Edinburgh (3) 17-26 (12) Munster

Two tries from EDP winger Dougie Fife put the first five-pointers on the board for Edinburgh Rugby in this season's Heineken Cup campaign but it was too little, too late for the home side who were defeated 17-26 by Munster this afternoon.

They did, nonetheless, deny the visitor's the bonus point and showed what they are capable of in the closing ten minutes, with positives to be taken from Fife's 20-year-old EDP colleagues Robin Hislop getting his first start at loose-head, and Alex Allan making his club debut as his replacement.

The home side's eagerness to improve form saw mistakes made early on as they went behind in the opening minutes, as O'Gara successfully negotiated the uprights to put Munster 0-3 ahead.

Clearly rattled, some desperate defending from the home side saw Tonks fumble the ball then get tackled into touch just metres from the Munster line. The visitors, however were guilty of their own scrambling over the egg and were duly pinged for going in over the top.

A knock-on from Munster after a fumbled lineout, dangerously close to their line, precipitated in a series of scrums as they tried to clear - at the fifth attempt the ball was booted high to be collected by Laidlaw but more dropped passes brought that phase of good work to a close.

Solid attacking from Tonks followed by a neat chip through the middle gave lineout ball to Edinburgh but it was duly stolen by Munster who were awarded a penalty minutes later. O'Gara hooked the attempt wide, however, to keep it 0-3 after 22 minutes.

Into the second period of the first half, Munster began digging deep and started to make some progress, with a scrum on the 22 duly resulting in Edinburgh being penalised for collapsing and another opportunity for O'Gara - this time he didn't miss (0-6).

As Munster surged at the restart, what appeared to be a straightforward clearance was knocked-on by the usually solid Tonks at the crucial moment, again giving Munster the advantage at the 22.

Edinburgh were penalised at the scrum and O'Gara nailed the penalty to make it 0-9 on the half-hour mark.

Less than two minutes later the penalty went Edinburgh's way, following an infringement at the lineout from Munster, allowing Laidlaw to put the first points on the board for Edinburgh (3-9).

The narrowing in score was shortly cancelled out, however, as Edinburgh were penalised for a knock-on, sparking protests from the home side to the late-replacement referee.

O'Gara slotted the shot, however, to make it 3-12 with five minutes till half time.

Despite a Tonks intercept as Munster continually threatened the line, the advantage stayed with the visitors until Edinburgh managed to knock them off their scrum and Laidlaw cleared to touch and the whistle blew to signal the end of the first half in which Munster had done well to marshal procedings in the face of a robust Edinburgh defence.

HALF-TIME: Edinburgh Rugby 3-12 Munster

Having collected their own lineout, Munster started probing along the Edinburgh 22, causing them to withstand five minutes of intense pressure and force the penalty before their frustration was compounded by the sin-binning of their prop Dave Kilcoyne.

After a deep kick into the Edinburgh 22 by O'Gara, Denton collected the ball in front of his own posts and broke free but threw a forward pass to Tonks offering a switch in pressure from a Munster scrum on Edinburgh's 5m line.

The Munster scrum half, Murray, attempted a dink over into the try zone but Laidlaw parried to force dead ball. The referee adjudged the Edinburgh captain's actions to be cynical, however, and produced another yellow card, reducing the contest to 14 against 14.

Munster seized the advantage and forced a scrum on the Edinburgh 5m. In the following drive, Munster were awarded a penalty try, which was duly converted by O'Gara to make it 3-19 at 55 minutes.

The return of Kilcoyne at 58 minutes heralded increased pressure on the home side and another try for the visitors as Murray crossed and O'Gara converted to make it 3-26 at 62 minutes.

A period of spilled ball football between the sides led to frayed tempers which overflowed just before the 65th minute with the referee calling a timeout cooldown, with the home players reacting to a kick from O'Gara.

Laidlaw returned to the fray minutes later but the force was all Munster, a knock-on on the line denying them another try.

A short clearance didn't see the home side out of trouble, however, and Munster's thin red line continued to advance. Edinburgh picked up the loose ball but a spill from Laidlaw gave the advantage back to Munster who advanced once again with ten minutes on the clock.

A raft of substitutions, including a debut for Allan, from Edinburgh visibly spurred them on and a sparky break from Scott, assisted by great running from Ben Atiga, saw the ball shipped wide to Fife, who crossed for Edinburgh's first try of the game and the campaign.

The conversion from Laidlaw made it 10-26 with eight minutes to go.

Four minutes later Edinburgh secured advantage which Laidlaw opted to kick to touch for five metre lineout.

There was great awareness again from Fife who scooped up the pass and forced his way through the Munster defence to land his second score of the afternoon.

Laidlaw added the extras to make it 17-26 with two minutes remaining.

Edinburgh Rugby 17-26 Munster

Edinburgh Rugby: Greig Tonks; Dougie Fife, Ben Cairns, Matt Scott, Tim Visser; Greig Laidlaw capt, Richie Rees; Robin Hislop, Steven Lawrie, Willem Nel; Grant Gilchrist, Sean Cox; Stuart McInally, Dimitri Basilaia, David Denton. Replacements: Andy Titterrell (on for Lawrie, 48m), Alex Allan (on for Hislop, 69m), Geoff Cross (on for Nel, 69m), Netani Talei (on for Gilchrist, 69m), Roddy Grant (on for Basilaia, 40m), Piers Francis, Ben Atiga (on for Cairns, 54), Sep Visser

Munster: F Jones; D Howlett capt, K Earls, J Downey, S Zebo; R O'Gara, C Murray; D Kilcoyne, D Varley, BJ Botha; D O'Callaghan, D Ryan; P O'Mahony, T O'Donnell, J Coughlan. Replacements: M Sherry, W du Preez, J Ryan, B Holland, P Butler, D Williams, I Keatley, C Laulala.
Referee: Greg Garner (RFU)
Attendance: 6220