Thursday 9 February 2023 Dublin: 2°C
Craig Watson/INPHO Munster's Craig Casey scores a try.
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Munster beat Edinburgh to consolidate Pro14 lead
They did lose a tiny bit of their advantage over Connacht, in second place.

Edinburgh 10
Munster 22

MUNSTER’s march on top spot in their Guinness Pro14 conference, and with it a place in the tournament final, continued in the wind and rain of BT Murrayfield in Edinburgh as the power of their forwards and discipline in the red zone took them through a potentially tricky encounter.

They did lose a tiny bit of their advantage over Connacht, in second place and who have still to travel to Thomson’s Park, in failing to get in for a scoring bonus point but that won’t have worried the players too much despite the frustration of playing nine minutes beyond the 80 minutes without being able to find another killer touch.

The groundwork had been done in the first half as the Munster forwards took a grip on the conflict and refused to let go, giving the Scots a lesson in how to convert pressure into points.

The home side had started brightly enough and were actually the first to get a man over the line, when Andrew Davidson, the lock, was held up, but every threat ran into a brick wall in red shirts, not helped by their own mistakes.

Edinburgh did edge ahead with a penalty from Jaco van der Walt, their fly half, but it was soon cancelled out when JJ Hanrahan landed his first kick for the visitors and when the Irish managed their first serious attack as the game approached the half-hour mark, they were ruthless in making it count.

It took several goes with penalties coming at scrum and lineout, but in the end, Jack O’Donoghue, the flanker, had space to wriggle over for the opening try and a few minutes later, they simply replayed the same set of moves, the only difference being that this time it was Craig Casey, the young scrum half, who darted round the side for the score.

With Hanrahan converting both, Munster had an iron grip on the game and with the weather in their favour, forwards winning all the big collisions as well as the breakdown battle, it looked comfortable for the Irish, only for Edinburgh to force their way back into the match just after the break.

Having failed to get their maul going before the break, they did manage it when the game restarted with Viliame Mata, the No8, crashing over to bring his side back into contention only for normal service to be quickly restored.

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Another forward drive set it up with Casey sniping to take Munster close and Gavin Coombes, the No8, finishing it off with his seventh try of the season, leaving the only significant battle whether they could also claim the scoring bonus point.

In the end, Munster failed with Edinburgh shading the final exchanges, but continuing to find it impossible to break the red defensive wall.

Edinburgh: Try: Viliame Mata (46).
Conversion: Jaco van der Walt [1 from 1]
Penalty: Jaco van der Walt [1 from 1]

Munster: Tries: Jack O’Donoghue (29), Craig Casey (37), Gavin Coombes (56)
Conversion: JJ Hanrahan [2 from 3]
Penalty: JJ Hanrahan [1 from 1]

Edinburgh: Damien Hoyland, Jack Blain, Mark Bennett (Matt Currie, 72), Chris Dean, Eroni Sau, Jaco van der Walt, Henry Pyrgos (C) (Charlie Shiel, 58), Pierre Schoeman (Boan Venter, 67), David Cherry (Mike Willemse, 63), Lee-Roy Atalifo (Murray McCallum, 53), Andrew Davidson (Nick Haining, 80+1), Grant Gilchrist, Nick Haining (Magnus Bradbury, 55), Luke Crosbie (Ally Miller, 67), Viliame Mata.

Munster: Mike Haley; Andrew Conway, Chris Farrell, Damian de Allende (Rory Scannell, 72), Shane Daly; JJ Hanrahan (Ben Healy, 67), Craig Casey (Nick McCarthy, 75); James Cronin (Jeremy Loughman, 65), Niall Scannell (Kevin O’Byrne, 67), John Ryan (Stephen Archer, 65), Jean Kleyn (Fineen Wycherley, 65), Billy Holland (C), Jack O’Donoghue, Chris Cloete (Jack O’Sullivan, 65), Gavin Coombes.

Referee: Mike Adamson (Scotland)

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