EDINBURGH 14 MUNSTER 16
Munster held off a desperate finale from Edinburgh to seize the win in a bruising encounter at BT Murrayfield and leave the hosts nursing a third successive Guinness PRO12 defeat.
John Ryan touched down for the visitors and the reliable boot of Ian Keatley contributed 11 points, while Will Helu scored his first try for the hosts and Sam Hidalgo-Clyne kicked the rest.
With the clocking ticking towards 80 minutes, the Irish side looked to have the win secured. But an interception and lung-bursting run by Edinburgh winger Damien Hoyland created the platform for a series of surges that almost yielded the match-winning score.
And, with almost four minutes of injury time played, Hidalgo-Clyne made a bid for glory with a drop goal attempt. However, it was charged down and Munster recorded a result that leaves them unbeaten in Edinburgh for four years.
Both teams welcomed back World Cup players to their squads and that added to the intensity of the clash. The Irishmen reached the break with a 10-6 lead that was scant reward for their territorial domination in the opening 40 minutes.
They took the lead on seven minutes when, after a scrum five metres from the home line, Ryan touched down next to the posts, leaving Keatley the simple task of adding the extra two points.
On a rare foray into the opposition half, Hidalgo-Clyne clawed back three points with a straightforward penalty. As Tom Brown leaped to gather the restart, he was tackled in mid-air by Gerhard van den Heever, who was shown a yellow card for the offence.
Edinburgh failed to capitalise on the extra man and the score was unchanged when the Munster winger returned to the fray.
It was the visitors who were next on the score sheet, capping another spell of pressure with a successful penalty attempt by Keatley.
Then, in the final minute of a half that had featured little in the way of flowing rugby, Hidalgo-Clyne trimmed the deficit to four points when he thumped over a long-range penalty.
The hosts grabbed the lead on 47 minutes when Hamish Watson sparked a move, continued by Brown, who provided Helu with scoring pass. Hidalgo-Clyne’s conversion attempt rattled the post but he was back on target with his next effort, a penalty that gave Edinburgh a four-point advantage entering the final quarter and saw Francis Saili yellow-carded.
However, Keatley banged over another three-pointer then nudged his team in front with another penalty.
The hosts lost Greig Tonks to the sin bin and the game appeared to be petering out when Hoyland’s intervention created the breathtaking close that came so close to delivering a home win.