Munster make Edinburgh pay after emotional Doddie Weir scenes as Darcy Graham one of three players taken off injured

This match began with an outpouring of affection for Doddie Weir and ended with a 38-17 win for Munster, who were second best in the first half but made Edinburgh pay for not making the most of their early advantage.

The men in red nicked a try just before half-time and it proved to be the turning point. They scored 24 unanswered points in the second period to prevail and condemn Mike Blair’s side to their second home defeat of the United Rugby Championship season. There were further blows for Edinburgh in the shape of injuries to Darcy Graham, Chris Dean and Jamie Ritchie, all of whom performed with distinction until their night ended prematurely.

The evening began with tributes to Weir, with both captains laying down a No 5 jersey at the side of the pitch. This was followed by a minute's applause as the crowd, many decked out in tartan, paid tribute to the former Scotland lock who lost his battle with MND last week. Edinburgh seemed to harness the emotion of the occasion in the correct way and first-half tries from Dean, Graham and Ritchie had them ahead. But they never laid a glove on Munster in the second period.Edinburgh took just two minutes to make their mark through Dean. Pierre Schoeman led the charge before Luke Crosbie took up the running. The flanker offloaded to Dean who swerved his way in from the 22 for the game’s opening try. Kinghorn converted and the home crowd were delighted with their team’s bright start.

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Edinburgh had their tails up and Dean was at the heart of all their best work. The centre’s speed of thought was matched by his range of passing as he played in Mark Bennett and then Kinghorn in quick succession. The home team almost plundered a score from the latter move but Ben Vellacott was stopped in the corner by Calvin Nash’s tackle.

Edinburgh Captain Grant Gilchrist lays the No 5 jersey after the passing of Doddie Weir ahead of the kick-off against Munster.Edinburgh Captain Grant Gilchrist lays the No 5 jersey after the passing of Doddie Weir ahead of the kick-off against Munster.
Edinburgh Captain Grant Gilchrist lays the No 5 jersey after the passing of Doddie Weir ahead of the kick-off against Munster.

The second try wasn’t long in coming, though, and Munster were made to pay for a slack pass on halfway by Joey Carbery. The fly-half tried to loop one out the line but Graham twisted in mid air, snatched the ball and was far too fast to catch. Kinghorn’s conversion attempt struck the post but Edinburgh were 12-0 thanks to Graham’s ninth URC try of the season.

Munster hit straight back, stealing the restart and pushing the home side back on their own line. Edinburgh were under the cosh and it needed a harum-scarum kicked clearance from Ritchie to relieve the pressure.

They survived on that occasion but Munster smelled blood and Edinburgh were forced into conceding a couple of maul penalties. The visitors kicked to the corner, won the lineout and rumbled their way to the Edinburgh line before scrum-half Craig Casey spotted a gap and darted over for a try which Carbery converted.

Worse was to follow for Edinburgh when they lost Graham after 26 minutes. The winger was tackled near halfway then flattened by one of Munster’s big men and the Scotland man was forced to limp off. Jaco van der Walt replaced him, slotting in at full-back as Wes Goosen moved out to the wing.

Fans at the DAM Health Stadium wore Doddie Weir tartan.Fans at the DAM Health Stadium wore Doddie Weir tartan.
Fans at the DAM Health Stadium wore Doddie Weir tartan.

Edinburgh continued to look the more enterprising team and Kinghorn kicked a ball off the deck into touch on the bounce with a delightful swing of his right boot. The stand-off was involved in his side’s third try a few minutes later. Bill Mata got the ball rolling with a big carry. Dean and Kinghorn then combined to play in Ritchie in the corner. The Edinburgh captain still had plenty to do but squeezed his way between two red jerseys before touching down with his right hand.

Kinghorn missed the kick and Munster managed to end the half on a high, Rory Scannell running a lovely line to score his side’s second try. Carbery’s conversion made it 17-14 at the break which seemed a meagre advantage given Edinburgh’s first-half performance.

There was a sense that Munster had escaped lightly to be only three points behind at the interval and they took full advantage in the second half. They took only a minute to get their noses in front for the first time in the match when a combination of slick hands and missed tackles saw Calvin Nash race through. Carbery’s conversion made it 21-17 for Munster and worse was to follow for Edinburgh when they lost Dean who went off for a head injury assessment.

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Simon Zebo scored a hat-trick when these sides met last season and the Ireland winger thought he nicked one in the corner five minutes into the second half but play was called back for an earlier infringement and Zebo’s misery was complete when he was forced to limp off, hurt in the tackle while ‘scoring’ his non-try.

Edinburgh's Jamie Hodgson claims a lineout but the visitors ultimately prevailed.Edinburgh's Jamie Hodgson claims a lineout but the visitors ultimately prevailed.
Edinburgh's Jamie Hodgson claims a lineout but the visitors ultimately prevailed.

Munster had turned things around impressively and they stretched their lead with a bonus point try from No 8 Gavin Coombes, one of their stand-out performers. Again the Edinburgh tackling looked a little slack as the No 8 crashed his way through. Carberry, immaculate off the tee, made it four from four and followed it up with a penalty to stretch Munster's lead to 31-17 with 15 minutes remaining.

Edinburgh were struggling to find a foothold and when they did get close to the Muster line they were sent packing. All the momentum was with the men in red and Carbery scored their fifth try in the final minute. His conversion made it 38-17, Munster scoring 31 points in a row.

Edinburgh scorers: Tries: Dean, Graham, Ritchie. Con: Kinghorn.

Munster scorers: Tries: Casey, Scannell, Nash, Coombes, Carbery. Cons: Carbery 5. Pen: Carbery.

Edinburgh: Wes Goosen; Darcy Graham (Jaco van der Walt 26), Mark Bennett, Chris Dean (James Lang 44), Duhan van der Merwe; Blair Kinghorn, Ben Vellacott; Pierre Schoeman (Boan Venter 40), Paddy Harrison (Tom Cruse 50), Luan de Bruin (WP Nel 40), Jamie Hodgson (Marshall Sykes 55), Grant Gilchrist (cc), Jamie Ritchie (Nick Haining 73), Luke Crosbie, Viliame Mata. Replacements: Charlie Shiel.

Munster: Shane Daly; Calvin Nash, Antoine Frisch, Rory Scannell (Jack Crowley 50), Simon Zebo (Patrick Campbell 45); Joey Carbery, Craig Casey (Paddy Patterson 51); Jeremy Loughman (Josh Wycherley 66), Niall Scannell (Diarmuid Barron 50), John Ryan (Roman Salanoa 66), Jean Kleyn, Tadhg Beirne, Peter O'Mahony (Jack O'Donoghue 64), John Hodnett, Gavin Coombes (Alex Kendellen 58).

Referee: Mathieu Raynal (FFR)

Attendance: 7,339