Edinburgh Gunners and Scotland back-row forward Simon Taylor made a welcome return to the field on the back pitches at Murrayfield, playing through the first half of the Gunners back-up squad s 7-5 loss to a Munster A side.
The Gunners led the way with some early pressure but it wasn t until 23 minutes in that the first score came. Against the run of play Munster s powerful winger Ian Dowling sliced his way through the Gunners defence. He shrugged off several tackles before being dragged to the floor by international full-back Hugo Southwell. Dowling s momentum was too much and he was able to ground the ball for the try. Replacement stand-off Barry Keeshan slotted the conversion.
Edinburgh opted more often than not to throw the ball wide off first phase possession, bringing Southwell into the line outside centres Matt Dey and Peter Jorgensen. The full-back s arching runs gave Edinburgh options but Munster s defence held fast.
Southwell s own defence was solid as further Munster attacks were thwarted taking them just 7-0 up at half time. From the restart Edinburgh upped the pace and from a penalty lineout replacement No 8 Dave Callam set-up a driving maul which allowed prop Grant Anderson to crash over under a pile of bodies. Stand-off Ander Monro was unable to level the scores with his conversion attempt.
At times the game lost shape and it wasn t until five minutes from the final whistle that the next clear scoring opportunity presented itself. Edinburgh were penalised just outside their 22 but Keeshan s attempt at goal sailed wide of the mark.
The Gunners were then gifted an opportunity to take the lead but Monro was also unsuccessful from a penalty at the other end of the park in which Munster were pinned by referee Andy MacPherson for killing the ball.
The final play of the match saw Edinburgh awarded a free kick deep in Munster s half and as lock Fergus Pringle took the ball on in midfield, Monro dropped back into the pocket for one last shot at victory. His drop goal attempt hung in the wind but like the penalty before missed its target. The game ending 7-5 to the visitors.
National Academy Manager Phil Smith who took charge of the back-up squad said after: It was great experience and allowed us to bring players up to match speed it was ideal for that. We re delighted that Munster were able to travel across and we d all like to thank the spectators who came along to support us.
Munster A: Mossie Lawlor; Brian Tuohy, Barry Murphy, Paul Devlin, Ian Dowling; Jeremy Manning, Tomas O Leary; Eugene McGovern, Denis Fogarty, Frank Roche; Rory McGrath, Donnacha Ryan; Frank Cogan, Johnny O Connor, Stephen Keogh capt
Replacements: Tony Buckley, Anthony Kavanagh, Padraig O'Brien, Chris De Looze, Ian Dowling, Barry Keeshan, Denis Hurley,
Edinburgh Gunners A: Hugo Southwell; Michael Pyke, Peter Jorgensen, Matt Dey, David McCall; Ander Monro, Rory Lawson; Grant Anderson, Andrew Kelly, Alasdair Dickinson, Fergus Pringle, Steven Turnbull, Apolosi Satala, Simon Taylor, Alan MacDonald
Replacements: Steven Lawrie, Alan Jacobsen, Kyle Traynor, Alasdair Strokosch, Dave Callam, Ross Rennie, Jamie Blackwood, Phil Godman and Richard Borthwick (Stewart s Melville FP)
Report of the game from the Edinburgh site.