Munster run riot against Edinburgh
October 21, 2012
Damien Varley secured the bonus point try for Munster
© Getty Images
Munster turned in a spectacular second-half performance to dispatch Edinburgh 33-0 at Thomond Park on Sunday.
A late forwards-led flurry saw Peter O'Mahony, Sean Dougall and Damien Varley all touch down as the hosts seized upon an unlikely bonus point. With the injured Ronan O'Gara watching on from the stands, his deputy Ian Keatley landed two penalties from four attempts to give the hosts a 6-0 interval lead.
There was more for the home crowd to get their teeth into in the second half, with Conor Murray's 51st-minute try giving Rob Penney's side some breathing space. Hammered 45-0 at home by Saracens in the opening round, Edinburgh allowed their heads to drop and Munster took advantage late on as they ended a run of three straight defeats.
Keatley, making his first Heineken Cup start at outside-half, slotted a fourth-minute penalty to settle the early nerves. Casey Laulala's bone-crunching hit on Lee Jones stemmed Edinburgh's attempts to respond, although Stuart McInally and David Denton carried well in a rare energetic spurt from the Scots.
An unfavourable bounce thwarted Donncha O'Callaghan as he tried to gather a cross-field kick from Keatley and from the resulting scrum, Netani Talei was smashed back over the try-line by a red wave. Munster kept their foot on the gas, however Keatley slid a kickable penalty wide and Greig Tonks was rock-solid in his positioning and high fielding.
A second three-pointer from Keatley doubled Munster's lead as the penalty count and an erratic line-out began to hurt Edinburgh. Under the cosh and starved of possession, Michael Bradley's men dug their heels in and remained within a converted try as Keatley sent a long-range penalty wide. Munster's frustration was obvious as half-time loomed, with their lack of cutting edge, coupled with Edinburgh's scramble, making for plenty of midfield gridlock.
A couple of handling errors ruined promising Munster moves, early in the second period, but their persistence paid off when man-of-the-match Murray broke through under the posts. The tall scrum-half spotted his opportunity, surging around the side of a ruck and he got enough downward pressure as he grounded the ball with three Edinburgh players in tow. Keatley converted the try which television match official Geoff Warren rubber-stamped, and followed up with a neatly-taken third penalty into the swirling wind.
Edinburgh were toothless in attack and never looked like scoring for the second week running. Their cause was not helped by the loss of Gregor Hunter who came off worse when attempting to tackle James Downey. A bad run of injuries, including Tim Visser's enforced withdrawal yesterday, left Edinburgh looking a shell of the side that reached last season's semi-finals.
Having struggled to score when taking the ball out wide, Munster went back to basics for the closing stages and it worked a treat against their tiring opponents. A muscular line-out drive, a tactic so profitable in the past in Limerick, sent the Scots backwards and number eight O'Mahony wrestled over from a metre out. Keatley converted for a 23-0 scoreline.
Soon after, Dougall grabbed his second try of the tournament when finishing off in the right corner after replacement Paddy Butler had blazed over halfway. Munster kept plugging away for the fourth try and it arrived in the first minute of injury-time - Keatley kicked a penalty to the right corner and the last-gasp line-out drive sent Varley charging in, despite calls for obstruction from the visitors.
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