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Ryan Try Crucial As Munster Foil Edinburgh

jmcconnell 15 Feb 2008

Paul O’Connell made his first appearance of the season for Munster but it was another of the Irish side’s second rows that took centre stage at Murrayfield as Donnacha Ryan’s 75th-minute try saw Edinburgh overhauled.

Murrayfield is proving to be a fruitful place for Munster to visit – the men in red have won now on all four of their previous trips to the home of Scottish rugby – but this is a match that could have easily gone the other way.

Gunning for a record fifth straight league win, Edinburgh failed to make the most of a bright start and also did not make the most of Munster winger Ian Dowling’s sin-binning just before half-time.

The Scots might have been 9-0 up at that stage as fly-half Phil Godman had three opportunities to open the scoring but he fluffed his lines on each occasion – after 5, 29 and 31 minutes.

The first half was a hard-fought one with plenty of bone-crushing tackles and play cramped between the 22-metre lines.

After Munster had lost Dowling, Godman was presented with another kickable chance but he opted to kick for touch and even then the visitors were able to hold up until the half-time whistle.

Indeed, it was Munster who edged their way in front as number 10 Paul Warwick knocked over a 54th-minute penalty for a collapsed maul, some six minutes after Roland Reid had been yellow carded for a dangerous tackle on Doug Howlett.

Warwick repeated the trick for a 6-0 lead after hands in the ruck from the hosts and with inspirational captain Paul O’Connell brought into the fray, the visitors looked well set to grind out the win.

Edinburgh though were having none of it and revived by captain Allister Hogg and scrum half Ben Meyer, they fought their way into the lead.

With 14 minutes remaining, Meyer scampered over for an opportunistic try which Godman converted to leave Andy Robinson’s men 7-6 ahead.

Munster were penalised at a scrum close to their own line and Meyer seized his chance to nip in between two defenders and use his strength to make the line.

It set up a climatic finish during which Munster coped the better and used their experienced forwards to see them to victory.

Edinburgh assistant coach Rob Moffat admitted afterwards that the Heineken Cup quarter-finalists had "suffocated" his side and so it proved.

Five minutes from the end and after a series of drives, Ryan muscled his way over the hosts’ line for the all-important try.

Warwick missed the left-sided conversion and also hit the post with an 80th-minute penalty attempt but the damage had already been done.

Edinburgh blew their chance of moving into second place in the league table, while Munster doggedly kept on the winning trail to maintain their push for silverware on two fronts.

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