10?

  3. Load of muck.It was like watching a bunch of amateurs and the half backs should be fired. Its hard to imagine us winning any games by playing like this.

  4. I think it does show what the likes of laidlaw used to bring to the team. A lot of composure in those sorts of last minute scenarios.

  5. Made for pretty grim viewing against a Munster side there for the taking. Edinburgh may have one of the best packs out there but they are seriously short of firepower behind it. I think Tonks is a much better FB than FH but it wasn’t just him, some of the handling errors and decision making were very poor. I just worry that after seemingly having made what appeared to be significant strides forward, Edinburgh are starting to go backwards again.

  6. What a shocker!! SHC and Tonks should be ashamed of themselves. Catching and passing – how basic can you get? OK it was wet but really!!
    It was evident watching that neither were on form so why didn’t they get replaced halfway through the second half? Why not bring on Kennedy – if he’s good enough for the bench he’s good enough to play?
    OK we didn’t have another stand-off. Oh wait YES WE DID. He was playing at fullback!

  7. A shambolic and shameful performance behind the scrum. Edinburgh really need a number 10, and SHC should be binned for a few weeks after that. Awful.

    1. I was wondering about the very same thing. A good win for Glas in difficult conditions. But how angry must Toony have been to watch the stupid, stupid stunts in the last ten minutes when the game was 99% won? A gratuitous obstruction when Glas looked like they were capable of driving it all the way up to the Cardiff posts. A loony, unnecessary high tackle on the wing that prolonged the match and gave Cardiff a sniff at the end, FFS.
      Silly little things towards the end of a good performance which if repeated could cost Glas precious points in future games, including and especially the HC.

    2. Could not agree more, Toony must have been “foaming”.

      I have some sympathy with Hogg. The smart move was to let Cardiff score in the corner. He should just have hit his man and taken the consequences. Heat of the moment, not easy.

      The obstruction – what can I say. Brainless!!

      That said, 5 points away, playing poorly – not to be sniffed at.

      1. Defensively we’re weak down the right flank – Naiyaravoro keeps flying up and defending in way too tight. The likes of Imhoff, Rokocoko etc will punish us if we play Taqele from the off. At the moment he’s a smash glass in case of emergency player in these bigger matches. To be honest, I’m not wholly convinced we haven’t purchased a fast No 8 instead of a winger. Really rueing the absence of DTH right now. If Dunbar was fit, I’d be tempted to play Bennett on the wing.

        Also seriously worried what Racing’s front row are going to do to us. Whoever is at 8 is going to have to be switched in.

        Hope they play Blair and Price, as both marshall the play better. We have enough power and pace elsewhere – we don’t really need our scrum-half making breaks – just good quick, consistent ball.

    3. There won’t be one. Appreciate that makes it difficult to discuss (you can do it in here if you want to) but given we are all volunteers, there were no volunteers available at that time…

  8. It was only a small ‘dig’ Rory. It would be good if there was a space for us to discuss all the pro matches. Even if there wasn’t an article to go with it, a header with a photo would be enough.
    I don’t thnk we need much encouragent to start the discussion.

  9. Hi folks,

    I haven’t been following Edinburgh so closely this season but, I am hearing good things about Damien Hoyland. What’s the view on him? Potential for Scotland as a sub in the 6 nations? Cheers!

    1. I think he looks very promising JB. Not in the typical mold for a modern winger, but he gets about a lot, has good handling skills and no signs of white line fever. Also not afraid to tackle from what I’ve seen so far. However, Seymour and Maitland are rightly well set as our fist choice wingers. Pleasing to see that nearly all of those ‘if there was a Lions tour now’ selections include Seymour, and Maitland has been mentioned there too. And then there’s Lamont and Visser too. I think he was in the broader squad for the RWC and I expect he will do the same for the 6N. If Lamont decides to shift to 6 (you heard it here first) he might get even get in the final squad. Great to see quality youngsters coming through. Which raises the question – will we see Farndale in Edinburgh colours this season?

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion