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Page last updated at 21:41 GMT, Friday, 18 February 2011

Munster 23-13 Edinburgh

Munster (13) 23
Tries: Buckley, Howlett 2 Con: O'Gara Pen: O'Gara 2
Edinburgh (13) 13
Try: Cross Con: Paterson Pens: Paterson 2

By Andy Campbell

Doug Howlett goes over for try in Munster's win over Edinburgh
Doug Howlett goes over for try in Munster's win over Edinburgh

Munster consolidated their place at the top of the Magners League with victory over visitors Edinburgh.

The hosts' Tony Buckley and Edinburgh's Geoff Cross exchanged tries before Doug Howlett went over for the hosts to level the scores at 13-13 at half-time

Ronan O'Gara's edged Munster ahead with a penalty early in the second half.

And Howlett's converted try ensured the win for the home side, which stretches their lead over Leinster and Cardiff Blues, who play each other on Saturday.

Munster now hold an 11-point lead over second-place Leinster, who are two points ahead of Blues.

The result also means Nick Scrivener is still waiting for his first win taking over from the sacked Rob Moffat as Edinburgh's head coach last month.

Edinburgh's Chris Paterson struck the game's first penalty and it was quickly cancelled out by O'Gara after both sides committed infringements in the opening stages.

Munster slowly began to take control and Tim Visser's knock on began a series scrums and rucks that eventually led to Buckley touching down in the right-hand corner, the try awarded after consultation with the TMO. O'Gara dragged his conversion attempt wide of the far post.

Paterson drew Edinburgh to within two points with another penalty before Denis Hurley led a charge that almost gave Munster a second try.

The ball was recycled several times until Johne Murphy tried to offload to Howlett on the right wing but the pass drifted into touch to relieve the pressure on Edinburgh.

And, after surviving more Munster pressure, Edinburgh advanced and moved from left to right before Greig Laidlaw cut in to set up Geoff Cross to go over, with the TMO once again required to confirm the try. Paterson converted.

The visitors were in command and Visser would have added another try had he been able to collect an offload in the corner.

Laidlaw's penalty from distance fell short of the posts and that gave Munster the chance to level when Liefeimi Mafi burst from midfield and released Howlett on the right, the wing powering home the try despite being chased by two Edinburgh players.

But O'Gara was again off target with his conversion attempt, meaning the sides went in level at the interval.

O'Gara was more successful with the boot as he kicked Munster back into the lead with the first penalty of the second half.

Munster were finding more and more space as they pressed and Murphy thought he had registered another try after running on to O'Gara's grubber kick but the TMO ruled that Laidlaw had put pressure on the ball before the full-back had touched down.

But the home side were not to be denied when Mafi and Murphy combined to set up Howlett for his second try.

Munster: J. Murphy, Howlett, Mafi, Warwick, D. Hurley, O'Gara, Stringer, du Preez, Varley, Buckley, D. Ryan, O'Driscoll, Leamy, O'Donnell, Coughlan.

Replacements: Zebo for D. Hurley (74), Williams for Stringer (69), Fogarty for Varley (69), Holland for O'Donnell (60). Not Used: Horan, Archer, Nagle, Gleeson.

Edinburgh: Paterson; L Jones, Cairns, King, Visser, D Blair, Laidlaw, Traynor, Kelly, G Cross, MacLeod, S Turnbull, MacKenzie, Rennie, Talei.

Replacements: Webster for L. Jones (75), De Luca for Cairns (67), Niven for Traynor (57), Young for G Cross (75), Grant for MacKenzie (71), MacDonald for Rennie (37). Not Used: Walker, Thompson.

Att: 20,000

Ref: N Owens (WRFU)

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