Monday 6 February 2023 Dublin: 9°C
Craig Watson/INPHO Calvin Nash celebrates Munster's third try.
# Comeback
Munster recover from sloppy start to record bonus point victory over Edinburgh
Graham Rowntree’s men have now won three on the spin.



MUNSTER’S NEW-FOUND wave of confidence was put to the test but they still managed to come back from a nightmare start to claim all five points and move back into a play-off spot in the United Rugby Championship.

A supercharged 24-point second half without reply showed them hitting form at the right time.

They will know, however, that Toulouse in the Champions Cup next week are unlikely to be as generous if they were gifted a similar early lead but the rest of the game must have done wonders for their growing self-belief.

They had been warning in the week building up to the game that Edinburgh, with all their Scotland internationals back in action, were a huge threat. The home side seemed determined to prove the point, demonstrating their potential pretty much from the kick off.

The game was only about 90 seconds old when Luke Crosbie, the Edinburgh flanker, found space to step out of a tackle in midfield and find centre teammate Chris Dean in support, to run in for an easy try.

peter-omahony-lays-a-jersey-in-memory-of-doddie-weir-before-the-game Craig Watson / INPHO Peter O'Mahony lays a jersey in memory of Doddie Weir. Craig Watson / INPHO / INPHO

Munster were soon even more up against the odds when Joey Carbery’s attempt to get the ball wide to the attacking threat of Simon Zebo was picked off by home flyer Darcy Graham. There was no catching him on a 60 metre dash to the line.

It had been a dozy opening for the Irish but the setback seemed to wake them up. The line out was providing a string of steals and the scrum, with John Ryan playing his 200th game at prop, was also looking strong.

They won a series of penalties to move to within maul range of the Scots line. Though the drive was held and split, Craig Casey spotted the confusion in the home defence and nipped in for his side’s opening score.

The Scots were still a threat, however and after Viliame Mata had made the initial thrust, they found space on the wing for Scotland Test captain Jamie Ritchie to squeeze over.

Crucially, Blair Kinghorn missed both conversions, leaving Munster only 10 points behind and that was as bad as it was to get.

That deficit was cut to three by the break as Carbery made amends for his earlier error with a sublime offload to Rory Scannell, the centre, for a simple try and with the fly half converting both scores, they were back in the game.

No sooner had they returned to the field than they were ahead, Carberry again the instigator and this time it was Calvin Nash, the wing, who popped up on his shoulder to take the scoring pass. With Carbery continuing his perfect kicking record, they were suddenly up by four.

That seemed to suck the life out of the home side and Munster soon had the bonus point to add to their bag as Gavin Coombes, the No8, forced his way over from five metres out after another spell on the home line.

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By now the Irish forwards were in complete control, dominating possession and territory to gift the backs plenty of space to work their tricks, though Edinburgh were able to keep them to a single penalty until the dying seconds.

With the result long since settled, Carbery found his way over after another period of pressure and that was that.

It was far from perfect but in many ways all the better for that as Munster’s character and confidence were put to the test and came through with flying colours.

Edinburgh: Tries: Chris Dean, Darcy Graham, Jamie Ritchie. Conversions: Blair Kinghorn [1 from 3]
Munster: Tries: Craig Casey, Rory Scannell, Calvin Nash, Joey Carbery (81). Conversions: Joey Carbery [5 from 5]. Penalty: Joey Carbery [1 from 1]

Edinburgh: Wes Goosen; Darcy Graham (Jaco van der Walt, 27’), Mark Bennett, Chris Dean (James Lang, 44), Duhan van der Merwe; Blair Kinghorn, Ben Vellacott; Pierre Schoeman (Boan Venter, 41’), Patrick Harrison (Tom Cruse, 49), Luan de Bruin (WP Nel, 41’), Jamie Hodgson (Marshall Sykes, 55), Grant Gilchrist (C), Jamie Ritchie (Nick Haining, 73), Luke Crosbie, Viliame Mata.

Munster: Shane Daly; Calvin Nash, Antoine Frisch, Rory Scannell (Jack Crowley, 57), Simon Zebo (Patrick Campbell, 46), Joey Carbery, Craig Casey (Paddy Patterson, 51); Jeremy Loughman (Josh Wycherley, 66), Niall Scannell (Diarmuid Barron, 50), John Ryan (Roman Salanoa, 67), Jean Kleyn, Tadhg Beirne, Peter O’Mahony (C) (Jack O’Donoghue, 64), John Hodnett, Gavin Coombes (Alex Kendellen, 58).
Referee: Mathieu Raynal [FFR]

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