Planet Rugby

Edinburgh left kicking and screaming

03rd November 2007 22:04

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Ronan O'Gara made an influential return in Munster red on Saturday as he kicked the province 19-16 past Edinburgh and to their first win in four Magners League matches.

Musgrave Park was packed out as O'Gara made his seasonal bow for Munster just over a month after Ireland's World Cup campaign was ended by Argentina.

The fly-half did much to banish his memories of France 2007, getting the Munster backline moving at pace, creating a try for number eight Denis Leamy, while his kicking haul of 14 points was undoubtedly his most important contribution.

For long periods, it looked like Munster's domination of possession and territory would amount to little as handling errors blighted their game and O'Gara's opposite number David Blair booted the Scots into a 16-13 lead just past the hour mark.

But two well-struck penalties from man of the match O'Gara, after 75 and 79 minutes, handed the spoils to a relieved home side.

O'Gara kicked them in front in the third-minute but, despite bossing the game up front, Munster had little to show for their efforts on the scoreboard.

After a Ross Rennie offside, O'Gara knocked his second place-kick off a post but Munster managed to recycle possession before Ben Gissing was found guilty of slowing up ruck ball.

Referee Tim Hayes was contemplating a yellow card at this juncture and, after Blair had levelled the tie at 3-3, Edinburgh lost hooker Ross Ford to the sin-bin as he slowed up Munster ball following a Peter Stringer break.

O'Gara knocked over the resulting penalty but Edinburgh, still hunting for their first league win under new coach Andy Robinson, levelled again courtesy of an excellent Blair drop goal.

Indeed, the Blair brothers were having quite an influence on the game with scrum half Mike having three successful throws as stand-in hooker while Ford was off.

A moment of magic from O'Gara then prized open the Scots' defence for Leamy's try.

The number 10's right-footed dink to the left corner was gathered by Leamy on the deck and the back rower's momentum allowed him to make the line.

O'Gara converted but, four minutes before the break, Edinburgh got back on terms.

Neat inter-linking between Hugo Southwell and Andrew Turnbull set up ruck ball near the right corner, and Blair spun the ball back for prop Allan Jacobsen to gleefully crash over the line.

David Blair nudged the visitors in front with a 64th-minute penalty, but the Scots' discipline ultimately let them down.

In a tense finish, Jacobsen was sin-binned for pulling down a maul, allowing O'Gara to level, and a ruck offence from Rennie led to O'Gara firing over the match-winning kick from 42 metres out.

The scorers:

For Munster:

Try: Leamy

Con: O'Gara

Pens: O'Gara 4

For Edinburgh:

Try: Jacobsen

Con: Blair

Pens: Blair 2

Drop goal: Blair

Yellow cards: Ford (22, Edinburgh), Jacobsen (74, Edinburgh)

Munster: 15 Denis Hurley, 14 Brian Carney, 13 Kieran Lewis, 12 Lifeimi Mafi, 11 Ian Dowling, 10 Ronan O'Gara, 9 Peter Stringer (c), 8 Denis Leamy, 7 David Wallace, 6 Alan Quinlan, 5 Mick O'Driscoll, 4 Donncha O'Callaghan, 3 John Hayes, 2 Jerry Flannery, 1 Federico Pucciariello.

Replacements: 16 Tony Buckley, 17 Frank Sheahan, 18 Anthony Foley, 19 AN Other, 20 Thomas O'Leary, 21 Paul Warwick, 22 Rua Tipoki.

Edinburgh: 15 Hugo Southwell, 14 Andrew Turnbull, 13 Ben Cairns, 12 Nick De Luca, 11 Simon Webster, 10 David Blair, 9 Mike Blair, 8 Simon Cross, 7 Ross Rennie, 6 Allister Hogg (c), 5 Ben Gissing, 4 Craig Hamilton, 3 Gavin Kerr, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Allan Jacobsen.

Replacements: 16 Andrew Kelly, 17 Augusto Allori, 18 Matt Mustchin, 19 Fergus Pringle, 20 Ben Meyer, 21 Phil Godman, 22 John Houston.

Referee: Tim Hayes (Wales)

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