Seasonal bow was a baptism of fire for Sam Hidalgo-Clyne

Sam Hidalgo-Clyne
Sam Hidalgo-Clyne
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In his first start of the season scrum-half Sam Hidalgo-Clyne would have liked a more comfortable ride, but there was no charitable donations available at Thomond Park.

Alan Solomons’ injury ravaged side succumbed to a dominant Munster pack with two tries in each half, which gave then all five points for the first time this season.

The sizeable grunt of Anton Bresler and Grant Gilchrist was missed in Edinburgh’s second row, while Nasi Manu would have added some much needed go-forward ball in the back-row, and their absence and Munster’s in-form set piece meant Edinburgh often travelled backwards.

Hidalgo-Clyne got the brunt of that just before half-time when an Edinburgh scrum back-pedalled close to their own line. The Scotland No.9 then lost control of the ball as the scrum wheeled, which led to Conor Murray’s second try of the day.

It was a tough return to action for the 23-year-old, but he thinks there will be better days ahead.

“It’s one of these things, you go to the TMO whether or not it touches on the try line. You are under a lot of pressure, your scrum is going backwards and it pops out,” said Hidalgo-Clyne.

“What can you do really? You don’t want to throw it away. It is obviously unfortunate but we need to bounce back from that and have the mindset that we get down to their 22 and start scoring tries.

“Yeah, we had to adapt halfway through. I thought the front row did well to adapt. We started hooking the ball and getting it down channel one and Cornel was getting the ball away quickly. From that side of things it’s positive.”

Munster took a routine victory in the end, but the game was bookended by Edinburgh tries from Chris Dean and John Hardie. Once again, in the face of a heavy defeat Edinburgh showed huge character and fought like demons until the final whistle.

The injury toll was significant though, with Duncan Weir almost certain to miss out on Friday’s trip to face Connacht after an ugly clash of heads with CJ Stander. In the space of a minute, he twice denied their big No.8 with try-saving tackles, but on the second occasion he came out second best.

If Weir is ruled out for the meeting with the champions – who have yet to register a point from three games – Hidalgo-Clyne could well take over the goal-kicking duties. At a notoriously difficult venue to kick for goal, the scrum-half is hoping the weather gods are kind.

“It’s not an easy place. It’s always windy there. Let’s just hope for sunshine. It’s all you can hope for I think, it doesn’t happen often, but we can hope.

“We’ve got more depth this year which has been good for the squad. I think if we get on the front foot we have some seriously dangerous players. Unfortunately we didn’t manage to execute some of the plays and we didn’t get over that try-line.

“But I am really enjoying playing with Dunkie and the players outside him have got some real good potential.”

Considering that Edinburgh were without six of their first choice front eight for this trip to Thomond Park, it is fair to say that Alan Solomons will take plenty of positives from a game that garnered little reward.

As well as Weir’s injury, issues at tighthead are just as worrying with Kevin Bryce set for a long spell on the sidelines following an elbow injury.

Bryce was replaced after five minutes at Thomond Park – a rotten first start for Edinburgh for the Alloa man – by Allan Dell, a loosehead by trade. Solomons praised Dell’s efforts in an unfamiliar position, but there was no denying Munster held the upperhand at scrum time.

“The heads never went down. We came back, we pulled up and had a chance to get a bonus point and that to me was the most pleasing feature,” said Solomons.

“I thought the guys showed tremendous bloody heart and that was summed up by the end. When we dropped a ball from a first-phase attack, they got on to our line and we just held them for phases after phase after phase. We just held them off.”


Munster: Tries - C Murray (2), C Oliver, D O’Callaghan. Conversions - T Bleyendaal (4).

Edinburgh: Tries - C Dean, J Hardie. Conversions - D Weir, B Kinghorn.

Munster: Keatley; Sweetnam, Earls, Bohane, O’Mahony; Bleyendaal (Wootton 59), Murray (Williams 59); Kilcoyne (Cronin 58), Scannell (Casey 59), Ryan; Kleyn (O’Shea 44), Holland; O’Callaghan (Archer 65), O’Donoghue (Oliver 13), Stander.

Edinburgh: G Bryce; Hoyland, Allen (Scholes 72), Dean, Brown; Weir (Kinghorn 52), Hidalgo-Clyne (Kennedy 64); Sutherland, McInally (Cochrane 59), K Bryce (Dell 5); McKenzie (Carmichael 68), Toolis; Bradbury, Watson (Hardie 25-33, blood), Du Preez (Cosgrove 52) (Hardie 59).

Referee: Ben Whitehouse (WRU).