Pro12: Edinburgh 3-34 Munster

Edinburgh and Munster players
Paul O'Connell, back in the Munster line-up, collects at a line-out
Edinburgh (3) 3
Pen: Heathcote
Munster (10) 34
Tries: Casey, Stander, Murray, Zebo, Earls Cons: Keatley 3 Pen: Keatley

Munster mauled their way to a bonus-point win over Edinburgh at Murrayfield, seizing second place in the Pro12 on points difference.

The hosts were overpowered up front and outfought at the breakdown, with driving mauls yielding tries for Duncan Casey, CJ Stander and Conor Murray.

Simon Zebo scored a controversial fourth, with fellow winger Keith Earls bagging a fifth.

Tom Heathcote scored Edinburgh's only points with a penalty three minutes in.

Twelve months ago at Meggetland, Edinburgh were overtaken by Cardiff Blues, effectively snuffing out their faint hopes of a sixth-place finish.

One year on, the outlook for Alan Solomons' side is substantially rosier as they chase European Champions Cup qualification, but this defeat highlighted the disparity between the Scots and the Pro12 title-chasers.

While the Munster line-up featured several Irish Six Nations champions, Edinburgh lost scrum-half Sam Hidalgo-Clyne to a chest injury pre-match and then Dave Denton.

Heathcote assumed kicking duties and put Edinburgh ahead after their brightest - and only - threatening spell in the away 22.

Greig Tonks and Ian Keatley
Edinburgh were well beaten by Munster

Ian Keatley levelled from the tee as the clock struck 20 minutes and, although Edinburgh were dominant in the scrum, their infringements and failure to repel the Munster maul were punished when the visitors' pack rumbled their way over, Casey the scorer.

Fly-half Keatley struck a sweet touchline conversion to hand his side a seven-point half-time lead.

Edinburgh continued to put themselves under pressure after the interval, struggling to exit to their 22 and shipping penalties as Munster dominated territory.

The scarlet-clad forwards mauled their way to the line again on 52 minutes, Stander grounding for his seventh league try of the season.

Keatley pushed the conversion wide, but Edinburgh wing Tim Visser was sin-binned after he transgressed at the breakdown in an effort to halt a blistering Munster counter attack.

Anthony Foley's side crossed for the third time as scrum-half Murray broke from yet another menacing maul, his half-back partner converting.

With Edinburgh's cover defence all at sea, Zebo then toed through a Felix Jones grubber before appearing to miss the ball altogether in his race to ground it before the dead ball line. However TMO Iain Ramage awarded the try.

Keatley struck the posts with his conversion attempt, but his neat rolling kick was fumbled by Phil Burleigh, allowing Earls to pounce for Munster's fifth.

The streetwise visitors continued to flex their muscles, vanquishing the memory of their opening-round loss to Edinburgh at Thomond Park, but could not score again.

With top-six rivals Connacht and Scarlets picking up one and four points from their respective fixtures, Edinburgh trail them in the standings by a point.

They have plenty to address before their European Challenge Cup semi-final against Dragons at Murrayfield on Friday.

Edinburgh: Tonks, Fife, Burleigh, Strauss, T. Visser, Heathcote, Fowles, Dickinson, Ford, W. Nel, Bresler, Toolis, Grant, Watson, Denton.

Replacements: Brown for Tonks (67), Beard for Heathcote (55), Hart for Fowles (55), Shiells for Dickinson (69), Andress for W. Nel (69), McKenzie for Bresler (51). Not Used: McInally, Leonardi. Sin Bin: T. Visser (56).

Munster: Jones, Earls, Smith, D. Hurley, Zebo, Keatley, Murray, Kilcoyne, Casey, Botha, B. Holland, O'Connell, P. O'Mahony, O'Donnell, Stander.

Replacements: R. O'Mahony for Earls (65), Williams for Zebo (73), Hanrahan for Keatley (65), J. Cronin for Kilcoyne (51), Guinazu for Casey (60), Archer for Botha (60), D. Ryan for B. Holland (51), D. O'Callaghan for P. O'Mahony (63).

Att: 4,818.

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