Edinburgh v Harlequins
Edinburgh Rugby triumphed 36-35 over Harlequins in an eleven-try European thriller at BT Murrayfield.
The home-side scored five first half-tries through Allan Dell, Blair Kinghorn, Nasi Manu, Hamish Watson and Damien Hoyland, while the visitors’ points came through a Charlie Walker touch-down and a penalty-try. This gave the home-side a comfortable 31-14 lead at the interval.
The London outfit battled back from a sixteen-point half-time deficit to take the lead (31-35) on 65 minutes, yet Edinburgh’s resilience shone through as a late score from wing Tom Brown secured his side a bonus-point victory.
Acting Head Coach, Duncan Hodge, said: “"In front of our home fans, and our largest attendance, it was great to get the win.
"To concede so early and then comeback and play the way we did was good to see.
"Errors led to being pounded for 20 minutes, then somehow we found the belief to grind out the win
Our attitude to win and our resilience was something to be proud of.
"You have to admire the way we responded in the first 2 minutes and the last two minutes just to hold out and make crucial tackle.”
Quins were first on the scoresheet after just two minutes as wing Charlie Walker pierced the Edinburgh defence after a period of early pressure, with stand-off Nick Evans adding the extras.
Edinburgh were clinical in their response as Phil Burleigh broke up the blindside to hand the ball on to speedy prop Allan Dell, who touched down for the score on four minutes. (5-7).
Man of the match Blair Kinghorn put his side ahead after 11 minutes with a wonderful solo effort. The young full-back took the ball from first receiver, before rounding his opposite man, Evans, and exhibited a mesmeric turn of pace to win the foot-race into the corner.
Not settling for a 10-7 lead, Damien Hoyland ignited the attack for his side’s next try as he broke up the touchline before chipping the full-back, collecting the ball and offloading to Manu, who had little work to do for the score. Stand-off Jason Tovey made amends for his earlier misses and added the extras to give Edinburgh a 17-7 lead.
Manu’s back-row colleague, Hamish Watson, secured Edinburgh’s try-bonus on 25 miunutes. Hoyland was once again the catalyst in attack as he raced down the flank before linking up with Kinghorn, who timed the final pass wonderfully to put Watson in space for the score. Tovey’s conversion put Edinburgh 24-7 ahead.
Quins salvaged some points back after being awarded with a penalty try, yet Edinburgh had the final say in the first-half as Hoyland scooped a loose ball just outside his side’s 22 metre line and won the foot-race to touch-down for another sensational score.
An incident off the ball in the lead-up to the try saw referee Romanin Poite send Edinburgh’s Tovey and Quins’ try-scorer Walker to the sin-bin.
Half-time: Edinburgh Rugby 31-14 Harlequins
The London outfit had the first say in the second-period as prop Kyle Sinckler crossed the whitewash two minutes into the half. Evans’ conversion closed the gap to 10-points in favour of the home side (31-21).
Harlequins were reduced to 13 men on 46 minutes as Joe Marler was shown a yellow-card for taking Ben Toolis’ feet away at the lineout, yet this was nulled shortly after as Edinburgh captain Grant Gilchrist was also sent to cool off on the touchline following a late tackle.
Harlequins started to fire as the half went on and their persistence in attack paid-off as they were awarded their second penalty-try of the game on 69 minutes. Swiel’s conversion saw the home-side’s lead close to just three points (31-28).
The drama continued as Quins took the lead for the first time in 61 minutes when replacement back-row Matt Luamanu battled his way through the defence to score. Swiel’s successful conversion put his side 31-35 ahead with ten minutes left on the clock.
Edinburgh looked to have hit back when Glenn Bryce forced his way into the corner following a break from back-row Magnus Bradbury. However, after conferring with the TMO, referee Romain Poite deemed the flanker’s pass as forward and the try was disallowed.
However, there was no denying the next score as Hoyland took advantage of a free-ball and stuck the ball up high for his fellow wing Tom Brown to triumph in the aerial battle and touch down to take Edinburgh back into the lead with seven minutes left on the clock (36-35).
Quins refused to lie down as the match drew to a close and rallied in the dying minutes. Edinburgh’s defence showed an inspiring resilience to turn the ball over in the last play, to secure the win and make it two-from-two in Europe.