Thursday 18 January 2018

Penney joy as fringe men step up to plate

Munster 30 Edinburgh 3 Declan Rooney Pro12 League

Ian Keatley lodged another impressive showing for Munster before late tries from CJ Stander and Mike Sherry wrapped up the victory to send coach Rob Penney home a happy man from Musgrave Park.

Keatley, who kicked Munster into an 18-3 lead in a man-of-the-match display before the late fireworks, said it was the incessant chipping away at Edinburgh that broke their spirits.

"I think the pressure that we put on them took its toll in the end," he said. "We didn't really get enough ball in the first half to put that pressure on them, but in the second half we kept the ball better and put the pressure on them and managed to keep the scoreboard ticking over.

"There was a lot of good play that we didn't get rewarded from. JJ (Hanrahan) played very well with Ivan (Dineen) in their centre partnership and they mixed it up very well with their passing and kicking. I am just delighted for the lads."


After two try-less defeats at the Cork venue, Penney was thrilled to see the duo cross late on, but after international duty and injury forced him into 12 changes, he paid particular thanks to his youthful side.

"We are really pleased with what we achieved – the guys played a good brand and expressed themselves. That's what we asked them to do; we didn't want them to be inhibited by the burden, having not played a lot, but great credit to them," Penney said.

"The way they played in the second half was commanding. I don't think they had the ball in the first 20 minutes of the second half. We just dominated possession and territory and just sucked the life out of the Edinburgh boys," added the coach, whose side will hope to threaten the top four against Scarlets next week.

Yet for all their good work, Munster failed to score until the 21st minute, by which point BJ Botha was twiddling his thumbs in the sin-bin after four early penalty concessions at the scrum and Edinburgh held a 3-0 lead.

But, by half-time, Keatley had kicked Munster into a 6-3 lead and he continued his assault on the posts after the restart. And while Munster will have plenty of positives to draw from the match, the same cannot be said of Michael Bradley's Edinburgh, who barely threatened the Munster '22' throughout the game.

With Hanrahan once more looking impressive in just his second start, Munster really should have bagged a try before Stander showed his impressive speed to gather Dineen's 68th-minute kick through.

And when replacement hooker Sherry dotted down in the right corner for his second try of the season with four minutes remaining, Munster had what they deserved.

"We have slipped up a couple of times here so it was really important for us to get a win in front of the Cork supporters and the Munster people from this side of the region, because it hasn't been pretty up until now," Penney added.

"But hopefully the boys are seeing the benefit of being a little bit patient. The lads played some really attractive footie out there and you can get a result by playing that sort of rugby. It was great in those conditions that the young blokes were able to get that."

Munster – D Hurley; J Murphy, I Dineen, JJ Hanrahan, D Barnes; I Keatley, D Williams (C Sheridan 70); M Horan (W du Preez 54), D Varley (M Sherry 52), BJ Botha (J Ryan 66); I Nagle, B Holland (D Foley 70); CJ Stander, S Dougall (T O'Donnell 66), J Coughlan (P Butler 66).

Edinburgh – G Tonks; D Fife, B Cairns, B Atiga, T Brown (L Jones 77); P Francis, R Rees (C Leck 65); J Yapp (A Jacobsen 62), A Titterrell (S Lawrie 56), WP Nel; P Parker (G Gilchrist 52), I van der Westhuizen; S Cox, S McInally (H Watson 56), N Talei.

Ref – I Evans (WRU)

Irish Independent

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