Munster pay for mistakes

Munster 17 Edinburgh 28

There was plenty of support for this second-string side. Unfortunately, mistakes were made at crucial times and Edinburgh made Munster pay for each one.

Rested captain Jim Williams bemoaned the Munster errors. "That appears to sum up our Celtic League campaign. We have had plenty of possession in a number of games, but made too many errors and paid the price.

"It was exactly the same tonight. There were times when I felt we could win it but the ball was spilled far too often and we gave away some very silly penalties that cost us. It's hard in a sense, because these guys were back together for the first time in a few weeks. It's been a stop-start campaign and I suppose the outcome wasn't that bad considering it was against a full- strength Edinburgh side."

Coach Alan Gaffney supported that view. "We created good chances but didn't put them away. We can't complain on the basis that Edinburgh scored four tries to one, but three of them came from powerful forward play and another from a mistake. It was inevitable that we would suffer up front given the gulf in experience between the two packs."

Apart from Munster's brilliant eighth-minute try, there wasn't much to cheer about for the home fans.

Shaun Payne came from his right wing to the left and took advantage of a beautiful chip from Rob Henderson to pick up and score the opening try.

That was about the best Munster produced as Edinburgh dominated play through their pack and had a couple of chances before Alistair Hogg scored a pushover try. The signs of danger came in a couple of scrums earlier, but Edinburgh made Munster pay when they came within sight of the line.

Out-half Alistair Warnock kicked a penalty soon after and then Hugo Southwell went in for Edinburgh's second try after 27 minutes to establish a well deserved 13-5 lead.

It didn't help that Jason Holland missed a 40-metre penalty chance, but at least it seemed to spur Munster into action. Christian Cullen came into the line on two occasions and got the home fans onside after a lacklustre first-half reaction from the terraces which, given Munster's performance, wasn't a complete surprise.

Munster did have a good start to the second-half when Holland kicked a third minute penalty and added another seven minutes later.

But Edinburgh got a try in between from captain Todd Blackadder, converted by Warnock to see the Scots lead 20-11.

Holland reestablished control for Munster when he kicked a 56th minute penalty as Edinburgh lived on the offside line.

That was a source of constant frustration for Munster as they launched further offensives in a bid to cut the six-point deficit further and they managed to do so when Holland kicked penalty midway through the period. At 17-20, Munster were back in the hunt, but Warnock pushed the advantage back to six with a 65th minute penalty.

And despite a moment of hope, Edinburgh added to the lead with a try by substitute Alisdair Strokosch, when Eoin Reddan was caught in possession and coughed up the ball to give the visitors an easy score.

MUNSTER: C. Cullen, S. Payne, J. Kelly, R. Henderson, A. Horgan, J. Holland, E. Reddan, F. Roche, J. Flannery, G. McIlwham, T. Hogan, D. Pusey, S. Keogh, P. Malone, C. McMahon. Replacements: M. Cahill for Roche (54), C. O'Sullivan for Henderson (80), T. Hayes for Hogan, M. Melbourne for Malone (both 81).

EDINBURGH: D. Lee, S. Webster, M. Di Rollo, T. Philip, H. Southwell, A. Warnock, M. Blair, A. Jacobsen, A. Kelly, J. Brannigan, A. Kellock, S. Murray, T. Blackadder (captain), A. Hogg, S. Cross. Replacements: G. Perrett for Murray (31), C. Smith for Brannigan (51), A. Strokosch for Cross (62).

Referee: N. Whitehouse (Wales).

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