Edinburgh v Leinster Rugby
A spirited second-half fight-back from Edinburgh Rugby wasn’t enough to overcome an astute and clinical Leinster side, who ran out as eventual 33-20 winners in the Guinness PRO12 round three clash at BT Murrayfield.
A try from Michael Allen and Duncan Weir penalty put Edinburgh in a commanding position with an 8-0 after just five minutes.
Leinster took control around the 15 minute mark and rallied scoring four tries through Daniel Leavy, Garry Ringrose, Isa Nacewa and Jamison Gibson-Park, with Nacewa successfully adding extras in three of his conversion attempts to take the score to 26-8 at the break in favour of the Irishmen.
Edinburgh proved the better team in the second-half, dominating and possession and territory, and creating a number of scoring opportunities.
Man of the match Hamish Watson and his fellow back-rower Magnus Bradbury both recorded tries in the second-half, yet Leinster put Edinburgh out of touching distance at the death through Leavy, who grabbed his second try of the night.
Edinburgh Rugby Head Coach Alan Solomons said: “In my view, their tries were soft tries.
“We went into the shed after a great start at 8-26, so we regrouped at half-time and dominated possession and territory in the second-half, but created opportunities that we didn’t close out.
“When we got to 20-26, we had every prospect of winning that game. All we’ve got to do at the end is to hold them and you’ve got the bonus point, but we didn’t.
“We didn’t translate the pressure into points, but I think had our defence been better we wouldn’t had been in that position.
“I’ll give the side credit for coming in at half-time at 8-26 and coming back to 20-26 and having every prospect of winning that game, but then at the end we let ourselves down in giving away a bonus-point.”
It took less than two minutes for Edinburgh to get on the scoreboard in a show of real attacking intent. Following a scything break from centre Sasa Tofilau, the ball was recycled before centre Phil Burleigh put through a grubber to which Allen collected for a near identical try to that he had scored the previous week against Scarlets.
Weir’s conversion attempt was unsuccessful, yet he made amends in striking a successful penalty on the five minute-mark to give Edinburgh an 8-0 lead.
Leinster’s retort came in the 12th minute when back-row Daniel Leavy exposed a hole in the Edinburgh defence for to run-in under the posts.
Leinster, buoyed by the score, rallied and centre Garry Ringrose and Isa Nacewa dotted down for quickfire tries before the 25 minute mark, with Nacewa duly adding the extras (8-21).
With the momentum in the favour of the away side, they continued to pressure the Edinburgh line and Grant Gilchrist was shown a yellow-card for an infringement at the maul shortly before scrum-half Jamison Gibson-Park scored Leinster’s fourth of the evening.
Half-time: Edinburgh Rugby 8 – 26 Leinster
Watson, a stand-out across all areas of the park, personified Edinburgh’s grit as he made a barnstorming run covering upwards of 50 metres and batting off defenders, with his efforts being rewarded on the 48th minute when he grabbed his team’s second score of the night.
Edinburgh continued to dominate proceedings yet weren’t able to get another try until the 74th minute when back-row Magnus Bradbury battled his way through the defence for the score, after some good groundwork from replacement lock Fraser McKenzie.
The home side found themselves within six points (20-26) with as many minutes left on the clock, yet hope of a win or losing bonus point was diminished when Leinster’s Leavy crossed the line at the death.
Nacewa’s successful conversion rounded off the score at 33-20 in favour of the visitors.