Bordeaux-Bègles vs Edinburgh Rugby, Fri, 17/10/2014 - 20:00

Every underdog – “actually we were probably the undercat here” said head coach Alan Solomons after the match – has its day and October 17 will be the date engraved in the hearts of all connected to Edinburgh Rugby as they saw off their much fancied French opposition.

Bordeaux-Begles came into the match fresh from hammerings dished out to Top 14 league-mates Castres and Clermont and were expected to perform similarly this evening at Stade Andre Moga.

However the tables were turned in an hard-hitting encounter on a warm evening in western France as Edinburgh nailed the win, 15-13, and stunned not only the full house in Begles but probably many of those having to follow the game on Twitter, the encounter not being broadcast in any other medium.

Both teams started as they meant to – and went – on, bruising tackles, challenges at the scrum and a number of chances missed. What Edinburgh missed within the opening minutes, however, was captain Mike Coman who, despite struggling to stay on after a hefty dunt to his lower leg, had to leave the field, replaced by Roddy Grant.  The captain’s armband passed to vice captain Grant Gilchrist for the remainder of the game.

Rolling mauls were the weapon of choice from the home side but Edinburgh retaliated, a French player flying out of the ensuing tornado, much to the horror of the Bordeaux fans – and their subsequent anger as the referee waved play to continue.

Bordeaux retaliated and it required every ounce of Edinburgh guile and every stone of their defence to stop what looked like a sure-fire try from Beauxis.

Throughout the first half the scrum had again caused challenges and it was Edinburgh who were pinged for the infringements, two minutes before the break, with Beauxis landing the penalty to make it 3-0 at half time.

Two minutes into the second half, recent history repeated itself, but the French stand-off’s attempt came up short.

Rallied into action, Edinburgh went ahead when a solid passage of play saw Dougie Fife put legs on it and cross the whitewash in the top corner, the conversion just wide.

Again the advantage switched and soon Bordeaux were in the lead again, as their 20-year-old captain Serin crossed, Beauxis adding the extras.

Into the last fifteen minutes and a rolling maul sees bodies strewn all over the place – with Burleigh yellow carded for his efforts and Beauxis adding another three points to Bordeaux’s tally.

With a roll around of players to cover the yellow carding, Nick McLennan steps up to take the penalty subsequently awarded to Edinburgh and we were into the last 10 minutes.

Sustained pressure on the line saw Edinburgh awarded a penalty try for Bordeaux’s infringement of our rolling maul and Heathcote slotted the conversion, right in front of the posts, with five minutes to go.

Five minutes that felt like five years but Edinburgh held on for the win. The 15-13 final LED score shone through the night. But not half as bright as the smiles on the faces of players, coaches and all connected with Edinburgh Rugby as the reality of what had just happened sunk in.

Team lineups

Bordeaux-Bègles
Edinburgh Rugby

Backs

15 Darly Domvo
14 Charles Brousse
13 Felix Le Bourhis
12 Thibault Lacroix
11 Lucas Blanc
10 Lionel Beauxis
9 Baptiste Serin

Backs

15
14
13
12
11
10
9

Forwards

1 Laurent Del Boulbes
2 Benat Auzqui
3 Benjamin Sa
4 Berend Botha
5 Adam Jaulhac
6 Matthew Graham
7 Bertrand Guiry
8 Tai Tuifua

Substitutes

16 Clement Maynadier
17 Sebastien Taofifenua
18 Patrick Toetu
19 Marco Tauleigne
20 Jean-Blaise Lespin
21 Yann Lesgougues
22 Pierre Bernard
23 Romain Lonca

Substitutes

16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23