RugbyU: Edinburgh end Munster jinx in style

Edinburgh ended a run of six successive defeats by two-time European Cup winners Munster in style on Saturday with a 29-23 victory over the Irish province in their opening European Cup Pool Five clash.

Scotland scrum-half Greig Laidlaw was the driving force, kicking 19 points including converting the two Edinburgh tries as they made an impressive start to their campaign.

Munster, who also lost their opening pool match last term, took the consolation of a defensive bonus point.

In a pool that also contains Perpignan and Gloucester, Edinburgh can have realistic hopes of reaching the last eight like they did two years ago.

Edinburgh burst out of the blocks against Munster, opening up a 10-0 lead after just 12 minutes.

A fine try by Matt Scott which was converted by Laidlaw and then a penalty from the kicker had the Irishmen rattled.

However, the European heavyweights hit back to level at 10-10 in the 20th minute as Kiwi centre Casey Laulala scored, only his second try in the competition in 24 games.

Donnacha Ryan blocked Laidlaw's clearing kick from a line-out and the ball got moved along to Laulala who burst over the line to touch down from five metres out -- it was converted by Ian Keatley, who had got them off the mark with a penalty.

Munster conceded a penalty immediately after equalising, which Laidlaw gratefully accepted to give the hosts a 13-10 lead, only for Munster to reply with another try through Mike Sherry, who picked up from a metre out and hurled himself across the line -- Keatley converted for 17-13.

However, more ill discipline by Munster saw Laidlaw knock over another two penalties to give the hosts the lead once again at 19-17.

Keatley slotted over a penalty from wide out on the left in the 53rd minute to give the visitors a one point lead, 20-19.

Just over 10 minutes later, as Munster poured on the pressure, Keatley converted another penalty after an Edinburgh infringement, to give them a 23-19 lead.

However, the hosts went back in front with a fine try by Scotland's Dutch-born wing Tim Visser, whose electric pace proved too much for the two Munster covering defenders.

Laidlaw continued his faultless day as he converted for 26-23 and Munster's afternoon got worse as their Irish win Simon Zebo was forced off with what looked like a hamstring injury.

Laidlaw made it seven kicks from seven attempts with just over four minutes remaining, as he harried Munster into another infringement, to leave Munster requiring a converted try to win.

Munster's fellow Irish provinces Ulster and Connacht had enjoyed mixed fortunes on Friday.

Ulster recorded a splendid 22-16 victory over English giants and two-time European champions Leicester in Pool 5 while Connacht, traditionally the weakest of the four provinces, went down to a 23-17 defeat at home to English side Saracens in Pool 3.

France's four-time winners Toulouse top that pool after predictably whopping Italian outfit Zebre 38-5. pi/lp