Sunday 16 December 2018

Van der Merwe double sinks Munster

Edinburgh 12 Munster 6

Munster's Sammy Arnold is tackled by Mark Bennett of Edinburgh during the match at Murrayfield. Photo: Kenny Smith/Sportsfile
Munster's Sammy Arnold is tackled by Mark Bennett of Edinburgh during the match at Murrayfield. Photo: Kenny Smith/Sportsfile

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Munster came to BT Murrayfield intent on adding to their Conference A points total but at the end of a hard slog for the visitors, the men in red had to be content with a losing bonus point.

Munster's dogged forward play had the home pack on the back foot at times but Edinburgh eventually stamped their personality on the game with two tries by winger and man of the match Duhan van der Merwe to achieve a deserved win.

In bitterly cold conditions, Edinburgh made a hot start, putting Munster under pressure for a prolonged four-minute spell that looked to have ended with a score when No 8 Bill Mata burst free from a ruck to touch down.

But much to the displeasure of the home crowd, referee Ben Whitehouse chalked off the score for a technical offence. Having defended staunchly, Munster then revealed their strength with driving mauls and a pick-and-drive play that ended with a JJ Hanrahan penalty goal.

Munster's JJ Hanrahan a penalty. Photo: Kenny Smith/Sportsfile
Munster's JJ Hanrahan a penalty. Photo: Kenny Smith/Sportsfile

mettle Munster came close to extending their lead when replacement Dan Goggin had a tilt at the line, only for the Edinburgh defence to be on their mettle. Then with the game beginning to look a tad stodgy, Edinburgh's full-back Dougie Fife opted to run out of defence, his searing run creating a try for Van der Merwe to give the Scots a 5-3 interval advantage.

Edinburgh should have made more of a dynamic start to the second half only to be thwarted on the visitors' line by the sheer strength of the Munster forwards. Then from a break-out on his own line by Robin Copeland, Munster gained field position and when Edinburgh were penalised at the breakdown, Hanrahan kicked his second penalty goal to take a 6-5 lead.

Then when Jason Harries was sent to the sin-bin for a dangerously high tackle, Edinburgh were reduced to 14 men.

But their reduction in numbers acted only as a spur to attack. It looked as though their positive approach had paid off when Fife touched down.

Referee Whitehouse incurred further crowd ire by calling a forward pass but from a subsequent scrum Edinburgh launched a series of forward drives before sending the ball wide for Van der Merwe to claim his second try, this time converted by Jaco van der Welt.

Edinburgh - D Fife; J Harries, M Bennett, C Dean, D van der Merwe; J van der Walt (Weir 60) S Hidalgo-Clyne (N Fowles 9); J Lay (R Sutherland), N Cochrane (C Fenton 73), M McCallum (S Berghan 46) F McKenzie, B Toolis, M Bradbury, J Hardie, V Mata (Du Preez 44).

Munster head coach Johann van Graan. Photo: Kenny Smith/Sportsfile
Munster head coach Johann van Graan. Photo: Kenny Smith/Sportsfile

Munster - S Zebo (B Johnston h-t); D Sweetnam, S Arnold, R Scannell, A Wootton (D Goggin 30); JJ Hanrahan, J Hart (J Stafford ); J Cronin (D Kilcoyne 49), M Sherry (K O'Byrne 68), S Archer (B Scott 68 ), J Kleyn (D O'Shea 52) W Holland, J O'Donoghue, C Oliver (T O'Donnell 52), R Copeland.

Ref - Ben Whitehouse (Wales)

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