Munster clinch home Qtr final with Edinburgh victory

Former champions Munster clinched a home Heineken Cup Quarter final when they beat Edinburgh 38-6 with a bonus point at Thomond Park on Sunday.

Munster – who ran in six tries to their opponents none – will be appearing
in their 16th successive quarter-final of European rugby’s premier club competition.

Edinburgh meanwhile suffered another blow as their hopes of securing a consolation
place in the Challenge Cup also were shattered as Gloucester’s impressive bonus
point 36-18 defeat of French side Perpignan in France saw them leapfrog the
Scottish side in the pool.

Rory Laidlaw had an early chance to put Edinburgh ahead but he dragged his
penalty wide of the posts.

He made no mistake with a second chance a couple of minutes later but Munster
hit back immediately with a brilliant try in the eighth minute.

The try stemmed from Paul O’Connell’s brilliant take from the kick-off and
after the ball passing through several pairs of hands the ball came back to
man of the match No8 James Coughlan out on the right wing and he cut in beating
several Edinburgh players to touch down.

Fly-half Ian Keatley missed the conversion.

Munster had their tails up and a period of concerted pressure resulted in their
second try as scrum-half Conor Murray fed Johne Murphy who stepped back inside
and easily beat a feeble effort at a tackle by No8 David Denton to touch down
for his 11th try in 36 appearances in the competition.

Keatley converted from in front of the posts for 12-3.

However, the hosts suffered a blow in the 25th minute as experienced Irish
back Keith Earls had to be taken off, head bandaged and grimacing in pain as
he limped off, to be replaced by Simon Zebo.

While Munster produced the attacking play Edinburgh still stayed in touch as
Laidlaw converted a penalty in the 28th minute to make it 12-6.

Edinburgh managed to put several phases of attacking play together and were
on Munster’s line before the hosts turned over the ball and Zebo cleared the
danger.

The visitors were reduced to 14 on the stroke of half-time as flanker Cornell
du Preez was sin-binned for reckless play as he charged into a ruck head first
connecting with O’Connell’s head which required the Irish rugby great to undergo
several minutes of medical attention.

Munster pressed home that advantage in the 44th minute as Murray went over
for their third try after Tommy O’Donnell had made the decisive break – with
Coughlan also involved in the move – and Keatley converted for 19-6 and just
a try away from the crucial bonus point.

They deservedly got it in the 57th minute as remorseless pressure saw captain
and Irish flanker Peter O’Mahony went over for the fourth try despite the close
attention of Denton – Keatley converted for 26-6.

The hosts didn’t take their foot off the pedal despite getting the fourth try
and Zebo, who has missed a large part of the season due to injury, scored the
simplest of tries in the 67th minute, touching down in the far left corner after
being set up by Murray – Keatley missed the conversion to leave it at 31-6.

Edinburgh’s disarray was epitomised in the 75th minute as Wayne Barnes once
again wielded the yellow card this time at replacement prop Geoff Cross – seconds
later Zebo fed fullback Felix Jones and his momentum took him over the tryline
for their sixth try.

Keatley converted to make it 38-6.

Final Score Munster (12) 38 Edinburgh (6) 6

Scorers

Munster
Tries – Coughlan, Murphy, Murray, O’Mahony, Zebo, Jones
Pen –
Con – Keatley 4
Drop –

Edinburgh
Tries –
Pen – Laidlaw 2

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