Edinburgh usurped some of European rugby’s biggest names to reach the quarter finals of this Champions Cup and will have to overcome the next if they are to advance further.
Twotime champions and last year’s semi-finalists Munster, who knocked out Edinburgh from the Pro14 Play Offs last season, visit Murrayfield on Saturday,
So how can Richard Cockerill’s men be at a side with a far more European pedigree? Former Edinburgh and Scotland back-row Ally Hogg summarizes what they will need to do if they are supposed to attain the previous four for only the second time.
Munster’s defence is arguably the meanest in Europe. They surrendered the fewest points and tries from the Champions Cup pool stages, the average of just 12 points each game. They are also top of those defence stats from the Pro14, again conceding the fewest tries and points. What can Edinburgh do to breach their solid defence?
It’s likely to be won and missing. The trick is the forwards getting dominance to make distance for wingers Darcy Graham and Duhan Van der Merwe so they are able to acquire one-on-one with defenders. Van der Merwe has been out and out pace and size, and Graham gets got the capability to beat anybody within two or three metres. Using Matt Scott and other people to find those strike runners could bring victory.
Discontinue the pilferers
Complimenting Munster’s iron defence is their ability to pounce on ball at the extremities. They rank differently for turnovers won at the tournament so far and possess well-known pilferers like Peter O’Mahony and CJ Stander within their ranks. Chief among them, even however, is second-row Tadgh Beirne. The Ireland international ended last season’s Champions Cup campaign with 18 turnovers won – more than someone else – as he helped Scarlets hit the previous four. He is high in the charts this period together using 13. Holding on with their ball and obtaining the upper hand at the breakdown will be vital for Edinburgh.
You’re able to find some good off-loads before you hit on the deck – that takes the breakdown out of this game a bit, though it isn’t always simple to do against a sound defence. Yet another choice will be to play with a bit skinnier, to make certain that you obtain support to your breakdown. I guess Edinburgh are working on being really true when clearing out. The last issue that you would like to do is ship two or three more than you want to your breakdown, because then it affects your attack, and you get being strangled.
Rely on internationals
It’s only the 3rd time Edinburgh reach the knockout stages of Europe’s elite competition, and since 2012. Indeed, this season was the first since 2013/14 that the club had even qualified for its rivalry. Munster, however, are twotime winners and realized that the semi-finals last year. Edinburgh will desire their experienced players to show direction to pay for a shortage of big-game nous.
It’s all about keeping a lid onto the delight. You don’t want them being released at the first 20 minutes, throwing everything at Munster, afterward being absolutely knackered. It’s all about controlling that energy and playing sensibly and looking to your more elderly guys like Henry Pyrgos, Grant Gilchrist, John Barclay and WP Nel. They have played plenty of international rugby, and you also want those guys to step up and order what’s going on, thrive on it. Munster understand how to win close games. That is what Edinburgh should know – never to make mistakes when the game’s close and the pressure is. It’s going be small margins which pick the match.