Simon Zebo with son Jacob and daughter Sofia following his final appearance for Munster at Thomond Park on Saturday
MUNSTER set up a mouth-watering Guinness Pro14 semi-final showdown with Leinster in Dublin in two weeks’ time after edging past Edinburgh 20-16 in their play-off fixture at Thomond Park on Saturday.
A 72nd minute penalty goal from out-half JJ Hanrahan sealed Munster’s passage into the last four, despite a mixed performance from the home side in front of an official attendance of 10,205.
That Guinness Pro 14 semi-final will take place at the RDS, Dublin on Saturday, May 19, 3.15pm.
An opportunist eighth minute try from hooker Rhys Marshall was the only five-pointer in the opening half. JJ Hanrahan also added the conversion. Two penalty goals from the boot of Sam Hidalgo-Clyne left the Scottish side just 7-6 behind at the break.
Munster’s Racing 92-bound full-back Simon Zebo provided a moment of class for Keith Earls to score a much-needed 42nd-minute try for the home side. Hanrahan's boot extended the lead to 17-6, before Hidalgo-Clyne's third penalty and a terrific try from replacement out-half Nathan Fowles' in 58th-minute try had the gap down to one point again, 17-16.
What a try! @SimonZebo shows why Thomond Park will miss him with a beautiful chip and pin-point pass out to the electric @KEITHEARLS87 ⚡️— PRO14 RUGBY (@PRO14Official) May 5, 2018
Catch the rest of the second half on @SportTG4, @SkySports and @bbcalba now #MUNvEDI #GUINNESSPRO14 pic.twitter.com/bNbweCfJCU
Hanrahan kept his nerve superbly in the 72nd minute to nail the match-clinching penalty goal.
As well as the departing Zebo, the game was also a final appearance in the red of Munster at Thomond Park for number eight Robin Copeland and second row Gerbrandt Grobler.
Fantastic performance and the match-winning try from @KEITHEARLS87 earns him the Man of the Match medal as @Munsterrugby beat @Edinburgh Rugby to progress to the Final Series semi-final, presented on behalf of Guinness by Brendan Ryan #GUINNESSPRO14 pic.twitter.com/OoKpANGzDk— PRO14 RUGBY (@PRO14Official) May 5, 2018
MUNSTER: Simon Zebo; Andrew Conway, Sam Arnold, Rory Scannell, Keith Earls; JJ Hanrahan, Conor Murray; James Cronin, Rhys Marshall, Stephen Archer, Jean Kleyn, Billy Holland, Peter O'Mahony (capt), Jack O'Donoghue, CJ Stander. Replacements: Mike Sherry, Dave Kilcoyne, Ciaran Parker, Gerbrandt Grobler, Robin Copeland, James Hart, Ian Keatley, Darren Sweetnam.
EDINBURGH: Blair Kinghorn; Dougie Fife, Mark Bennett, Chris Dean, Duhan van der Merwe; Jaco van der Walt, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne; Jordan Lay, Stuart McInally (capt), Simon Berghan, Ben Toolis, Grant Gilchrist, Lewis Carmichael, Magnus Bradbury, Bill Mata. Replacements: Neil Cochrane, Allan Dell, WP Nel, Ally Miller, Cornell du Preez, Nathan Fowles, Duncan Weir, James Johnstone.
REFEREE: Nigel Owens (Wales)