Edinburgh Rugby vs Bordeaux-Bègles, Fri, 23/01/2015 - 19:45

Edinburgh Rugby secured their place in the European Rugby Challenge Cup quarter finals with a dominant victory over Bordeaux-Bègles at BT Murrayfield on Friday. Scrum-half Sam Hildalgo-Clyne scored 28 points, including two tries in a commanding performance.

Both sides traded early penalties before Hildalgo-Clyne bagged the first of his tries with a blindside dart after a commanding driving maul before adding a second penalty shortly after. Lionel Beauxis replied with a penalty for the visitors before Hildalgo-Clyne slotted his second of the half.

Tries from Matt Scott and Willem Nel from close range helped extend the lead for the home side, before Hildalgo-Clyne crossed for his second of the match. Bordeaux fought back with tries from Pierre Bernard and Captain Baptiste Serin but Edinburgh ran out convincing winners.

Alan Solomons praised the performance of his team after securing the bonus point win and topping the group. “I think the team has come really a long way. To come away with the bonus point was very positive.”

Speaking of Hildalgo-Clyne's performance, Solomons said “he's an outstanding talent. He's electric around the pitch and it's a racing certainty that he'll play for Scotland," said Solomons.

An early knock-on from fullback Baptiste Serin gave the hosts an attacking platform inside the opposition 22 and scrum-half Sam Hildalgo-Clyne slotted the first points courtesy of a sixth minute penalty resulting from a powerful opening scrum.

The initial quarter of an hour was largely dominated by territorial kicking by both sides but Edinburgh looked the more dangerous in open play, in particular the centre pairing of Phil Burleigh and Matt Scott.

Arguably the best try scoring opportunity of the opening quarter came in the 15th minute after Dougie Fife opened up the Bordelais defence, racing down field. He then fed David Denton who was unable to deliver a clean pass to Hidalgo-Clyne with the line approaching.
Prolonged attack in the Edinburgh half yielded the first points for Bordeaux; Edinburgh strayed offside in midfield thus allowing fly-half Lionel Beauxis to level the scores at 3-3.

Further dominating in the set piece, Edinburgh made best use of their power advantage to maul to within a few yards of the line. Hildalgo-Clyne then took command and using the blindside, cleverly dived over for the try. The conversion unsuccessful, Edinburgh nevertheless led 8-3.

Another collapsing of the scrum from the Bordeaux pack led to another penalty opportunity for the scrum-half which he duly struck over to extend the lead to 11-3 after 31 minutes.

No sooner had the hosts stretched their lead than Bordeaux negated Hildalgo-Clyne's penalty. Beauxis was again successful with his attempt and reduced the deficit to five points.

Hildalgo-Clyne punished Bordeaux's indiscipline once more and converted his third penalty of the half to ensure Edinburgh led 14-6 at the break.

The second half started in much the same fashion as the first finished. Bordeaux conceded an early penalty for holding on, and Hildalgo-Clyne chronologically slotted the necessary three points to extend the hosts' lead to a healty 17-6 after 42 minutes.

Desperately searching for some inspiration, Bordeaux endeavoured to run from deep. Imprecision and handling errors prevented any chance of that and had it not been for Edinburgh giving away a cheap penalty on the back of strong counter-attack they may have found themselves further behind.

Edinburgh further extended their lead after centre Matt Scott touched down from short range. Inroads had been made initially by prop forward Alasdair Dickinson who charged through a gaping hole, only to be dragged down within yards of the line. Scott then picked up and crashed over for the hosts' second try, with Hildalgo-Clyne converting for a 24-6 lead after 50 minutes.

Bordeaux soon hit back with a try of their own through a deft chip kick through from replacement fly-half Pierre Bernard. The subsequent chase from Serin allowed the captain to run in almost unopposed under the posts. Bernard converted to narrow the gap to 24-13 on 54 minutes.

The Scots' resilience resilience showed in abundance as they fought back immediately. Prop Willem Nel picked up and crossed for Edinburgh's third try, picking up from the base of the ruck and bulldozing over. Hildalgo-Clyne's conversion was again successful and the home side surged commandingly 31-13 ahead.

Bordeaux seldom had any chance to mount any retaliation; despite the introduction of French international prop Jean-Baptiste Poux, they still struggled immensely in the scrums - which were at least kept to a minimum in the second period.

The near 5,000 strong home crowd had more to cheer about as Hidalgo-Clyne crossed over for his second try - again confirmed by the TMO. The conversion successful, the Man of Match notched an impressive 28 points in the process and took Edinburgh out of reach.

By the time Bordeaux started playing, it was too late. Pierre Bernard grabbed a late try under the posts after a kick through and along with his conversion duly reduced the gap to 38-20 with four minutes to play. Encouraged by this, the visitors began to open up the Edinburgh defence. Edinburgh, with tired legs had the game won by this point and closed out a largely comfortable victory.

Solomons said post-match: “We have had a reasonably tough pool and to come through it has been pretty good.

“We set our stall out, we said we wanted to take the playoffs in Europe and we have done that."

Team lineups

Edinburgh Rugby
Bordeaux-Bègles

Backs

15
14
13
12
11
10
9

Backs

15 Baptiste Serin
14 Levi Aumua
13 Charles Brousse
12 Thibault Lacroix
11 Paulin Riva
10 Lionel Beauxis
9 Heini Adams

Forwards

1 Jefferson Poirot
2 Benat Auzqui
4 Julien Le Devedec
5 Jan Andre Marais
6 Bertrand Guiry
7 Hugh Chalmers
8 Tai Tuifua

Substitutes

Substitutes

16 Ole Avei
17 Sebastien Taofifenua
18 Partick Toetu
19 Jean-Baptiste Poux
20 Matthew Graham
21 Yann Lasgourgues
22 Pierre Bernard
23 Matthew Clarkin
Attendance: 
4 817
Man of the match: 
Sam Hidalgo-Clyne