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Munster: 19 (13) Edinburgh: 16 (13)

Despite the current chat emanating from certain senior figures in the England squad who presumably have books to promote, the most memorable aspect of the World Cup gone by for your correspondent was England's success.  After winning the thing four years ago, they had charted a relentlessly downward path since - at least until the quarter final stage hoved into view once more. 

At that point, they rediscovered the mental hardness and reserves of experience that had seen them prevail in Australia.  While the All Blacks, as usual, resolutely failed to get going when the going got tough, England could even have retained the title with a bit more luck.

Andy Robinson had a fair bit to do with that 2003 triumph.    And as a gifted forwards coach, he has the ability to address the two longstanding weaknesses in just about every Edinburgh squad to have taken the field during the professional era: attitude and abrasiveness up front.  As ever, the back division this season pretty much takes care of itself; they just need quality ball.  Securing that ball is going to require a lot of work up front in the Heineken, particularly against Toulouse and Leicester.

This evening's display against Munster suggests that Robinson may be on the right track.  While a loss is still a loss, Edinburgh showed promising signs at sold out Musgrave Park, tied 13 apiece with the Munstermen at half-time.  In the end, two O'Gara penalties late on allowed Munster to squeak home. But two yellow cards - for Ford and Jacobsen - suggested an admirable unwillingess to win the Magnersleague fair play award and a refusal to be cowed by one of the more physical sides in the competition.

After an early O'Gara penalty, it took Edinburgh 20 minutes to get in the board with a penalty from stand-off David Blair.

With Ford subsequently carded for a breakdown offence, O'Gara knocked the home side back in front with a penalty.  Blair Minor levelled the scores shortly after with a neat drop.

An O'Gara chip saw Leamy pounce on the ball, his momentum taking him over for a try.  But just before the break, Hugo and Andy Turnbull combined well to set up a ruck in the corner, the rejuvenated Jacobsen barrelling over to tie the scores.

Although Blair Minor gave Edinburgh the lead with a penalty fifteen minutes from time, Munster pressure eventually told.  First, O'Gara levelled after Jacobsen was carded for taking a maul down.  Then the international nicked the win with a last minute penalty after Rennie had been pinged for an offence on the floor.

The losing bonus point leaves Edinburgh eighth in the league, yet they are only six points off third place.  With the exception of the Leinster loss, they have been there or thereabouts in every game.  It will not take much for the guys to convert these near things into wins.  Starting next Saturday, perhaps?


Munster: Leamy 1T, O'Gara 4P 1C

Edinburgh: Jacobsen 1T, Blair Minor 2P 1DG 1C

Munster: D Hurley; B Carney, K Lewis, L Mafi, I Dowling; R O'Gara, P Stringer (capt); F Pucciariello, J Flannery, J Hayes, D O'Callaghan,M O'Driscoll, A Quinlan, D Wallace, D Leamy.
Replacements: T Buckley, F Sheahan, A Foley, AN Other, T O'Leary, P Warwick, R Tipoki

Edinburgh: Hugo; A Turnbull, B Cairns, N De Luca, S Webster; D Blair, M Blair; A Jacobsen, R Ford, G Kerr, C Hamilton, B Gissing, A Hogg (capt), R Rennie, S Cross.
Replacements: A Kelly, A Allori, M Mustchin, F Pringle, B Meyer, P Godman, J Houston.

Referee:  Hayes (WRU).