Edinburgh v Connacht Rugby
Edinburgh came agonisingly close to pulling off a dramatic comeback tonight at Myreside, yet their opponents, Connacht, managed to cling on to their narrow lead to record a 22-19 victory in a tale of two-halves.
An Eoin McKeon try and 17-points from the boot of stand-off Steve Crosbie gave Connacht a comprehensive 22-0 on 60 minutes, with a catalogue of errors marring the home-side’s display.
However, the closing quarter was a very different affair. A penalty try on 64 minutes seemed to flick a switch for Edinburgh, with Hamish Watson and Glenn Bryce both touching down shortly after. Duncan Weir converted two of the three tries to reduce the deficit to just three points in favour of the league’s defending champions as the game approached its close.
The winning score, however, evaded the home side despite a valiant effort to clinch the victory in the closing minutes.
Weir failed to hit the target with a penalty attempt after six minutes, yet his opposite number, Crosbie, made no mistake with the boot to put Connacht ahead shortly after (0-3).
Edinburgh enjoyed a period of possession in the opposition half for the next 15 minutes, yet failed to turn pressure into points.
Following a second successful penalty from Crosbie, Connacht opened up a 13-point gap through a Eoin McKean try. The back-row fed of an intelligent snipe from his scrum-half, Kieran Marmion, which opened up the gap for the blindside flanker to cruise through under the sticks. Crosbie converted (0-13).
Crosbie maintained his 100% record with the boot as he struck his third penalty of the day to give the visitors a 16-point lead at the interval.
HALF-TIME | Edinburgh Rugby 0 – 16 Connacht
Crosbie continued with his impressive kicking display in the second-half, adding another six points from the kicking-tee in the third quarter (0-22).
The home side created a scoring opportunity on 63 minutes with Weir and Watson breaking in the wide channels, before releasing Damien Hoyland who was dragged down just metres short of the line.
However, Edinburgh’s breakthrough came in the following run of play as – after a TMO reference – Connacht’s Tiernan O’Halloran was deemed deliberately offside as he intercepted Nathan Fowles pass on the blindside, with the referee awarding a penalty try to Edinburgh for the offence.
Connacht’s O’Halloran was shown a yellow-card for cynical play and marched off the park as Weir added the extras (7-22).
The try seemed to ignite Edinburgh’s attack as a second try followed just three minutes later. After a period of sustained pressure, Watson took the ball on at first receiver and swatted off numerous defenders to clamber his way over the line for a score under the sticks. Weir made no mistake with the conversion, closing the gap to eight points (14-22).
Connacht were wavering under Edinburgh’s building pressure and the home side further reduced the deficit on 73 minutes through Glenn Bryce, who took the ball on the blindside and rumbled over for his first try for the club. Weir’s missed conversion meant the visitors held a three-point lead as the game entered its final minutes (19-22).
The home side received the kick-off and held the ball deep into overtime, yet were unable to find the wining score before the final whistle sounded.
FULL-TIME | Edinburgh Rugby 19 – 22 Connacht