Edinburgh V Munster
Edinburgh fell to a disappointing Heineken Champions Cup Quarter-Final defeat to Munster this afternoon as the Irish powerhouse scored a late try to progress to the final four of the competition.
In an enthralling contest, that was played out in front of a partisan 36,000 strong crowd, Edinburgh battled to final minute, but it wasn’t to be as Keith Earl’s second try of the afternoon sealed the dramatic win.
It was the visitors who took an early lead as Earls – who was eventually named Man of the Match – showed quick thinking with a tap penalty and dive over whitewash on 19 minutes.
Edinburgh struck back only 10 minutes later however as centre Chris Dean hit a sumptuous line to power over the line.
As Jaco van der Walt hit a fine penalty, the capital side led 13-10 at the break.
Munster levelled proceedings in the early stages of the second-half through Bleyendaal’s well struck penalty, but Van der Walt soon answered with a penalty of his own to put Edinburgh back in front.
Earls would prove a match winner however, and as the winger summersaulted in to the corner for to go-ahead score 71 minutes, the visitors would hold on for a dramatic victory.
Head Coach Richard Cockerill, said: “These games are so tight and it comes down to tiny, tiny margins.
“I’m proud of the way we played. It was a fantastic, attritional tough game of rugby and Munster found a way to win. We’ve got to learn how to win these games.
“I’m obviously disappointed that we lost because we came here to win. They are a great side, who’ve got great heritage, but they’ll know they’ve been in a battle today.
“We had plenty of opportunities to score, but ultimately we couldn’t get over the line. We’ll have earnt some respect this afternoon.”
In a brilliant atmosphere, it was the visitors who started the strongest with a series of slick attacks inside the Edinburgh 22m.
However, when John Barclay made a steal and break in to Munster territory, BT Murrayfield was on its feet as the home side won a pair of penalties just of the Munster whitewash.
But, it was Munster who took the lead on 19 minutes. As the visitors won a penalty at a scrum just metres from the capital side’s try line, Earls showcased his rugby IQ with a quick-tap penalty that Edinburg were too late to react to.
Edinburgh battled back and it wasn’t long until the levelling score arrived. With the hosts camped on the Munster try line, the ball was whipped wide to Dean who sidestepped over the whitewash – sending BT Murrayfield wild.
After Darcy Graham was taken out in the air – giving Edinburgh a penalty inside their own half – the hosts had their tails up and it wasn’t long before they had the lead.
Van der Walt was the man to ping over a penalty, making it 10-7 at the break.
After a slow start to the second-half, Van der Walt and Bleyendaal exchanged penalties [13-10] before a monstrous scrum from the Edinburgh pack one again reinvigorated the home support.
During a period of sustained pressure, the capital side had not one, but two chances to score in the corner through Graham and Damien Hoyland.
However, it was the visitors – who after a winning a reversed penalty on half-way – kicked to the corner – keeping Edinburgh pinned on their own whitewash.
With Edinburgh’s defence tiring, the ball was fired wide to Earls who acrobatically finished in the corner for what would be the winning score [13-17].
Edinburgh had chances – and when Duhan van der Mere muscled in to the Munster half the crowd started to believe – however when the visitors eventually stripped the ball, the match and Edinburgh’s Champions Cup aspirations were buried