Munster move to the URC summit after narrow Edinburgh win

Jack Crowley’s penalty hands Munster the spoils in a bonus point display in the Scottish capital

URC: Edinburgh 26 Munster 29

For the time being Munster are at the top of the URC table after achieving a hard won, but nevertheless, deserved victory over an Edinburgh side fighting to stay in the top eight. Ultimately, Munster’s try advantage of 4-2, which secured the bonus point, was the telling statistic, and underlined the class of playmaker Jack Crowley who was voted man of the match.

Edinburgh were hugely indebted to the goal kicking of former Munster hero Ben Healy, who kicked sixteen points for the capital side, his first half efforts helping his team to a 16-12 half-time lead. Although Edinburgh fought heroically and took Munster to the wire, they simply did not have the overall firepower to really threaten the reigning URC champions.

Munster looked hungry straight from the kick-off but should have made more of an early siege on the Edinburgh line that faltered only when the ball was shifted wide to the backs. The visitors were again thwarted in the home red zone by Pierre Schoeman ripping the ball and then triggering a counter attack culminating with a long territory-gaining kick by Mark Bennett which forced a five metre scrum.

From this advantageous position Edinburgh, failed to cross their opponents’ line but the home side was still able to come away with points from a penalty by the former Munster favourite Healy, who then added a further three points when the Scottish side won a scrum penalty.


Munster quickly responded with excellent handling that looked to have put Gavin Coombes en route for a try only for the big number eight to be hit by a heroic saving tackle from James Lang. It was only a temporary reprieve for Edinburgh, as Munster, again showing slick handling skills, struck with a try by Antoine Frisch, the French-born centre collecting his own kick to score in the corner.

Almost immediately, Edinburgh replied with a third penalty from Healy and then stretched their lead with a try by Mark Bennett after a clever grubber kick from the centre and some speed of thought when the ball went loose.

Healy’s conversion gave Edinburgh an 11-point lead but that gap was soon diminished after a period of intense pressure by Munster on the home side’s line that ended with a quick release of the ball to the backs and a second try for Frisch, ably converted by Crowley to leave his side just four points adrift at the break.

If Munster had come up short in the first half then they atoned immediately after the break from a scrum close to the Edinburgh line that gave the visitors a chance to work a training ground move producing a try and conversion for Crowley. This gave the visitors the lead for the first time in the game, only for Healy to kick a fourth penalty, levelling the scores at 19-19.

Munster made several changes and straightaway the replacements made an impact. Edinburgh appeared to have survived pressure on their line but a needless penalty given away by Bill Mata allowed Coombes smashed over from close range for the bonus point try, leaving Crowley with a simple conversion kick.

Edinburgh too dipped into the bench and looked to have profited from fresh legs when they pounded the Munster line. In the process, Conor Murray, who had replaced the injured Alex Nankivell, was carded for going off his feet when defending the line.

A try by replacement prop Boan Venter and the conversion by Healy again levelled the scores but in a dramatic finish, when both sides failed to get the ball over the line from close range, Crowley’s late penalty saw the visitors emerge winners - deservedly so.

Edinburgh: W Goosen; M Currie, M Bennett, J Lang, D van der Merwe; B Healy, B Vellacott; P Schoeman, E Ashman, W Nel; S Skinner, G Gilchrist; J Ritchie, H Watsons, V Mata.

Replacements: D Cherry for Ashman (59 mins), B Venter for Schoeman (59 mins), J Sebastian for Nel (59 mins), M Sykes for Skinner (63 mins), L Crosbie for Watson (63 mins), A Price for Vellacott (62 mins), C Scott for Lang (73 mins), C Dean for Bennett (73 mins).

Munster: M Haley; C Nash, A Frisch, A Nankivell, S Daly; J Crowley, Craig Casey; J Loughman, N Scannell, O Jager; F Wycherley, T Beirne; J O’Donoghue, A Kendellen, G Coombes.

Replacements: E Clarke for Scannell (65 mins), M Donnelly for Loughman (58 mins), J Ryan for Jager (50 mins), RG Snyman for Wycherley (43 mins), T Ahern for Kindellen (50 mins), C Murray for Nankivell (65 mins), R Scannell for Haley (24 mins), B Gleeson for Coombes (70 mins).

Referee: Gianluca Gnecchi (Italy)