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Edinburgh Rugby:17 (3) Munster: 26 (12)



Time was when Munster were perennial Heineken contenders and dominant in whatever the Celtic league happened to be called at the moment.  Leinster and more recently Ulster of the Irish provinces have taken on that mantle for now.  Many of the old stagers who got them into that position have retired, while the rest have reached codger status and are in the twilight of their careers.   While there's life in the old dogs yet, they are in a rebuilding phase at the moment and are, or should be, eminently beatable with a bit of application.  Unfortunately, Edinburgh under the current regime are not the side to do that.  Not by a long chalk.  Once again, the home team looked dispirited, disjointed, downright disappointing this afternoon.  There is something far wrong at Murrayfield and we are some way beyond the point when decisive action needs to be taken.  The more the SRU high command delay, the more damage will be done.

The Embra men were 12-3 down at the half on a dismal day, O'Gara's boot enough to keep the visitors' noses in front from as early as the second minute.  Although by recent standards, that was almost respectable, there was really not much to get excited about from a home perspective.  I guess if you were looking for some crumbs of comfort, the defence held out well enough and Ben 'Cairnsy' Cairns was getting some gametime.  But the same old same old discredited gameplan was to the fore.  Pass out, hit up; pass out, hit up; kick the ball aimlessly to the other side so they can dominate field position.  Perhaps it was a highly cunning attempt to lull Munster to sleep in the hope of nipping through while they dozed.

But the mogadon men approach once again failed to gain much traction and the key breakthrough occurred midway through the second period of this snoozefest.  After Laidlaw had been carded for a deliberate knock on under severe pressure (while Munster were short-handed, by the way), Munster's power in the scrummage on 54 minutes won the penalty try.  And they were down to seven forwards to boot.  RO'G's conversion put the Munstermen a comfortable 19-3 up with enough time in theory to get the try bonus if they moved the ball a bit against demoralised opponents.

Sure enough, try two came on 61 minutes from a close in drive by Murray, converted by O'Gara for 26-3.  Once again this season, it was not a question of whether, but by how much.

All the more galling was Edinburgh's first score of the half.  On 71 minutes, and with Munster chasing the try bonus, a great break by Scott, taken on by Atiga saw Fife over for the converted try, Laidlaw acing the kick from wide out.  26-10 with the clock ticking.  Too little, too late, but another illustration of what these players can do when they bin the gameplan and play the heads-up rugby that is their forte. And 'Deadly' Dougie Fife was at it again on 76 minutes.  He ran a great line and smashed through for a fine score, goaled by Laidlaw for a 26-17 deficit.

That was the last event of much note in yet another disappointing European display at Murrayfield this afternoon.  A 17-26 home loss without even the consolation of a losing bonus point. 

I'm a glass half full kind of chap, I've been following these guys through thick and (mainly) thin since the 70s, I love them to bits and all that.  Nor do I like seeing mobs baying for coaches' heads.  But this is just not good enough and cannot continue.  There is nothing to be gained from rearranging the deckchairs any longer.  Mr Dodson has got to grab the helm this week and steer the Titanic away from the iceberg.