Agen vs Edinburgh Rugby, Fri, 20/11/2015 - 19:30

Had there been a man of the match in the French legs of the competition it would surely have gone to John Hardie who involved himself in every area of the game, a tenacious performance earning him his first try in the black and red.

After last week’s home win over FC Grenoble, Edinburgh continued their European winning ways with a 27-6 defeat of Agen at Stade Armandie before a partisan crowd and in dreadful weather conditions.

Rugby very much took second place before kick-off, with a minute’s silence followed by a rousing rendition of La Marseillaise reminding players and supporters of last weekend’s horrific events in Paris. Both teams wore Tricolour armbands and emotions were high.

Swirling wind and a torrential downpour added to the sombre start to the occasion but both parties were soon ripping up the field apace.

In under two minutes lock Anton Bresler had left the field after a ferocious knock, replaced by Alex Toolis, with advantage switching by the second.

Agen’s opening gambit against Edinburgh was swiftly repelled by the combined forces of Du Preez and McKenzie and a driving maul from the home side firmly put in reverse.

As Agen were subsequently pinged at the breakdown, stand-off Greig Tonks lined up the penalty, into the wind and rain, at an angle and slotted the first points after 21 minutes.

Three minutes later it was deja vu as Tonks struck successfully again with the penalty for a similar offence.

Edinburgh’s scrum was reigning supreme and a pick and go from the back of the set piece nearly put the visitors over for the first try. That precipitated a series of reset scrums, however, which eventually led to the penalty try six minutes from half time. Tonks maintained his 100% record by seeing the ball through the sticks.

Flanker John Hardie, who was causing all sorts of trouble for the home side, nearly crossed just before half time, leaving the home side in disarray time and again.

Four minutes into the second half Hardie was again featuring large in the action, making a greta break from halfway to offload to no 8 Cornell Du Preez, albeit a squad of Agen players bundled him over the line. Tonks again added the extras.

It was 50 minutes before Agen register their first points, through a penalty, which was nearly wiped out four minutes later when Du Preez again cast his shadow across the line.

Our packs pressed time and again, driving the maul, which eventually resulted in Hardie crossing off the back of one such assault. Tonks again added the extras to make it 27-6 into the last ten minutes.

Just as the first twenty minutes had sped by, the last ten minutes seemed to go on forever. Knock-ons, turnover ball and slipped passes saw the ball go from end to end and, following an issue at the breakdown well past 80 minutes lock Fraser McKenzie was yellow carded. Just seconds later possession changed hands again, the ball was kicked out and it was all over, Edinburgh triumphant again in France.

Team lineups

Agen
Edinburgh Rugby

Backs

15 Francois Tardieu
14 Leka Tagotago
13 Pierre Fouyssac
12 Julien Heriteau
11 Filipo Nakosi
10 Francois Bouvier
9 Clement Darbo

Backs

Forwards

1 Quentin Bethune
2 Marc Barthomeuf
3 Nicolas Chocou
4 Jean-Baptiste Roidot
5 Leo Bastien
6 Sione Tau
7 Antoine Miquel
8 Marc Baget

Substitutes

16 Florian Dufour
17 Viliamu Afatia
18 Dave Ryan
19 Corentin Braendlin
20 Felici en Vergnon
21 Baptiste Cadiou
22 Timothe Guillimin
23 Benoit Sicart
Attendance: 
4 532
Man of the match: 
n/a

European Rugby Challenge Cup 2015/16 table

PosTeamPWLDPts
1Grenoble651022
2London Irish633017
3Edinburgh Rugby642017
4Agen60602