PRO14 Quarter Final: Munster v Edinburgh

Richard Cockerill has put out the strongest possible side to face Munster at Thomond Park, with Mark Bennett and Blair Kinghorn back in the starting XV.

Stuart McInally will captain the side from hooker and his men will be determined to give a good account of themselves to cap what for McInally in particular has been a superb season. Much of the pack continues as it has these last few weeks although Allan Dell is not yet able to unseat Jordan Lay for that starting loosehead berth.

It is Edinburgh’s first taste of league playoff rugby under anyone, but having failed to turn up in the European knockout stages earlier in the season, the capital side will be desperate to make amends and perhaps even turn Munster over for a second time this season.

If they lose it must be with dignity, but they are a cussed bunch and will feel there is at least a chance of what would be a major upset. Scottish teams, after all, traditionally do better as underdogs and winner takes all games at Thomond Park don’t come more underdog than this one.

The team they will face is a huge step up from that one beaten back in March, packed with internationals, Lions and plenty of class, but the refreshing thing for Edinburgh is that having scarcely believed they would be in this position at the start of the season, they really have nothing to lose and should go out and give it a crack.

Munster: Simon Zebo; Andrew Conway, Sammy Arnold, Rory Scannell, Keith Earls; JJ Hanrahan, Conor Murray; James Cronin, Rhys Marshall, Stephen Archer; Jean Kleyn, Billy Holland; Peter O’Mahony (C), Jack O’Donoghue, CJ Stander.
Replacements: Mike Sherry, Dave Kilcoyne, Ciaran Parker, Gerbrandt Grobler, Robin Copeland, James Hart, Ian Keatley, Darren Sweetnam.

Edinburgh: 15. Blair Kinghorn, 14. Dougie Fife, 13. Mark Bennett, 12. Chris Dean, 11. Duhan van der Merwe, 10. Jaco van der Walt, 9. Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 1. Jordan Lay, 2. Stuart McInally (capt), 3. Simon Berghan, 4. Ben Toolis, 5. Grant Gilchrist, 6. Magnus Bradbury, 7. Jamie Ritchie, 8. Bill Mata.
Replacements: 16. Neil Cochrane, 17. Allan Dell, 18. WP Nel, 19. Lewis Carmichael, 20 Cornell du Preez, 21. Nathan Fowles, 22. Duncan Weir, 23. James Johnstone.

Saturday 5 May, kick-off 3.15pm – live on Sky Sport Action and BBC ALBA.

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24 comments on “PRO14 Quarter Final: Munster v Edinburgh

  1. Scott McCall on

    As a Glasgow fan, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Edinburgh win this one. If they get parity in the forwards that back line can worry Munster. Munster have a good defence so Edinburgh can’t give away the easy scores as they won’t get too many chances. Need to start well.

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  2. Neil on

    I can see 0 tries or very few tries in this game as Munsters defense is generally rock solid.
    Edinburgh while now it would be fair to say have a half-decent backline are not quite good enough to penatrate it.

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  3. john smith on

    Is it not about time Neil stopped posting his inane comments and went on a spelling and punctuation course?

    Reply
  4. JohnMc on

    Big chance for Bradbury and Ritchie to make their mark against an outstanding Munster back row. Mata is a fine player who I think will go well though perhaps has less to prove in a game like this than his two young fellow back-rowers.
    Not been much of a fan of Weir for two years now, but if it needs a drop goal to win it with 60 seconds to go then my money would be on Chuncy Duncy.
    Good luck, Edinburgh!

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  5. Alanyst on

    Really hoping that Edinburgh can do today what hasn’t been done for a while by either Scottish team…beat a big Irish team when it matters.

    A look at the league table says Edinburgh have more wins, better form and won the head to head last time (at home)…so certainly room to be optimistic.

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  6. Little Discourage on

    Really strong squad from both sides. Edinburgh would only really be enhanced by a fit Hamish Watson. God to see that of the match day 23, by my count 21 Scottish QF or on a declared path to being Scottish QF within three years. Quite a young squad too.

    Mistake to be losing Weir next season, especially for his kicking.

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    • Alanyst on

      Hard to shift the ball with 100-200kg of Munsterman on it!
      Their ‘straight over the top’ style was blatant and Owens more permissive than I’d have liked.

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  7. JohnMc on

    Disappointing to lose a match Ed could/should have won today on the balance of play. Some silly errors and lapses of concentration were very costly.
    Still, qualification for Euro Champions next season and winning the 1872 Cup were no mean feats. Club is still a big work in progress, but it’s in a much better place than before Cockerill’s arrival.
    Now getting ready to get behind the Warriors in their semi.

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  8. Stu2 on

    It was like watching Scotland of a few years ago – butchered scoring opportunities in the first half and then out with a whimper in the second.

    Still a positive season for Embra and lots to look forward to next season.

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    • Ben F on

      Dont agree, they were still in the game in the closing minutes even though they didnt believe it themselves. They went on to lose the line out, they lost belief for moment and it was gone.

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  9. Matto on

    Ending the season with a 4 point knock out deficit at Thomond is no disaster for Edinburgh consideting where we were 12 months ago.
    Plenty to workon. 2 poor lineouts heavily affected the game. Other than that momentary attempts at total rugby never quite came off. The players are there to deliver it, but they need to get into that zone where the nano-second pass sticks. It’s Bennet’s modus operandi and the other boys just need to sharpen the focus. Anyway, sad to bow out, but good effort and i hope thimgs kick off at this level next season. Good job Richard Cockerill.

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  10. James on

    Gaaaaaah! So close. But for a few mistakes that game could have been won.

    Well done boys, best season in a very long time. I look forward to seeing you build on this season with a home quarter next year and a strong showing in the European Cup.

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  11. Alanyst on

    Encouraging game overall, but disappointed still. Edi are an error or three away from being properly good…for me its not so much the error itself as the response needs sharpening up…e.g. Munster’s second came from their error but Zebo took full advantage…

    It’s a shame for Cochrane his last act in pro rugby was a poor throw.

    It would have been nice if Gilchrist had used the 3 vs 0 on his right, rather than run back into traffic.

    Munster were all over the breakdown-often literally. Edi missing their main breakdown merchants of course.

    Other notes I thought Duhan VdM and Kinghorn were excellent, and Bennett and Mata had some nice moments.

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  12. john on

    Was Hardie injured? Agree with others, lack of a specialist openside really hurt Edinburgh.
    I worry about Mark Bennett, he was wonderful but seems to be “stuck in 3rd gear”.
    Analyst beat me to it- I was roaring for the 3 man overlap to be used but the big chance was squandered.
    Interesting wee thought I had, if Hickey becomes No1 stand off, VDW could be utilised as a 2nd 5/8

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    • The Chiel on

      I wondered about Hardie – nothing wrong with what Carmichael did, but a class 7 could well have made the difference

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  13. TeamCam on

    Edinburgh should have won that: 60% possession and territory; 38 (!) defenders beaten; 550 metres made… the only stats that are in Munster’s favour are the score, lineout success and, crucially, turnovers won. Yes, Nigel had an iffy game – he let Murray kick the leather off the ball in at least one ruck, let Munster play the 9, let Muster mess around a scrum time after Edinburgh’s replacement front row had established superiority, didn’t spot a pretty clear forward pass for Earls’ try etc. – but Edinburgh lost because of a lack of composure and some uncharacteristically rubbish ruck defence which really should have been sorted at half-time.

    That said, what a turnaround from, well, ever! That experience will do them good, especially believing that they should have won that. Kinghorn and vdM were excellent, the forwards were generally really solid, the midfield and half-backs had their moments, it’s just so frustrating that they left three or so tries out there and gave away two crucial lineouts. No-one will be underestimating them next year, and they’ve a dogged determination and grit we at Glasgow would kill for. Can’t wait to see what they achieve next year.

    Meanwhile, Scarlets absolutely ravaged Cheetahs, and I can’t see the Glasgow who’ve been playing since February being much more than a speedbump, sadly. Hopefully the fact that they’re playing knock out rugby at home for a chance to be savaged by Leinster in the final will focus their minds and deliver a performance, but I’m not holding my breath. On paper it should be a home win, especially if the chaps click like we know they can, but I think Scarlets will be too intense.

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  14. Scott McCall on

    Missed a genuine 7 and the lineout faltered the two times it mattered most (try at the start and the one at the end). That Munster side weren’t great, but did well living off scraps!

    Can’t read too much into Scarlets result, Cheetahs were as bad a side as I’ve seen in the league. Glasgow need their forwards to front up and the 9/10 (whoever that may be) need to get us playing in the right areas of the field.

    Reply

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