Edinburgh Rugby vs Perpignan, Sat, 11/01/2014 - 18:00

Edinburgh Rugby claimed a valuable win over French giants Perpignan this evening at Murrayfield Stadium to keep their European Cup knockout qualification hopes alive.

The hosts scored three tries through Tom Brown, Cornell Du Preez and Dougie Fife, while Greig Laidlaw added the rest of the points from the kicking tee.

James Hook had kept Perpignan in touch with three penalties of his own in the first-half, but they fell away in the second period.

Match report...

Alan Solomons’ side made an impressive start to the match, with the pack winning hard yards after a kick to touch from full-back Jack Cuthbert earned the initial territory.

The visitors came in at the side to collapse the Edinburgh Rugby maul, which allowed captain Greig Laidlaw to open the scoring with the resulting penalty (3-0).

That lead was extended shortly after when wing Tom Brown gathered a loose ball, spotted a gap in the Perpignan defence and raced over the line from the 22.

Laidlaw’s conversion meant the hosts held a 10-0 lead after quarter of an hour.

In a rare foray into the Edinburgh Rugby half during the opening quarter, the visitors worked good field position and, after the home side were penalised by referee Peter Fitzgibbon, James Hook reduced the arrears to 10-3.

Following a Hook penalty to touch, the French side worked several phases inside the 22 and were rewarded with another penalty.

Despite being behind on the scoreboard, Hook opted not to go for the posts and it was a decision that almost brought immediate reward as the Perpignan pack surged over the Edinburgh Rugby line.

Fitzgibbon checked with his Television Match Official, who decided the ball had been held up over the line.

Despite that let-off, Solomons’ side conceded another penalty, but held on thanks to some tenacious tackling, firstly from Nick De Luca and then Du Preez.

The home side were again penalised inside their own 22 and this time Hook opted for the uprights, further reducing the deficit as half-time drew closer (10-6).

Despite a miss just before the break, the Edinburgh Rugby skipper composed himself moments later and duly made no mistake in adding the three points before the interval.

HALF-TIME: Edinburgh Rugby 13-6 USA Perpignan

Hook was presented with another chance at the posts shortly after the resumption, and the Wales internationalist made no mistake with his third penalty of the evening (13-9).

However, the visitors were dealt a major blow on 44 minutes when captain Guilhem Guirado was sent to the sin-bin.

From the resulting penalty, the hosts kicked to touch and worked several phases of play inside the visitors’ 22 before the impressive Du Preez barged over in the corner.

Laidlaw landed a superb conversion from the left-hand touchline and Solomons’ side led 20-9.

The visitors kept the ball tight as they attempted to run down the clock during their captain’s spell in the sin-bin, but resolute defending kept them at bay.

With Guirado waiting to return, a beautifully-weighted grubber from replacement full-back Bezuidenhout allowed Fife to gather and evade the covering defence to score.

Laidlaw added the conversion to make it 27-9 as the home side went in search of the four-try bonus point in the final quarter.

With Scotland duo Ross Ford and Grant Gilchrist to the fore, Solomons’ charges were back on the attack and were rewarded with another penalty.

That attack came to nothing and, amidst a flurry of replacements, the French side got themselves back into the match when Maxime Delonca sneaked over in the corner.

Hook missed the resulting conversion, leaving the scores at 27-16 with five minutes to play.

Edinburgh Rugby pushed for the fourth try, but it was to prove elusive as the Frenchmen held out in the closing stages.

FULL-TIME: Edinburgh Rugby 27-16 USA Perpignan

Edinburgh Rugby: 15 Jack Cuthbert, 14 Dougie Fife, 13 Nick De Luca, 12 Ben Atiga, 11 Tom Brown, 10 Greig Tonks, 9 Greig Laidlaw (captain); 1 Alasdair Dickinson, 2 Ross Ford, 3 Willem Nel, 4  Grant Gilchrist, 5 Izak Van Der Westhuizen, 6 Cornell Du Preez, 7 Roddy Grant, 8 David Denton. Substitutes: 16 Aleki Lutui on for Ford (75’), 17 WIcus Blaauw on for Dickinson (65’), 18 Geoff Cross on for Nel, (62’), 19 Ollie Atkins on for van der Westhuizen (54'), 20 Tomas Leonardi on for Grant (70’), 21 Grayson Hart on for Laidlaw (75’), 22 Carl Bezuidenhout on for Cuthbert (half-time), 23 Joaquin Dominguez on for De Luca (75’).

USA Perpignan: 15 James Hook, 14 Richard Haughton, 13 Lifeimi Mafi, 12 Sione Piukala, 11 Wandile Mjekevu, 10 Tommy Allen, 9 Dewalt Duvenage;1 Sona Taumalolo, 2 Guilhem Guirado (captain), 3 Paulica Ion, 4 Sebastien Vahaamahina, 5 Luke Charteris, 6 Dan Leo, 7 Jean-Pierre Perez, 8 Karl Chateau. Substitutes: 16 Maxime Delonca on for Perez (54’-57’) and for Vilaceca (63’) 17 Jean Baptiste Custoja on for Taumalolo (66’), 18 Kisi Pulu on for Ion (63’), 19 Luke Narraway on for Charteris (62’), 20 Tom Ecochard on for Duvenage (50’), 21 David Marty on for Haughton (75’), 22 Joffrey Michel on for Allan (57’), 23 Guillaume Vilaceca on for Vahaamahina (half-time).

Team lineups

Edinburgh Rugby
Perpignan

Backs

15
14
13
12
11
10
9

Backs

15 James Hook
14 Richard Haughton
13 Lifeimi Mafi
12 Sione Piukala
11 Wandile Mjekevu
10 Tommy Allan
9 Dewaldt Duvenage

Forwards

1 Sona Taumalolo
2 Guilhem Guirado
3 Paulica Ion
4 Sébastien Vahaamahina
5 Luke Charteris
6 Dan Leo
7 Jean-Pierre Perez
8 Karl Chateau

Substitutes

16
17
18
19
20
21
22 Carl Bezuidenhout
23

Substitutes

16 Maxime Delonca
17 Jean Baptiste Custoja
18 Kisi Pulu
19 Luke Narraway
20 Tom Ecochard
21 David Marty
22 Joffrey Michel
23 Guillaume Vilaceca
Attendance: 
5 061
Man of the match: 
David Denton