Leinster vs Edinburgh Rugby, Fri, 15/04/2016 - 19:35

Edinburgh found themselves caught up in Fast and Furious XV in Dublin this evening, a highly entertaining meeting for the crowd and a body-acher for the players, torrid tackles alternating with blistering breaks and a second half verging on 50 points between the teams.

There was also a rising body count that led to hasty re-organisation for the visitors as Head coach Alan Solomons explained after the whistle: "We lost both our centres at half time, we lost our fullback in the last ten minutes, people were out of position, our scrum half was playing full back, our open side flanker playing on the wing, our 13 playing at 12 and our wing playing centre.

“However our courage was summed up by our attacking right at the end. I think the courage and character they showed was terrific. The problem was that in the first half we had far too many penalties.

"That losing bonus point, however, was critical to our hopes of reaching the top six [in the league.]"

First half

Edinburgh bossed from the whistle, well-organised, pacey and playing with flair.  An outstanding collect from no 8 Cornell Du Preez at the kick-off saw prop Alasdair Dickinson burst forth, scattering the hosts in disarray and forcing mistakes that led to a penalty for the capital side. Stand-off Jason Tovey clinically slotted the kick to put the visitors 0-3 ahead after four minutes.

Leinster soon pulled back to level pegging as they stepped on the gas and forced a penalty, Madigan easing the ball between the sticks.

The home side broke again from the kick-off and were in front four minutes later, through Madigan, with Ross Ford the man penalised as Edinburgh again conceded the penalty inside the 22.

Those were to be the last points scored in the first half but there was no shortage of end-to-end action.

Winger Tom Brown got Edinburgh to within metres of the line with a storming break after a clattering tackle from centre Phil Burleigh and another great take from Du Preez.

A break from Tovey had both sets of supporters on their feet until he was pulled back for an infringement. Break after break was thwarted or overturned and frustration at the breakdown saw flanker Jamie Ritchie yellow carded for repeated team infringements on 34 minutes. Despite being a man down, Edinburgh repelled all advances and the teams went in 6-3 at the break.

HT: Leinster 6-3 Edinburgh

With both centres injured, Mike Allen came on for Burleigh and Sean Kennedy for Dean, scrum-half Sam Hidalgo-Clyne moving to the wing after half time. As Ritchie returned to the field following his sin-binning, Leinster ruptured the midfield to cross by the posts, McGrath claiming the points, with the extras added to make it 13-3.

Fired up Edinburgh responded within minutes as Tom Brown sped down the wing to cross in the corner, the conversion attempt just wide.

It was back to the other end of the turf minutes later as Van der Flier romped across for another five points, Madigan again converting to make it 20-8 on 52 minutes.

With Ford off, McInally took the captain’s armband, in time to see a clean pair of heels from Damien Hoyland who took off at pace towards the try line, until the ref pulled play back for an infringement.

Leinster extended their lead with an unconverted McFadden score but a brilliant interception by Michael Allen minutes later saw the centre score his first try for the capital club, Tovey adding the extras to make it 25-15.

Again Leinster came back, McFadden crossing again, but no conversion kept it at 30-15.

A raft of substitutes came on in the final 15 minutes, the pace and power of the game telling across the field.

Hamish Watson punctured the Leinster defence repeatedly to threaten on the five-metre line. Kennedy hoicked the ball from the ruck to squeeze through the gap and over the over the line, his first points for Edinburgh.

As the bench was vacated even further, Magnus Bradbury came on for Kinghorn and went on the flank, Watson moved to the wing and Hidalgo-Clyne re-positioned to fullback.

It was Bradbury who started the move which lead to Hoyland’s magnificent break, thwarted by McFadden, who was penalised for putting the brakes on the sure-fire dash for the line. Hidalgo-Clyne didn’t miss with the boot to put Edinburgh within one converted score going into the last minute.

Frantic attack and frustrated defence eventually came to a halt as Edinburgh lost possession and Leinster kicked out to leave the scoreboard glowing Leinster 30 Edinburgh 23. A winning bonus point was the only reward for the trip across the Irish Sea.

Team lineups

Leinster
Edinburgh Rugby

Backs

15 Rob Kearney
14 Fergus McFadden
13 Ben Te'o
12 Noel Reid
11 Luke Fitzgerald
10 Ian Madigan
9 Luke McGrath

Forwards

1 Cian Healy
2 Richardt Strauss
3 Mike Ross
4 Ross Molony
5 Mick Kearney
6 Rhys Ruddock
7 Josh Van der Flier
8 Jordi Murphy

Substitutes

16 Sean Cronin
17 Peter Dooley
18 Tadhg Furlong
19 Devin Toner
20 Dominic Ryan
21 Eoin Reddan
22 Cathal Marsh
23 Dave Kearney
Man of the match: 
Josh Van der Flier

GUINNESS PRO12 2015/16 table

PosTeamPWLDPts
1Leinster 22166073
2Connacht 22157073
3Glasgow Warriors22147172
4Ulster22148069
5Munster22139063
6Scarlets22148063
7Cardiff Blues221111056
8Ospreys221110155
9Edinburgh Rugby221111054
10Dragons Rugby22418026
11Zebre22517024
12Benetton Treviso22319020