It’s cold, it’s dull, but hey – It’s Heineken Cup Saturday everybody!
So, whether you’re out and about or cosy, perched on your couch; join us for minute-by-minute coverage of Munster’s latest bout with Edinburgh.
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Edinburgh 29 – 23 Munster
13.08 – Good afternoon, rugby fans.
Are you all ready for another Munster Heineken Cup Odyssey?
Rob Penney’s side are still high in confidence after ending their losing run to Leinster last week and they’ll be hell-bent on taking all five points back from Murrayfield.
13.13 – Munster fans already in situ, getting good value from their tickets.
Edinburgh fans will arrive, but probably not enough to outnumber the travelling Reds.
13.20 – Here are your teams for today’s contest:
Edinburgh: Jack Cuthbert; Douglas Fife, Nick De Luca, Matt Scott, Tim Visser; Harry Leonard, Greig Laidlaw (capt); Alasdair Dickinson, Ross Ford, Willem Nel, Grant Gilchrist, Sean Cox, Dimitri Basilaia, Cornell du Preez, David Denton.Replacements: Aleki Lutui, Lodewicus Blaauw, Geoff Cross, Ollie Atkins, Roddy Grant, Sean Kennedy, Joaquin Dominguez, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne.
Munster: Felix Jones; Keith Earls, Casey Laulala, James Downey, Simon Zebo; Ian Keatley, Conor Murray; David Kilcoyne, Mike Sherry, Stephen Archer, Donncha Ryan, Paul O’Connell (capt), Paddy Butler, Niall Ronan, James Coughlan.Replacements: Damien Varley, James Cronin, BJ Botha, Donncha O’Callaghan, CJ Stander, Duncan Williams, JJ Hanrahan, Denis Hurley.
13.24 – Right then, 10 minutes before kick-off: prediction time. Let us know how you think Munster will fare in our comment section below.
Most of our writers yesterday fancied the southern province to go a long way this season.
13.38 – Both sides are on the field, JP Doyle is your referee for the next 80 minutes.
It looks suitably chilly before Edinburgh kick-off, but a bit of contact will sort that out.
Zebo returns a clearance to halfway, but Edinburgh claim and go on the attack.
They go through five or six phases before Munster force a turnover and Conor Murray dinks a kick over the top for Edinburgh to chase.
13.40 – When they resist the urge to kick Munster are retaining the ball well, but the set pf phases ends when Keatley badly overcooks a kick straight into touch.
Edinburgh claim the line-out and hang a kick above Zebo, he knocks on and Edinburgh have a platform.
13.41 – TRY: Munster 0 – 7 Edinburgh (Scott ’5)
The hosts go all the way from that line-out, drawing defenders right in the 22 and creating an overlap on the left. They didn’t use it, centre Matt Scott lunging for the line.
Laidlaw’s conversion cracks off the post, but over.
13.47 – Munster need a spell of possession and territory to settle things down after that score. Keatley fires a penalty into the Edinburgh 22, but from the line-out Murray knocks on with Dimitri Basilaia coming at him fast.
The scrum-half took a shoulder to the face for his troubles.
14.06 – TRY! Edinburgh 13 – 17 Munster (Sherry ’25)
13.49 – PENALTY: Edinburgh 10 – 0 Munster (Laidlaw ’12)
Munster are now two scores down after Edinburgh once again take advantage of Munster’s drift defence and advance to within 30 metres of the line where Mike Sherry is called for hands in the ruck.
James Downey is out in the blood bin, Denis Hurley is in the game.
13.52 – Munster get their hands on the ball and JP Doyle stops the play to ask the TMO about a ‘no arm tackle’ from Cornell du Preez. Seems harsh on first look.
13.53 – Well, that was a stoppage we didn’t need. No case for du Preez to answer. Scrum Munster.
13.55 – PENALTY: Edinburgh 10 – 3 Munster (Keatley ’15)
Murray peels off the back of the scrum and feeds Earls racing through the gap into the 22.
Gilchrist lies all over the wing after he’s tackled. Edinburgh only too happy to get away with a three-point concession there.
13.58 – Terrific work on the ground from Munster led by, who else, Paul O’Connell.
Murray kicks to the corner and Zebo hares off in chase to force a line-out, but Sean Cox steals the throw.
13.58 – TRY! Edinburgh 10 – 10 Munster ( Laulala ’19)
Laidlaw took his sweet time over a box-kick and Donnacha Ryan loomed over to block it down and gallop at the line. He was tripped up within five-metres but after an initial drive from Kilcoyne, Laulala sneaks under the posts to plant down.
14.02 – PENALTY: Edinburgh 13 – 10 Munster (Laidlaw ’21)
That’s a coach-killer. The hosts win a penalty directly after the restart and Laidlaw gets the benefit of the upright again.
14.05 – Turning into a frustrating day for Munster, their latest tilt at the try-line ends in a a questionable forward pass called against Niall Ronan.
15.02 – The replacement props have given a firm base to work from and Munster go wide to punch holes.
Once they reach the right, though, Edinburgh successful slow it all down and Munster go lateral again.
14.09 – Munster half way there now. The try came after Murray quick-tapped a penalty just right of the posts anc Coughlan, then Kilcoyne trucked it into contact to leave Sherry as the man to take a simple pick and go over the line.
14.12 – PENALTY: Edinburgh 16 – 17 Munster (Laidlaw ’29)
Again Edinburgh kick straight back after a visiting score. Archer in from the side.
Munster still have plenty of reserves to go to if the need them.
14.16 – Edinburgh create a mismatch out wide in the form of Denton v Earls and the ensuing ruck brings another penalty. Laidlaw is in the groove today and Edinburgh are back in front.
Penalty! Edinburgh 19 – 17 Munster (Laidlaw ’33)
14.17 – Yep.
14.19 – Much better from Munster, Keatley probes the defence for gaps and eventually finds the gap and races 20 metres upfield. Tackled by his opposite number, Keatley fires the ball back rather than allow the contest.
Munster recover chip in behind the defence so that Felix Jones can force a Munster scrum.
14.22 – After an interminably long series of scrums Coughlan feeds Murray again so that Munster can attack from left to rigth, but Edinburgh force them all the way to the corner before a knock-on ends the half.
HALF TIME Edinburgh 19 – 17 Munster
14.38 – Right, that’s our tea gulped and we’re ready for the second half.
Keatley aims deep, but the ball bounces and goes over the dead ball line. A sharp comedown from his man-of-the-match display in Thomond Park seven days ago.
14.41 – That wasn’t the start Munster needed, but since then they have been much more purposeful, attacking from deep (with Ryan at first receiver) only for Zebo to knock-on a brilliant offload from Laulala.
14.42 – Edinburgh kick clear, but Felix Jones pins them back in and Munster attack from the line-out.
The home defence is still going strong and Munster can’t quite figure out a way through.
14.46 – Laulala personifies Munster frustrations and gets a warning after reacting to Doyle’s ‘forward’ call on his offload.
At half-time, I thought Munster would slow down all processes and advance methodically, but moves are still looking forced and they are losing after 50 minutes in Murrayfield.
14.51 – PENALTY: Edinburgh 19 – 20 Munster (Keatley ‘ 53)
O’Connell (after a juggle) takes the ball into contact on the left side of Edinburgh’s 22 and Murray makes sure to point out the Edinburgh hands nipping at the ball.
Keatley with a fantastic strike from the left touch line.
14.53 – Signs of improvement at the breakdown for Munster, they win the penalty just inside their half and here come the cavalry, BJ Botha, James Cronin and CJ Stander are in the game.
15.00 – Ah, this game is very scrappy now. Time ticking away as the errors come from both sides, but crucially Coughlan’s knock non is not punished an Munster have a scrum on half way as Doyle goes back to the advantage.
15.06 – James Coughaln inexplicably delays over the ball on the back of a scrum and Laidlaw steals. Edinburgh almost give it straight, back but Laidlaw is first man to the ball again slapping the ball to force Keatley into a knock-on.
However, from that scrum Munster are awarded a penalty.
PENALTY! Edinburgh 19 – 23 Munster (Keatley ’65)
That will hopefully settle the visitors and discourage Edinburgh a little.
15.10 – We’ve not mentioned it yet, but the weather has turned very nasty by the Sky footage we’re seeing from the north sea. As you can imagine, it’s not exactly helping the amount of time being wasted at the scrum – it’s like the new laws never happened.
15.12 – TRY! Edinburgh 26 – 23 Munster (Visser ’69)
Munster are down by a score again.
JJ Hanrahan chipped the ball forward five metres straight to a black shirt and two quick passes later Visser simply had to accelerate past Earls and hop over a desperate Murray tackle.
They have 10 minutes to rescue a result.
15.11 – TMO Tim Visser races clear of Murray and Edinburgh think they have a score.
15.17 – It’s all gone pear-shaped, Simon Zebo pulls up and goes down with what seems like an ankle injury.
15.23 – PENALTY! Edinburgh 29 – 23 Munster (Laidlaw ’75)
Munster need a moment of magic to win this game now. Another shocking error at the scrum from Coughlan leads to a straightforward penalty.
15.26 – Paul O’Connell goes off his feet and Laidlaw attempts a long-range penalty to deny Munster a losing bonus.
Still alive! Laidlaw hits the bar, but Munster have to go all the way from their own 22.
15.29 – Wait, what?
Murray box kicks the ball deep.
Munster fortunately win the ball back after Edinburgh hit touch, they advance forward and cross the 10-metre line, but it all ends in tears. James Cronin has knocked on.
FULL TIME: Edinburgh 29 – 23 Munster
15.40 – So there you have it, Munster’s worst fears came to pass and all our talk of bous points is scuppered by that awful second half.
We’ll bring you reaction and analysis from the game, plus live coverage of Leinster’s trip to Ospreys in the coming hours.
Take it easy.