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Foley's men bid to start with a flourish against rivals


Munster will tonight bid to continue a good winning record over Edinburgh on the opening weekend of the new league season when the sides clash for the fifth time at the outset of the campaign.

Munster have won three of the four previous opening-round encounters against Edinburgh, including high-scoring wins in each of the last two seasons.

A year ago Munster triumphed 34-23 in Musgrave Park to get their season off to a flyer and 12 months earlier they emerged from Murrayfield with a 23-18 success in Rob Penney's first competitive game in charge.

Munster's first ever match in the league was against Edinburgh and they secured a 25-22 win in Myreside in 2001 in a game where new coach Anthony Foley and technical adviser Mick O'Driscoll played key roles.

Munster have never lost at home on the opening weekend of the season, winning all five encounters. Aside from last season's win against Edinburgh, they beat Border Reivers 9-7 in 2005, the Scarlets 26-16 two years later and Aironi 33-17 in 2010, before defeating the Dragons 20-12 a year later. The latter three of those victories were in Musgrave Park, with the win over the Borders in Thomond Park.

Indeed, this evening's game against Edinburgh is only the second time that Munster have opened their league campaign at Thomond Park.

Munster have been away for eight of their 13 opening games, winning four of them against Edinburgh (twice), Llanelli and Leinster. They have gone down against Ospreys, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Glasgow away on the opening weekend.

Munster will also be bidding to avoid creating an unenviable record this evening as they try to avoid a third successive defeat at Thomond Park.

They went down 22-5 to Glasgow in April and then 19-17 to Ulster in May - they have never lost three games in succession at Thomond Park in the professional era.

Edinburgh, meanwhile, have only won once in their last 23 visits to Ireland since 2009, defeating Connacht 24-23 two years ago.

The Scots have not beaten Munster in the league since winning 29-14 in Murrayfield three years ago.

Irish Independent