Storylines: Munster

Storylines: Munster

Edinburgh Rugby travel to Limerick to face Munster at Thomond Park in Round 12 of the United Rugby Championship (Friday 18 February, kick-off 7.35pm) - live on Premier Sports.

These are the storylines to look out for as the capital club look to return to winning ways.

Captain Benzo

Mark Bennett has been in rampant form for the capital club this season, and for the first time ever the midfield stalwart will captain the side for the trip to Munster. The Olympic Silver medallist joined Edinburgh in 2017 and has made 62 appearances, scoring 15 tries.

The Cumnock man recently earned a recall to the Scotland squad for the Guinness Six Nations, thanks to his impressive URC form to date. The centre has enjoyed trips to Ireland in the past, earning his 50th cap for the club in a dramatic 14-15 last minute win over Connacht in March 2021, and went over for a well taken score against Munster the last time Edinburgh visited Thomond Park.

Scintillating on the field, and a leader off it, the captain’s armband is just reward for one of the club’s most popular figures.

Fort Thomond

Edinburgh face a tricky challenge at Thomond Park, up against Munster in their own backyard, where they have won their last seven matches since Connacht defeated them during last season's Rainbow Cup.

Victory in Limerick isn’t impossible, and Edinburgh have managed the feat just over seven years ago, when they were the last Scottish side to win at Thomond with a 14-13 success.

More recently, Edinburgh have enjoyed victory away against Munster at Musgrave Park, triumphing 18-16 in 2019 thanks to tries from Matt Scott and Eroni Sau.

Back-row battle

Edinburgh’s new-look back-row of Nick Haining, Connor Boyle, and Ben Muncaster will be up against the experienced trio of Jack O’Donoghue, Gavin Coombes, and Chris Cloete. The Munster trio boast 256 appearances between them, and will be a formidable unit for the Edinburgh youngsters to face.

That said, Boyle in particular impressed against Leinster last week. The abrasive forward won three turnovers – two from jackals and one ripping the ball – and was the side’s most successful and prolific tackler, completing 17/17 efforts.

Edinburgh have won the most turnovers in the URC this season, with an impressive tally of 85, and will need to continue that form against the accomplished Munster pack.

Scotland stars released

Mike Blair welcomes the release of four players from Scotland’s Guinness Six Nations camp, Ben Vellacott, Blair Kinghorn, Mark Bennett, and Nick Haining. The return of the quartet is a welcome one, with Edinburgh’s squad stretched thin with international selection and injury leaving Blair without 19 players to choose from.

Vellacott and Kinghorn have combined at half-back to produce some of Edinburgh’s most exciting attacking displays and will link up for the first time since Edinburgh’s clash against London Irish - although an injury to Ramiro Moyano forced Kinghorn to move to the wing early in the encounter.

Irish agony

Edinburgh have struggled recently against the Irish provinces, last getting a win against any of the four sides in March 2021 with a last-minute Nathan Chamberlain try against Connacht.

The recent record against Munster has been particularly tough. Munster have lost just one of their last six fixtures against Edinburgh in all tournaments: 16-18 at Musgrave Park in November 2019.

Tonight’s clash will have implications on league position, with Munster sitting in fifth, one pace and four points behind Edinburgh. A win will see Edinburgh return to the top of the URC table, however a bonus point win for the home side could see them leapfrog up to second.

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