Munster 44Edinburgh 14

JOE SCHMIDT WAS in Cork on Friday evening as he watched the returning Ireland international Chris Farrell pick up man of the match in a stunning personal display against Edinburgh.

In his first start since he played for Ireland on 21 January, Farrell scored two tries and played a key role for a number of other efforts as Munster cruised to an eight-try win.

Farrell was outstanding on his first start of the season. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Keith Earls also scored a hat-trick while Andrew Conway scored twice, and half-time replacement Tyler Bleyendaal added Munster’s other try.

Conor Murray finished on the right wing as Munster closed the gap on Conference A leaders Glasgow Warriors to just three points with an emphatic bonus-point victory in this round 10 encounter. 

A clinical first-half display saw Munster take a 34-7 lead into the break in front of a capacity crowd at Musgrave Park. 

It was 40 minutes of dominance from the hosts and their returning Irish contingent were central to everything.

The first try came in the fifth minute when Murray fed Farrell and he barged over from close range, as Arno Botha and Billy Holland made the hard yards in the build-up.

Conway scored his first try in the 15th minute when he ran a great line off JJ Hanrahan’s shoulder, and the Irish winger made it five tries in six days when he burst down the right wing after a swift move involving Farrell and Hanrahan in midfield.

Munster were 19-0 up after Hanrahan missed the first and third conversions and that looked costly when Edinburgh scored completely against the run of play in the 21st minute.

Juan Pablo Socino passed to George Taylor who gave Duhan van der Merwe the ball with plenty of work to do. However, he bumped off the challenges of Mike Haley and Chris Cloete, and finished in the left corner.

Jaco van der Walt nailed the conversion but Munster added three unanswered tries before the interval, with Earls helping himself to all three. 

Munster were in clinical form. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

The first arrived on the half-hour mark when Murray gave him the simplest of finishes.

Haley’s pass put Earls through for a second try after a great Farrell break and he completed his hat-trick in the 38th minute after Conway and Haley turned defence into attack.

Hanrahan missed all three kicks but Munster were 34-7 ahead at half-time and they had to wait until the 64th minute for Bleyendaal to score their next try.

Van der Merwe hit back again but Farrell had the final say when he scored down the right wing.

Munster scorers: 

Tries: Chris Farrell [2], Andrew Conway [2], Keith Earls [3], Tyler Bleyendaal
Conversions: JJ Hanrahan [2 from 6], Tyler Bleyendaal [0 from 2].

Edinburgh scorers:

Tries: Duhan van der Merwe [2]
Conversions: Jaco van der Walt [1 from 1], Jason Baggott [1 from 1]

MUNSTER: Mike Haley (Tyler Bleyendaal ’40); Andrew Conway (Duncan Williams ’64), Chris Farrell, Rory Scannell (Sam Arnold ’58), Keith Earls; JJ Hanrahan, Conor Murray; Dave Kilcoyne (Jeremy Loughman ’65), Niall Scannell (Kevin O’Byrne ’61), John Ryan (Ciaran Parker ’65); Tadhg Beirne, Billy Holland (Fineen Wycherley ’58); Peter O’Mahony (Gavin Coombes ’58), Chris Cloete, Arno Botha.

EDINBURGH: Dougie Fife; Tom Brown, George Taylor, Juan Pablo Socino, Duhan van der Merwe; Jaco van der Walt (Jason Baggott ’60), Nathan Fowles (Sean Kennedy ’17, HIA); Rory Sutherland (Darryl Marfo ’60), David Cherry (Ross Ford ’60), Murray McCallum (Pietro Ceccarelli ’46); Jamie Hodgson (Callum Atkinson ’65), Callum Hunter-Hill; Ally Miller, Lewis Wynne (Senitiki Nayalo ’58), Luke Hamilton.

Referee: Nigel Owens (WRU). 

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