Edinburgh Rugby vs Lyon, Fri, 24/10/2014 - 19:45

Edinburgh Rugby secured their second successive victory in the European Rugby Challenge Cup, beating Lyon 25-17 at BT Murrayfield, after numerous injury setbacks and losing five players in the opening quarter.

Coach Alan Solomons afterwards praised the character of his Edinburgh side, who came through adversity to record a morale-boosting victory.


“This actually tops it [last week’s win at Bordeaux]. To lose five players like that – in 37 years, I’ve never seen anything like it – speaks volumes for the strength of character of this side.

Speaking of the injuries sustained, Solomons added: “Hamish Watson has a broken jaw, Roddy Grant suffered a fractured cheekbone and Sam Beard took a knock to the head, so we took him off.”

Putting in a Man of the Match performance with six penalties and a conversion, Tom Heathcote secured the win with his final shot at goal in the last minute, to take Edinburgh’s winning streak to three matches.

Edinburgh began the match in the best possible manner with a penalty in the very first minute. Heathcote slotted the three points to take an early lead for the home side.

The set piece was an important weapon for much of the opening 40 minutes and it produced the first try of the match shortly after Heathcote’s penalty. Powerful play from the Edinburgh pack ensured they got over the gain line. As the ball was whipped through the backs, Tim Visser joined the line and fed centre Phil Burleigh. The New Zealander burst through the initial line of defence and drew Lyon full back Jérôme Porical to send winger Jack Cuthbert in at the corner. Heathcote was on target with the conversion and extended the lead to 10-0 after just seven minutes.

Lyon had very little possession and when they did secure the ball, they were put under severe Edinburgh pressure. Edinburgh won a scrum penalty which Heathcote duly converted to give the hosts a 13-0 lead without having to do that much.

If Edinburgh had smiles on their faces in the first half, they would be taken with a large pinch of salt. Alan Solomon’s men lost no less than five players in the opening quarter. Burleigh, Roddy Grant, Sam Beard, Hamish Watson and captain Grant Gilchrist all had to leave the pitch injured.

The visitors had a brief spell of territory in the Edinburgh half. They won countless penalties and scored their first try of the match as a result of Edinburgh indiscipline. A 5m lineout led to a powerful driving maul that Edinburgh could not handle. No 8 Masi Matadigo went over for the try and Porical added the extra two points to reduce the gap to 13-7.

Three further penalties for Heathcote extended the Edinburgh lead to 22-7, which they would keep until after half-time.

Lyon started to fight back from the opening minutes of the second period and looked more comfortable with ball in hand. A Porical penalty after 43 minutes reduced the deficit to 12 points.

From then on, it seemed as though the home side were trying too hard to push on. Handling errors and indiscipine crept into a side that had dominated in the opening 40 minutes. Despite an opportunity for Visser – after Heathcote kicked through – the Dutchman could not capitalise.

While Edinburgh were more adventurous and solid in attack, it was Lyon that were slowly coming back into the match. Solid in the lineout and in the loose, Edinburgh looked by far the more potent attack, but Lyon kept in touch courtesy of their powerful maul. It delivered their second try of the match with Joseph Tison the scorer.

Now a five-point game, Edinburgh had to hang on tight. While Lyon camped out on the hosts’ line, they could not replicate their driving maul technique and instead gave away penalties at crucial points of the game.

Into the last ten minutes, Lyon looked to push the game, and strung several phases together in their backline. Edinburgh’s defence remained resolute and managed to survive the French onslaught by winning a crucial scrum on the 22.

The attacking waves kept on coming though and Lyon were back to within five metres of the Edinburgh line through a dainty kick from fly-half Loursac. From the visitors’ lineout, the plan was simple; win the ball and clear. But despite doing this, the ball only found Thibault Regard who ran straight back at the home side.

Edinburgh were under the cosh but again managed to relieve the pressure after winning another scrum penalty. Suddenly they found some momentum as the match entered the final three minutes. Edinburgh then won successive penalties and through Heathcote’s penalty, were able to edge to a 25-17 victory.

Coach Alan Solomons afterwards praised the character of his Edinburgh side, who came through adversity to record a morale-boosting victory.

“This actually tops it [last week’s win at Bordeaux]. To lose five players like that – in 37 years, I’ve never seen anything like it – speaks volumes for the strength of character of this side.

Speaking of the injuries sustained, Solomons added: “Hamish Watson has a broken jaw, Roddy Grant suffered a fractured cheek bone and Sam Beard took a knock to the head, so we took him off.”
 

Team lineups

Edinburgh Rugby
Lyon

Backs

15
14
13
12
11
10
9

Backs

15 Jerome Porical
14 Franck Romanet
13 Paul Bonnefond
12 Waisele Seru Sukanaveita
11 Thibaut Regard
10 Romain Loursac
9 Mathieu Loree

Forwards

1 Sami Mavinga
2 Damien Fitzpatrick
3 Tui Hoani
4 Mickael De Marco
5 Connie Basson
6 Julien Puricelli
7 Alexandre Derrien
8 Masi Matadigo

Substitutes

16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23

Substitutes

16 Vincent Colliat
17 Emmanuel Felsina
18 Horace Pungea
19 Joe Tuineau
20 Steevy Cerqueira
21 Adrien Bau
22 Didier Tison
23 Vincent Martin
Attendance: 
4 651
Man of the match: 
Tom Heathcote