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Forwards ensure a fine day for Munster

Ireland scrum-half Conor Murray scored a try-double for Munster but it was the Irish province’s pack that came to the fore in this comfortable bonus-point victory over Edinburgh.

Edinburgh centre Chris Dean scored the game’s opening try but Munster responded immediately through Murray – and didn’t look back from there.

Murray completed his double – both tries coming off the back of fierce scrum pushes – and academy product Conor Oliver, pictured, showed neat footwork to notch Munster’s third shortly after the break.

The bonus point was all wrapped up with 25 minutes to go, as Dave O’Callaghan surged over to cap a fine day for the Munstermen before John Hardie grabbed a consolation score.

Edinburgh were always facing a stiff task against a Munster side that had not been beaten in 2016 at Thomond Park thus far.

And they had to weather an early storm as the hosts won a scrum against the head only for fly-half Tyler Bleyendaal to push the three points on offer wide.

After some promising play from both sides were snuffed out by the opposing defences, Edinburgh lock Fraser McKenzie received a yellow card for making contact with Jack O’Donoghue’s head – who was subsequently replaced by Oliver.

However, Munster could not make their man advantage count and were let off the hook when Duncan Weir’s long-range penalty attempt went awry.

Their luck was to run out shortly after as Dean ran in uncontested from halfway in the 23rd minute after the ball squirted out of the side of a ruck, with Weir adding the extras.

There were no signs of panic among the Munster ranks though as their pack took full advantage of an Edinburgh offside and powered over from five metres out – Murray applying the dab down.

Bleyendaal’s conversion made it all square and, after a period of attrition, Munster made their forwards dominance pay again.

Edinburgh failed to secure the ball after another powerful Munster push at the scrum and the opportunistic Murray was the first one to pounce over the try-line. Bleyendaal’s conversion sent the hosts in at the break 14-7 up.

Upon the restart it took just two minutes for Munster to strike again as Bleyendaal, with two players hanging off him, offloaded to flanker Oliver who ghosted past Weir for the score.

After Bleyendaal’s conversion, the game reverted to type as the away side struggled to fend off Munster’s scrum and a series of penalties saw prop Allan Dell yellow carded.

Ultimately nothing came of the move, but by the 57th minute the bonus point was sealed as O’Callaghan charged through after finding space.

Munster continued to look dangerous – through wing Darren Sweetnam in particular – but Edinburgh to their credit refused to give up.

Hardie, on as a replacement, rumbled over with a little more than ten minutes to go and the score would stay at 28-14 after Blair Kinghorn’s conversion.

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