Edinburgh fall short in Thomond Park thriller
Edinburgh were denied a hard-fought victory at Thomond Park as Munster’s CJ Stander scored at the death to win a back-and-forth encounter 25-23.
It took until 78 minutes for Munster to finally cross the line – with Edinburgh holding a deserved lead up until that point - with Healy kicking the extras to add to his six penalties on the night.
Edinburgh enjoyed a strong first half with Mark Bennett and WP Nel both crossing the whitewash, but they couldn't prevent a late rally from the home side.
Reacting to tonight’s loss, Head Coach Richard Cockerill, said: “In terms of it being an improved performance, that’s scant consolation. It’s a game we should have won and I’m disappointed we didn’t.
“We were five points up with just a couple of minutes to go and we couldn’t clear our lines. Then we gave a penalty away for not rolling away from the tackle.
“Then, suddenly, we were just five metres from our own line and we gave them opportunities to win the game.
“I expect better from this team. We made too many errors and gave away too many penalties. It’s bitterly disappointing because we should have won the game.”
Healy started his season in fine form with the boot and that didn’t show any signs of ending at Thomond Park, kicking two early penalties for a 6-0 Munster lead.
But Edinburgh recovered from the early setbacks, playing through the phases with quick ball out to Bennett, who weaved his way through the tackles to dive over on the outside.
Munster still managed to impress in the loose, however, with Jack O’Donoghue coming within inches of scoring when haring down a supposed lost cause on the visitors’ line.
The 26-year-old just missed out on getting the crucial touch but Munster were able to keep the scoreboard ticking over with a third Healy kick of the evening in 20 minutes.
Once again, Edinburgh responded well and they were rewarded with their second try of the evening, playing through the phases before Stuart McInally and then Nel made crucial carries from which the Scotland international prop crashed his way over.
A second successful conversion from Jaco van der Walt gave Edinburgh a 14-9 advantage but the home side were back to within two points at the break, Healy adding a fourth penalty to his impressive first half.
Neither side could wrestle the initiative in the early stages of the second half but Andrew Conway needed to be at his superb best to stop George Taylor from scoring what seemed a certain dry following a superb van der Walt kick.
But the visitors weren’t to be denied points, van der Walt putting boot to ball to kick a penalty and reinstate the five-point lead after of the final 30 minutes.
Healy once again kicked three points for his side though both sides were crying out for someone to take this intriguing contest by the scruff of the neck.
A sixth successful Healy penalty gave Munster the lead for the first time in the half but it didn’t last long, with Bennett taking on kicking duties as the visitors edged back ahead in the closing stages.
At 20-18, it was anyone’s game with just ten minutes to play though Healy missed the chance to put the hosts back ahead when he missed his first kick of the night.
Van der Walt, meanwhile, made no mistake at the other end to leave Munster chasing a try in the final five minutes.
And finally their score game, captain Stander burrowing over a typical forwards’ try as the Munster pressure paying off the last to level the game up at 23-23.
But it wasn’t level for long with Healy making up for his last miss to put his side back ahead with a conversion, with Edinburgh unable to battle back in a tense and thrilling contest.
live commentary 7:35 PM Saturday 10 Oct 2020
Nic Groom9. Scrum half
Jaco Van Der Walt10. Flyhalf
Duhan Van Der Merwe11. Left Wing
George Taylor12. Inside Centre
Mark Bennett13. Outside Centre
Darcy Graham14. Right Wing
Damien Hoyland15. Full Back
Rory Sutherland1. Loosehead
Stuart McInally2. Hooker
WP Nel3. Tighthead
Ben Toolis4. Lock
Grant Gilchrist5. Lock
Jamie Ritchie6. Blindside Flanker
Hamish Watson7. Openside Flanker
Nick Haining8. Number 8