Munster Rugby v Edinburgh
Edinburgh can hold their heads high, despite crashing out of the Guinness PRO14 Final Series, after pushing Irish powerhouse Munster to the final play in this afternoon’s encounter in Limerick.
With only four-points in it, and a lineout secured in Munster territory with time expiring, Edinburgh came up just short, meaning it is the Thomond Park outfit who progress to the Semi-Finals.
Munster – who held a one-point lead at the break – jumped out to a 17-6 lead early in the second-half, but Edinburgh came racing back via replacement Nathan Fowles slick score.
With the stars aligning, and a lineout in Munster territory, it appeared Edinburgh would pull off the unthinkable, but it was not to be.
Speaking after the defeat, Head Coach Richard Cockerill was left proud of his side’s efforts and believes his squad are in strong position heading into next season’s competition.
“Who’d have thought it? The mighty Munster against lowly Edinburgh and we’re in the mix at the death,” the head coach reflected.
“I’m proud of the performance. Some good sides have come here and lost by a hat full. We were in the contest and were good enough to win that game, but we made some errors at critical times.
The players should take the credit because that was one hell of a performance and actually we probably played the better rugby. They were delighted to win which shows the respect they have for us.
It was the hosts who shot out to an early lead after Edinburgh overthrew a lineout on their own twenty-two. With Rhys Marshall on hand to mop up, the hooker was able to power over from only metres out with ease. JJ Hanrahan converted to put his side seven-points to the good.
Edinburgh shot back into the match through the advances of Blair Kinghorn and Mark Bennett, and when Hidalgo-Clyne slotted home a simple penalty, it was game on.
Edinburgh’s backline continued to purr, and when Hidalgo-Clyne once again nailed a three-pointer, the visitors were back within a point of Munster.
Kinghorn once again propelled himself through a gap, bringing Edinburgh within inches of a go-ahead score, but Munster defended well to keep it 7-6 at the break.
Much like the first-half, Edinburgh conceded within the opening stages of the encounter. Simon Zebo’s piece of brilliance sprung open the visitor’s drift defence, and when the ball was fed out wide to Keith Earls, the winger had the simple task of sliding in the corner.
The hosts would extend their lead via the boot of Hanrahan to make it 17-6, but Edinburgh answered back with a brilliantly worked score.
After being put in space out wide, Kinghorn galloped into Munster territory before being dragged down by the last defender. With the ball quickly recycled, replacement scrum-half intelligently picked and then darted over the whitewash to drive his side back into the contest.
Munster rallied, and when Hanrahan converted yet another penalty, it was a four-point game heading into the final ten minutes.
Edinburgh would not be denied, however, and when Munster were penalised with 80 minutes on the clock, Duncan Weir kicked deep to bring his side within touching distance of the Munster try-line.
But - with one last lineout needing secured, Munster spoiled; leaving Edinburgh dreaming of what could have been