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Home draw is credit to lads: Penney

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Munster captain Peter O'Mahony is congratulated. Photo: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE

Munster captain Peter O'Mahony is congratulated. Photo: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE

Munster captain Peter O'Mahony is congratulated. Photo: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE

MUNSTER head coach Rob Penney said securing a home Heineken Cup quarter-final was 'massive' for his team as they coasted to a 38-6 bonus-point win over Edinburgh at Thomond Park.

Having led 12-6 at the break, Penney's charges went on to dominate the second half, with tries from Conor Murray and captain Peter O'Mahony – allied to closing scores from Simon Zebo and Felix Jones – ensuring they will host Toulouse in Limerick in early April.

Penney's men gained revenge for their first-round defeat at Murrayfield.

Man-of-the-match James Coughlan and Johne Murphy touched down in a first half which ended 12-6 in Munster's favour, with Edinburgh flanker Cornell du Preez seeing yellow in injury-time.

Two Greig Laidlaw penalties kept Edinburgh in the hunt for an Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-final place, but those hopes faded as Munster registered their bonus point by the 57th minute.

Munster seem to save some of their best rugby for round six, as this was their fourth successive bonus-point success at this stage – adding to wins in previous years over London Irish, Northampton Saints and Racing Metro 92.

Penney said he was pleased for Munster's supporters that their 15th quarter-final appearance in 16 seasons would be at Thomond Park.

"One of the things we spoke about was our magnificent supporters, who follow us around Europe and everywhere we go," said the New Zealander.

"For the lads, it was a small reward for them to be able to come and watch us here at home, for the season ticket holders to be able to come and watch them play at Thomond Park.

"As a cauldron, it is a very difficult place for any team to come and play. To have that opportunity to play one more European Cup game on our home ground is great – wonderful reward for the lads' efforts."

Penney was admittedly pleased with the manner in which his side refused to get distracted by the fact they knew a bonus-point victory was what was required before yesterday's round six clash with the Scots.

"We were really focused on getting the job done in a really professional way, which was a great sign.

"Knowing what was needed beforehand could have been a distraction. It is a great credit to the lads that they just went about their task and focused on being in one moment at a time and just doing the job."

MUNSTER winger Keith Earls is considered a major doubt for the opening clash of Ireland's Six Nations campaign, against Scotland, after injuring his knee in the first half of yesterday's victory over Edinburgh.

The Limerick man was due to have a scan on the injury today as he joined up with the Ireland squad at their base outside Maynooth and is in a race to be fit for the first outing of Joe Schmidt's side at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday week.


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