Edinburgh coach Michael Bradley is refusing to throw in the towel on their season after an eighth straight defeat at Musgrave Park on Saturday.
Munster won 30-3 and chipped away at Edinburgh thanks to the splendid boot of Ian Keatley, before CJ Stander and Mike Sherry touched down late on. But Bradley still thinks there are positives to work on ahead of Friday’s clash at home to Cardiff Blues at Murrayfield.
“In this competition in the Rabo, we still have eight games left. We’ll see how we finish in that. I think we have been competitive in most games, we have won four and we were beaten by a score in five. Saturday got away from us and three other games got away from us, but sometimes that happens.
“We just need to keep working at getting it very close and getting it over the line. Last year we were poor in the competition, but I’m sure we’ll actually be better this year in the Rabo. But I think the Heineken is the one that everyone is focusing in on and that is not a pretty picture,” said Bradley, who tasted a fourth defeat to his home province this season.
After taking a 13th-minute lead through a Piers Francis penalty – he had missed an earlier effort at the posts – Edinburgh rarely got their act together and any time the Munster 22 came into sight, knock-ons, turnovers or a misfiring lineout snuffed out any chance of a try.
“I don’t think we really threatened a whole lot in that match. The first 20 minutes Munster were under a bit of pressure because of the penalties and that picture then changed and we found ourselves under pressure. Munster went about their business better in the second half. We had plenty of opportunities but we kept turning the ball over in Munster’s 22 and our lineouts didn’t fire at all,” conceded Bradley.
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.
However, crucially Edinburgh failed to build on their numerical advantage and by half-time Keatley had kicked Munster into a 6-3 lead and he continued his assault on the posts after the restart.
With JJ Hanrahan once more looking impressive in just his second start Munster he really should have bagged a try before Stander showed his impressive speed to gather Ivan Dineen’s 68th minute kick through.
But 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.
The positives are hard to elicit for Edinburgh though. And with a daunting double away trip to Ospreys and Scarlets coming up by the end of the month, a win on Friday against the Blues is crucial for last year’s Heineken Cup semi-finalists. “We beat Cardiff in the Arms Park in our second game so we look forward to playing them at home. Then we have Ospreys and Scarlets away.
“We went out of Saturday’s game a little easy,” said Bradley.
Munster: Tries: Stander, Sherry. Pens: Keatley (6). Cons: Keatley.
Edinburgh: Pens: Francis
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.