Heineken Cup: Pool 6 winners Munster thrash Edinburgh
Last Updated: 19/01/14 3:19pm
Munster made sure of a home quarter-final in the Heineken Cup with a 38-6 victory over Edinburgh at Thomond Park.
First-half tries from James Coughlan and Johne Murphy were followed up by efforts from Conor Murray and Peter O'Mahony after the break, clinching the required bonus point the hosts required to be a top-four seed.
Simon Zebo and Felix Jones added further efforts for the rampant hosts against opponents who ended both halves with a man in the sin-bin.
The result avenged an opening-round defeat to their RaboDirect PRO12 rivals; since that reverse in Scotland Munster have reeled off five straight wins in the competition, including triumphing away at Gloucester and Perpignan.
Greig Laidlaw kicked two penalties for Edinburgh, who now know their European involvement is over for another season after missing out on Amlin Challenge Cup qualification.
Edinburgh silenced the capacity Limerick crowd in the opening minutes, Tom Brown almost reaching Greig Tonks' cross-field kick although Laidlaw drew his first penalty attempt wide.
He made no mistake with his second place-kick, punishing a scrum offence by Dave Kilcoyne - but Munster were lightning quick to respond.
Paul O'Connell rose to take the restart and after a neat spread of passes out to the left, number eight Coughlan - a notable absentee from Ireland's Six Nations squad - cut in on a terrific angle to arrow his way over for the opening try.
Ian Keatley's conversion attempt came back off the left-hand post, but the pattern has been set and Munster gained the upper hand in the scrum as their push for tries gathered pace.
The Edinburgh defence splintered far too easily in the 22nd minute - back rowers David Denton and Roddy Grant both missing tackles - as winger Murphy, fed from a scrum, stepped clean through and in behind the posts.
Keatley added the extras for a 12-3 lead before Laidlaw hit back with a second left-sided penalty, and the second quarter was quite an even affair.
Replacement Zebo, on for the injured Keith Earls, combined with O'Connell to bring down Laidlaw just short of the try-line, following a promising set of phases from the Scots.
However, Edinburgh lost the services of Du Preez after referee Wayne Barnes sin-binned him for 'recklessly leading with the head' when attempting to clear out O'Connell at a ruck.
The second half was just four minutes old when scrum-half Murray plunged over from a close-range ruck for his try, with Tommy O'Donnell and Coughlan tearing through the Edinburgh defence in the build-up.
Keatley's pinpoint conversion from the left put Munster 13 points clear and some neat touches from Zebo kept the province on the front foot.
The bonus point was in their grasp by the hour mark, skipper O'Mahony showing great strength to barge past three defenders and stretch over by the posts, with Keatley converting.
Murray then fed Zebo for a simple finish in the left corner and Edinburgh crumbled further under the weight of forward pressure, ending the game with replacement prop Geoff Cross in the sin-bin.
Zebo's lovely delayed pass sent full-back Jones over in the right corner and Keatley's cracking conversion was a fitting way to end a Munster-dominated second half.
Heineken Cup Week Six 2013/14
Stuart Barnes believes that the Irish provinces could all challenge Clermont for Heineken Cup glory.
Harlequins boss Conor O'Shea praised both teams after his side defeated Scarlets 22-20 in tough conditions on Sunday.
Scarlets head coach Simon Easterby suggests poor discipline cost his side a place in the Amlin Cup quarter-finals.
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