MUNSTER’S 15-game unbeaten run in the RaboDirect Pro 12 came to an abrupt end in Murrayfield on Friday night as they were beaten 29-15 by Edinburgh.
It was the home side who made the better start as Greig Laidlaw goaled from wide out after Scott Deasy had been penalised for holding on after the tackle. Munster responded with some slick handling but their efforts faltered in a turnover and a second penalty against the visitors allowed Laidlaw to add a further three points.
Minutes later, indiscipline at the contact area cost Munster another three points, courtesy of the unfailing Laidlaw.
Matters were not improved when outhalf Ian Keatley put his intended kick to the corner directly into touch. From the ensuing lineout flanker Dave Denton created space for centre Matt Scott to dance through under the posts leaving Laidlaw with an easy conversion and Munster staring at a 16 point deficit.
The situation demanded that Munster put points on the board, and it was Keatley who delivered with a penalty goal.
The outhalf had a chance of more points but his sliced drop goal attempt at the end of a multi phase build-up.
Five minutes before the break Keatley made amends with his second penalty goal, and just on half time confirmed he had found his kicking rhythm with a third to cut Edinburgh’s lead to seven.
The deficit jumped back to ten points four minutes into the second half as Laidlaw thumped over his fourth successful penalty.
Munster then turned over ball in an attacking position allowing Edinburgh to run out of defence. Gregor Hunter did the initial damage with a chip and gather but it was the pace of winger Lee Jones that split the Munster defence.
Laidlaw supplied the link and it was Steve Lawrie who finished off under the posts giving Laidlaw a second easy conversion.
Tony McGahan then brought on a raft of replacements to try to inject more purpose into Munster’s game.
But it took until ten minutes from time for Munster to make the breakthrough. From a lineout Mick O’Driscoll was at the heart of the forward advance, before a swift release of the ball to the backs for replacement Danny Barnes to loop round Denis Hurley and score in the corner.
Edinburgh replied in kind, with a pick-and-drive game that brought them a penalty and another three points for Laidlaw.
MUNSTER - Scott Deasy; Johne Murphy, Tom Gleeson, Lifeimi Mafi, Denis Hurley; Ian Keatley, Peter Stringer; Wian du Preez, Denis Fogarty, John Hayes; Dave Foley, Mick O’Driscoll; Tom O’Donnell, Niall Ronan, Paddy Butler. Replacements: Danny Barnes for Gleeson, Mike Sherry for Fogarty, Stephen Archer for Hayes, Peter O’Mahoney for Butler (all 50 mins), Simon Zebo for Keatley, Ian Nagle for Foley (both 60 mins).
EDINBURGH - J Thompson; L Jones, M Scott, J King, T Visser; G Hunter, G Laidlaw; K Traynor, S Lawrie, L Niven; G Gilchrist, S Cox; D Denton, R Grant, S McInally. Replacements: S Knight for Niven (39 mins), E Lozada for Gilchrist (60 mins), R Hislop for Traynor (62 mins), A Walker for Lawrie (69 mins).