Munster victory keeps the pressure on
February 19, 2010
Marcus Horan scored one of Munster's tries in Cork
© Getty Images
Munster kept the pressure on Magners League leaders Glasgow with a 19-12 victory over Edinburgh at Musgrave Park on Friday.
Recalled prop Marcus Horan and replacement Scott Deasy claimed tries for the home side, while Edinburgh could muster only three penalties and a drop-goal from fly-half David Blair.
The home side struggled early on and lost Donnacha Ryan, Paul Warwick and Niall Ronan to injury after 15 minutes. Academy pivot Deasy stepped from the replacements bench to replace Warwick and despite missing five shots at goal, he sealed victory for the reigning champions with a well taken second-half try.
Blair's penalties had given the visitors a 12-8 lead at the start of the second-half as the Munster lineout malfunctioned. Deasy's try calmed the home side's nerves and helped them to a vital victory in the pursuit for a play-off place.
Horan struck for the opening try after Blair had chipped over a drop-goal, capitalising on a strong break from wing Ian Dowling. Blair hit back with a penalty after Deasy missed the conversion, but his Munster counterpart found his range with a penalty to restore their cushion.
Blair gave his side a one-point lead at the break with his third penalty and extended the advantage after Alan Quinlan was sin-binned for a ruck infringement. Deasy slotted a penalty minutes later, having missed a brace at the beginning of the half, and secured the game's vital try when he latched on to his own chip to score.
The conversion was wide and centre Lifeimi Mafi saw yellow for taking out a support runner as Munster dug deep in defence, their 14 men doing enough to secure the spoils.
Edinburgh boss Rob Moffat took a number of positives from the game but lamented their lack of second-half possession as Munster took the game by the scruff of the neck.
"The difference is that Munster probably have a better understanding about how to grind out a result," he said. "There was a period of about 15 minutes when we struggled to get hold of the ball which decided the game when Munster got their try. That try and penalty made the difference in the end.
"At that point, we were stuck around our own 10-metre line, but we responded well and kept going until the final whistle. I thought we had a good go at them and two or three times we came close to scoring a try. But games at this level are won or lost by very small margins and unfortunately on this occasion we ended up on the losing side."
Huw Richards profiles French forward Walter Spanghero, a man who even rugby's hard men thought was a tough nut
"To be part of the Commonwealth Games, I'd wear anything. I'd wear a clown suit." Tom Hamilton talks to Scotland's Sean Lamont
Scrum Sevens looks back at how rugby has fared in both the early Olympics and the past four Commonwealth Games
"Cheika's been phenomenal. He gives you an incredible level of mental strength." Tom Hamilton talks to Waratahs star Jacques Potgieter