Paris - Two-time European Cup winners Munster achieved their aim of securing
a home quarter-final in this season's competition on Sunday as they hammered
hapless Scottish outfit Edinburgh 38-6 in Limerick, Ireland.
Munster - who ran in six tries to their opponents none - will be appearing
in their 16th successive quarter-final of European rugby's premier club
Meanwhile, Edinburgh - coached by South African Alan Solomons - suffered
another blow as their hopes of securing a consolation place in the Challenge
Cup also were shattered as Gloucester's impressive 36-18 bonus point defeat of
French side Perpignan in France saw them leapfrog the Scottish side in the
Rory Laidlaw had an early chance to put Edinburgh ahead but he dragged his
penalty wide of the posts.
He made no mistake with a second chance a couple of minutes later but
Munster hit back immediately with a brilliant try in the eighth minute.
The try stemmed from Paul O'Connell's brilliant take from the kick-off and
after the ball passing through several pairs of hands it came back to
man-of-the-match No 8 James Coughlan out on the right wing, who cut in beating
several Edinburgh players to touch down.
Flyhalf Ian Keatley missed the conversion.
Munster had their tails up and a period of concerted pressure resulted in
their second try as scrumhalf Conor Murray fed Johne Murphy who stepped back
inside and easily beat a feeble effort at a tackle by No 8 David Denton to
touch down for his 11th try in 36 appearances in the competition.
Keatley converted from in front of the posts for 12-3.
However, the hosts suffered a blow in the 25th minute as experienced Irish
back Keith Earls had to be taken off, head bandaged and grimacing in pain as he
limped off, to be replaced by Simon Zebo.
While Munster produced the attacking play Edinburgh still stayed in touch as
Laidlaw converted a penalty in the 28th minute to make it 12-6.
Edinburgh managed to put several phases of attacking play together and were
on Munster's line before the hosts turned over the ball and Zebo cleared the
The visitors were reduced to 14 on the stroke of half-time as flank Cornell
du Preez was sin-binned for reckless play as he charged into a ruck head first
connecting with O'Connell's head which required the Irish rugby great to
undergo several minutes of medical attention.
Munster pressed home that advantage in the 44th minute as Murray went over
for their third try after Tommy O'Donnell had made the decisive break - with
Coughlan also involved in the move - and Keatley converted for 19-6 and just a
try away from the crucial bonus point.
They deservedly got it in the 57th minute as remorseless pressure saw
captain and Irish flanker Peter O'Mahony went over for the fourth try despite
the close attention of Denton - Keatley converted for 26-6.
The hosts didn't take their foot off the pedal despite getting the fourth
try and Zebo, who has missed a large part of the season due to injury, scored
the simplest of tries in the 67th minute, touching down in the far left corner
after being set up by Murray - Keatley missed the conversion to leave it at
Edinburgh's disarray was epitomised in the 75th minute as Wayne Barnes once
again wielded the yellow card this time at replacement prop Geoff Cross -
seconds later Zebo fed fullback Felix Jones and his momentum took him over the
tryline for their sixth try. Keatley converted to make it 38-6.
European Cup pool results on Sunday:
Scarlets (WAL) 20 Harlequins (ENG) 22
Clermont (FRA) 28 Racing-Metro (FRA) 3
Munster (IRL) 38 Edinburgh (SCO) 6
Perpignan (FRA) 18 Gloucester (ENG) 36
Played on Saturday:
Cardiff (WAL) 13 Exeter (ENG) 19
Glasgow (SCO) 8 Toulon (FRA) 15
Saracens (ENG) 64 Connacht (IRL) 6
Zebre (ITA) 6 Toulouse (FRA) 16
Leicester (ENG) 19 Ulster (IRL) 22
Montpellier (FRA) 24 Treviso (ITA) 6
Played on Friday:
Leinster (IRL) 36 Ospreys (WAL) 3
Northampton (ENG) 13 Castres (FRA) 3