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Watch: An Angry Munster Put Some Pride Back In The Jersey With Four Blistering Tries

Watch: An Angry Munster Put Some Pride Back In The Jersey With Four Blistering Tries
By Gavan Casey

Munster looked angry this evening.

Anthony Foley's much-maligned charges, seventh in the PRO12, arrived at Irish Independent Park in Cork knowing only victory over sixth place Edinburgh would keep alive slim hopes of a playoff place, but more crucially, not-so-slim hopes of Champions Cup qualification. They came out of the traps accordingly, very much resembling a team which had taken weeks of media and fan criticism personally.

In a week where his role as head coach was made partially redundant with the arrival of Johan Erasmus from South Africa, Foley couldn't have asked for more offensively in the first half: his side flew out of the blocks with a turnover on Edinburgh's 22, a possession which concluded with a glorious Andrew Conway offload sending Rory Scannell over in the corner.

Edinburgh replied with a try of their own in the minutes that followed after some slack Munster defending, but the home side hit back from their own 22.

Some quick passing across the backline put Conway into space, and the 24-year-old chipped ahead to find his former Ireland under-20s partner in crime Simon Zebo as Munster retook the lead with rapid aplomb.

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It was man-of-the-match Conway, instrumental in Munster's first two scores, who crashed over for his side's third.

A sustained Munster attack saw CJ Stander held up over the line. From the resulting five-metre scrum, Munster were sent backwards before Stander expertly drew two defenders and popped the ball to Billy Holland (he must be listening to our own Conor O'Leary). Holland then sent the former Leinster man over to push Munster further in front.

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The second half was far more nervy, with errors creeping into the Munster men's game with about 20 minutes remaining, as Edinburgh closed the gap to just a single point with three unanswered penalties.

Feeding off scraps, Munster turned to their maul which looked increasingly dangerous and was stopped just short on a couple of occasions, with one 35-yard rolling effort sparking scenes reminiscent of the Munster of old before halting inches from the Edinburgh line.

The maul went close again at the death before Munster struck the killing blow - again from a scrum - with Francis Saili being driven over the line by his teammates, and presumably half of the province, to secure a bonus point victory to keep Champions Cup dreams alive.

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It was by no means the perfect performance with Munster struggling to gain primary possession for large periods in the second half, but the 2011 champions now have some breathing space ahead of an equally important clash with the Scarlets next weekend.

Irrespective of second half errors and a lack of proper, European-level quality, you couldn't fault their commitment to the red jersey this evening.

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