Tuesday November 29, 2011

Munster's Kids Lead The Charge

Munster's young gun Danny Barnes is tackled by James King and Netani Talei of Edinburgh (INPHO)

RaboDirect PRO12: Munster 34 Edinburgh Rugby 17

Munster put an end to Edinburgh's three-match winning run as the province's youngsters came to the fore at Thomond Park.

Centre Danny Barnes, 22, crossed for his fourth try in this season's RaboDirect PRO12, and 21-year-old wing duo Simon Zebo and Luke O'Dea also touched down.

Edinburgh could not survive after having props Jack Gilding and Kyle Traynor sin-binned in the second half - they duly leaked a penalty try as Munster went on to claim a deserved bonus point.

Replacement Greig Laidlaw grabbed a converted try to close the gap back to 27-17, but debutant O'Dea settled the issue with the hosts' fourth and final try.

Munster out-half Ian Keatley drew his first penalty attempt across the posts from 38 metres out, but it was his clever switch of attack that created the opening for the first try.

He darted out to the left, linking with man-of-the-match Denis Hurley who broke through the first line of defence and passed in good time for Barnes to finish off the move.

Keatley turned it into a seven-pointer and his opposite number Phil Godman, following Edinburgh's first concerted attack, was narrowly wide with his opening shot at the posts.

But Keatley turned villain when his loose kick was gobbled up by Gilding and he swiftly set Netani Talei off on a powerful run over halfway.

Munster got back to bring the big Fijian down but his clever offload put Godman over in the left corner for a try against the run of play.

Godman's missed conversion was followed by an even spell, Edinburgh threatening from long range whereas Munster had the better of territory and worked through the phases.

The home forwards built up a head of steam, led by captain Mick O'Driscoll, and Keatley fired over a close range penalty after missing one from further out.

The one-way traffic continued as the home pack patiently gained ground, yet Will Chambers held onto the ball too long when an overlap presented itself on the right.

Paddy Butler was unfortunate to knock on as the ball squirted out of an Edinburgh ruck close to their try-line, but the Scots survived until Keatley landed his second successful penalty to leave it 13-5 at the break.

The 19-year-old Harry Leonard, introduced for the injured Jim Thompson, was off target with a monster penalty from the left, but Edinburgh did manage to pick up the first points of the second period.

They attacked down the left and although O'Dea succeeded in bringing down the advancing Tom Brown, the Edinburgh winger's momentum helped him stretch for the line. Television match official Jude Quinn confirmed the grounding.

Godman's missed conversion left Munster with a three-point lead and their forwards turned up the heat at scrum time, after a bulldozing midfield run from Zebo.

Edinburgh had tighthead Gilding sin-binned for slowing up ruck ball and on the back of a series of five-metre scrums, Traynor joined him in the sin-bin for dropping his bind.

At the next scrum, Munster marched over the line and Stuart McInally coughed up the penalty try as he broke early in trying to stop Butler from scoring.

Keatley added the extras to put 10 points between the sides who were both much-changed from their European adventures. Munster's confidence was up and Chambers drew in two defenders to put Zebo over for try number three.

Keatley converted but Edinburgh, restored to 15 men, responded in impressive fashion. Sep Visser was held up over the line before Laidlaw took advantage of Chambers' slip to glide over by the posts.

But Shannon clubman O'Dea had the final say, dotting down Keatley's finely-judged kick for the right corner as Munster climbed into third place ahead of next weekend's trip to the table-topping Ospreys.

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