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Munster edge dour encounter

15th February 2008 21:23

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Rua Tipoki is swamped by the fans

Full of Smiles: Tipoki and his team-mates were chuffed with the win

Munster continued their push up the Magners League with a close-fought 11-7 victory over Edinburgh at Murrayfield on Friday.

The Gunners had been on course for a narrow-but-nervy success when scrum-half Ben Meyer pounced for an opportunist score. But Munster lock Donnacha Ryan powered over for the late try that mattered most.

Edinburgh made the brighter start - however there was gloom in the ranks as they squandered a golden opportunity to draw first blood.

Slick interplay featuring Phil Godman and John Houston set up a ruck close to the Munster danger zone and they were pressured into giving away a penalty.

The ball was teed up dead in front of the target at less than 30 metres range, but Godman watched in anguish as it slid past the post.

Possession and territory were pretty even in the opening half hour with virtually all the action being confined to the expanse between the 22 areas.

Defences held the upper hand with both sides putting in some awesome thumps.

Godman was back in the spotlight in the build up to the break when he was handed another chance to edge the Gunners in front.

The kick was from longer range and at an angle, however it suffered the same fate as the first effort and again Munster were off the hook.

Even worse was to come for the stand-off just two minutes later when attempt number three also drifted agonisingly wide.

Then in stoppage time, Munster were reduced to 14 men as winger Ian Dowling was sin binned.

Unsurprisingly Godman opted to set up a line-out instead of going for goal - but the Gunners could not finish. Edinburgh suffered three further setbacks after the restart.

First, winger Roland Reid was yellow carded for a dangerous tackle on All Black Doug Howlett - then Munster's Paul Warwick showed Godman how it is done by slotting the penalty which edged his side in front.

Warwick was spot-on again to punish the Gunners when they were guilty of handling in a ruck.

The contest burst wide open 15 minutes from time.

Meyer seemed to lose grip of the ball, but regained his composure to dash through a half gap - giving Godman a formality of a conversion. But then came Ryan's clincher for the Irish brigade.

The Scorers:

For Edinburgh:

Try: Meyer

Con: Godman

For Munster:

Try: Ryan

Pens: Warwick 2

Yellow Cards: Ian Dowling (Munster - 40th minute), Reid (Edinburgh - 48th minute).

The Teams:

Edinburgh: 15 Hugo Southwell, 14 Andrew Turnbull, 13 Ben Cairns, 12 John Houston, 11 Roland Reid, 10 Phil Godman, 9 Ben Meyer, 8 Allister Hogg (c), 7 Ross Rennie, 6 Alan MacDonald, 5 Craig Hamilton, 4 Matt Mustchin, 3 Gavin Kerr, 2 Andrew Kelly, 1 Augusto Allori.

Replacements: 16 Craig Smith, 17 Steve Lawrie, 18 Fergus Pringle, 19 Simon Cross, 20 Greig Laidlaw, 21 Nick De Luca, 22 Calum MacRae.

Munster: 15 Shaun Payne, 14 Doug Howlett, 13 Rua Tipoki, 12 Lifeimi Mafi, 11 Ian Dowling, 10 Paul Warwick, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 Anthony Foley (c), 7 Niall Ronan, 6 Alan Quinlan, 5 Donncha Ryan, 4 Mick O'Driscoll, 3 Tony Buckley, 2 Frankie Sheahan, 1 Federico Pucciariello.

Replacements: 16 Denis Fogarty, 17 Darragh Hurley, 18 Paul O'Connell, 19 James Coughlan, 20 Tomas O'Leary, 21 Jeremy Manning, 22 Kieran Lewis.

Referee: Tim Hayes (Wales)

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