EDINBURGH put their European disappointment behind them and climbed into second place in Conference B with an historic win over Munster in Musgrave Park.

Without a victory in the venue since 2004 and on the heels of last year’s 30-point reversal in Cork Edinburgh powered to the win thanks to tries from Matt Scott and Eroni Sau in each half.

“Munster, they have a great squad and tonight they easily could have won that game and with respect to the guys who took to the field it is probably their second team. We picked a strong side,” said Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill.

“We started well, but the middle 30 of the game: 10 minutes before half time and 20 after half time we were horrible really. We couldn’t string any passes together, we looked like we’d never met each other.


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“We could have been behind at half-time, but that’s the swing of the game. We controlled it, we drop a ball from a scrum, they kick the length and suddenly the crowd get behind them and the momentum comes. From that kick off they scored and we decide to go completely off script and next thing we are under pressure again.”

Cockerill’s side bossed much of the first-half but had to be happy to be level at the break, and after they fell behind after the interval Sau’s try 17 minutes from time was crucial to the win. Edinburgh only hard to wait for two minutes for their first try when Scott stepped around debutant Ben Healy and stretched to score, with Jaco van der Walt adding the extras.

Both sides were guilty of handling errors in the opening quarter – Munster coughed up their best try scoring chance with a knock-on at a driving lineout in the 17th minute – and from one resulting scrum, Edinburgh forced the penalty and Jaco van der Walt added to his earlier conversion with a sweetly struck penalty from the left for a 10-0 lead.

It is not often that Munster are so significantly outplayed in the Cork venue, but they finally got on the scoreboard in the 23rd minute. Playing in his 200th game for the province Stephen Archer popped up with a strong carry, and when tackler Bill Mata failed to roll away Healy kicked his first points to trim the lead.

Seven minutes from the interval Edinburgh almost broke through the Munster defensive line off a set lineout play, but winger Eroni Sau knocked on and Munster booted clear deep into Edinburgh territory. A Munster lineout and maul followed and that was halted well, but after 23 phases on the line when every Munster player appeared to try and drive over, Tommy O’Donnell was awarded the score and Healy levelled with the conversion.


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Edinburgh had some superb maul defence from Ben Toolis to thank just before the break as Munster attacked again, but 10-10 at half-time was a fair reflection at the interval.

Munster carried the form they’d found before the break into the second half, and Hamish Watson – playing his first game since he sustained a knee injury against Ireland at the World Cup – was caught offside near halfway and Healy drilled over the lead penalty.

That was the first time that Cockerill’s side had trailed in the game and they almost reclaimed the lead straight away. The power of Stuart McInally broke the Munster defensive line and Pierre Schoeman was in support on his inside, but despite showing impressive pace the prop was stopped inches short and held up by Jack O’Donoghue.

Some accurate, long kicking from Blair Kinghorn, Henry Pyrgos and van der Walt had helped Edinburgh gain a territorial foothold in the first quarter, but with Munster turning up the heat in the second period it was tougher for the Scottish side to exit.

Another penalty earned by the Munster scrum sent them towards the Edinburgh 22 in the 54th minute, and following a high tackle by Schoeman, Healy made it 16-10 from the tee. But Edinburgh responded when Simon Hickey kicked his first penalty shortly after his arrival.

Watson delivered a brilliant jackal near his try-line on the hour mark which earned his side a relieving penalty and a few minutes later Edinburgh hit the lead again. With a penalty advantage waiting Edinburgh took a chance and Kinghorn’s crossfield kick picked out Sau and he spun clear of the tackle to put his side 18-16 ahead. Hickey’s conversion was off target though.


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Scott was forced off through injury in the build-up to the try, and he was replaced by George Taylor, but Edinburgh continued to press.

A lineout infringement allowed Hickey to push Munster right back on their try-line, but they then denied Edinburgh a third try with some excellent maul defence with the score looked certain to follow.

Nevertheless it didn’t make an impact and they held on for a deserved win in the south of Ireland – their fourth of the campaign.