How the Munster players rated against Edinburgh

Munster head coach Rob Penney
HOW the Munster players rated in their Heineken Cup defeat to Edinburgh

HOW the Munster players rated in their Heineken Cup defeat to Edinburgh

Felix Jones 6

Still finding his feet after coming back from shoulder surgery during the summer. Made a few handling errors, but ever-willing to counter attack. Will benefit from the competitive outing.

Keith Earls 8

Continued to show his excellent early season form, posing major threat with ball in hand. Making a really strong case for selection for Ireland in the upcoming autumn international

Casey Laulala 7

Recovered well from a slow start defensively to prove - along with Earls - Munster’s main attacking threat in the backline, Finished his try well at the end of the first quarter.

James Downey 6

Edinburgh appeared to target Munster’s midfield defence early on and the tactic paid off. Downey was more influential as the half wore on. Unfortunate to suffer a cut to his head in the first half which saw him replaced for a time.

Simon Zebo 6

Not back to the high performance levels he displayed last season, but hasn’t had much game time since the Lions tour. Munster will hope his leg injury doesn’t prove serious as Zebo remains one of the side’s main attacking threats.

Ian Keatley 6

Over-cooked a couple of kicks out of hand early on. Proved a genuine running threat to the Edinburgh defence, but needed to take control of the game a bit more on occasion. Five from five with his goal-kicking.

Conor Murray 7

Fast becoming the heart beat of the Munster team. Box-kicking was accurate and so too was his passing for the most part. Will improve for the competitive outing.

Dave Kilcoyne 6

Had a ding-dong battle with Willem Nel in the scrum for the time Kilcoyne was on the pitch. Carried ball well. Called ashore after 53 minutes for James Cronin who continues to put pressure on for the starting jersey at loosehead prop

Mike Sherry 6

Mixed bag for the hooker. Scored a fine try on 25 minutes and tackled well throughout. Gave away an early penalty which Laidlaw converted and the line-out failed to function consistently, although not always the hooker’s fault.

Stephen Archer 6

No shortage of endeavour and industry all through. Solid defensively and carried well. Coach Penney may opt for the more experienced BJ Botha to start next weekend’s game with Gloucester, however.

Paul O’Connell 7

Resumed as team captain with Peter O’Mahony ruled out through injury. Put in a big shift, leading from the front. Will be anxious to sort out the line-out deficiencies in time for next Saturday’s make-or-break clash with Gloucester at Thomond Park.

Donnacha Ryan 7

Ryan turned in an impressive performance in the Munster engine room. Block down of Laidlaw’s attempted clearance in the 10th minute led to Casey Laulala’s try which got the visitors back into the game after poor start. Brings a huge amount of physicality.

Paddy Butler 6

Butler was given the nod to start his first Heineken Cup match in Peter O’Mahony’s absence. The Shannon clubman turned in a wholehearted display. However, will be back on the replacements’ bench on Saturday next, assuming the captain is fit for the clash with the ‘cherry and whites.’

Niall Ronan 7

Has been given the opportunity to impress following the unfortunate injury to Tommy O’Donnell. Did some very good work at the breakdown, but lacks the same level of sheer physicality as O’Donnell.

James Coughlan 7

Another decent shift from the number eight. Carried the ball well - making 10 carries in the opening 66 minutes, which yielded good yardage for the visitors. Also solid defensively.

Replacements:

James Cronin 6

Snapping away at Kilcoyne’s heels for the starting position at loosehead. The fact the young prop got almost 30 minutes of game time here augurs well for prospects of gaining a start in the next few weeks - may not be against Gloucester, however.

BJ Botha 6

The fit-again Botha lost out to Archer for the starting tight-head position at Murrayfield, but the renowned South African scrummager looks a good bet to be named in the team to face Gloucester. Big-game experience could be key, as Munster play cup final rugby for the remaining five pool fixtures.

CJ Stander 7

Lost out to Butler in the battle to start the game in, but was brought on in the back-row before the third quarter had elapsed. A dynamic ball-carrier, Stander brings an added dimension to Munster’s forward play. Pushing very hard for selection for Gloucester, but will be disappointed to concede a silly penalty late on.

Damien Varley 6

Came on for Mike Sherry at the hour mark. Varley is a good quality scrummager and his line-out throwing has improved. Difficult to say whether he has done enough to start Saturday’s game with Gloucester.

Not on long enough to be rated:

(Denis Hurley, Donncha O’Callaghan, JJ Hanrahan, Duncan Williams)