Munster snatched a late victory for the second week running after CJ Stander’s 76th-minute try saw them overcome Guinness PRO14 Conference B rivals Edinburgh 25-23 at Thomond Park. Munster academy fly-half Ben Healy capped his second senior start with a terrific 20-point kicking haul. The 21-year-old was the Irish province’s late goal-kicking hero away to Scarlets last week.
Edinburgh had looked on course for their first win of the new season, first-half converted tries from Mark Bennett and WP Nel raising hopes of repeating last year’s narrow triumph over the same opposition in Cork.
Trailing 14-12 at the break, Munster relied on two more Healy penalties to edge them in front, but they needed that elusive try from captain Stander to cancel out place kicks from Bennett and Jaco van der Walt.
Tipperary youngster Healy had an assured opening to Munster’s first Thomond Park appearance since rugby’s restart. He banged over two well-struck penalties, rewarding the efforts of Stander and Jeremy Loughman at the breakdown.
Munster’s own indiscipline allowed Edinburgh to build for an opening twelfth-minute try. Grant Gilchrist knocked on a few metres out, but the visitors came again and centre Bennett broke in between Alex McHenry and debutant Matt Gallagher to score to the right of the posts.
Who impressed you most tonight at Thomond Park? ?
— PRO14 RUGBY (@PRO14Official) October 10, 2020
With Van der Walt’s conversion dispatched, Damien Hoyland did very well to reach Rory Scannell’s kick through ahead of the chasing Jack O’Donoghue as Munster hunted for a try in response. The TMO review went Edinburgh’s way, but a third Healy kick restored Munster’s lead midway through the half.
On the half-hour mark, beefy Edinburgh prop Nel touched down past Rhys Marshall and John Ryan after an equally strong carry from Stuart McInally. Van der Walt’s conversion was followed by a late fourth Healy penalty which came after another display of Tadhg Beirne’s breakdown ability.
Early in the second period, Andrew Conway’s scrambling tackle took away a certain try from Edinburgh centre George Taylor. A Van der Walt penalty did make it 17-12, only for Healy to quickly hit back after a high tackle on the impressive Craig Casey.
Van der Walt then saw yellow for a high tackle on his opposite number Healy, who gratefully took the three points on offer for an 18-17 scoreline. However, a D’arcy Graham break inspired the 14-man Scots, and a Bennett kick nudged them back in front with 14 minutes remaining.
Having watched Healy suffer his first penalty miss, the returning Van der Walt extended Edinburgh’s advantage in the 73rd minute. But Richard Cockerill’s men were denied a famous win as Stander, with James Cronin on the latch, burrowed over for Healy to convert.
It's all kicking off… https://t.co/e9JBFoZcnV
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) October 9, 2020
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