Edinburgh v Leinster
Edinburgh overturned an early deficit to secure a hugely important bonus-point win over reigning league champions Leinster this evening.
After going 0-8 behind after only 15 minutes, the hosts turned the screw, with the forward pack proving the go-forward for two quick-fire tries, giving Edinburgh a 14-11 lead at the break.
The capital side’s dominance continued in the second-half and when Ross Ford scored the third try of the evening after 46 minutes it was one way traffic for the much of the second period.
And when Fijian No.8 Bill Mata smashed over for the all-important bonus-point securing fourth try of the evening, the capital side never looked like surrendering their hard-earned lead.
The win moves Edinburgh in to fourth place in Conference B – only three points behind second-place Benetton – with three rounds of Guinness PRO14 action remaining.
Following tonight’s victory, Head Coach Richard Cockerill, said: “It was an ugly game. But it was a game we needed to win and we did. It took us a while to get going, but it’s job done.
“We picked a strong side. And with respect to the guys who played for Leinster tonight, not many of them will be in their 23 next week. But that shows how good a side they are and how well they played.
“I was a little bit disappointed with our performance, but to get all those test boys in and get them used to our system was good for us.
“I thought we could have been a bit sharper that first half. In those first 20 minutes, they looked more energetic than us and they brought the game to us.
“It took us a while to get going, but once we did get going, we dominated the game and so we should, because we picked a really strong team.
“I’m not going to complain however – we earned five points. The team around us all lost and we’re back in the fight for the top three – we’ll keep battling away.”
After Ciaran Frawley’s early penalty and Sean Cronin’s try after 15 minutes gave Leinster a lead straight out the blocks, the host were made to wait for their first points of the evening.
The score arrived after 30 minutes. After a series of pick-and-drives, Scotland international prop WP showcased his power with a twisting lunge over the line, which Jaco van der Walt duly converted.
With their noses up, Edinburgh continued to pepper the Leinster try-line. And following a number of powerful scrums only metres from the visitor’s whitewash, the referee had no other option but to award the penalty try as the Leinster pack crumbled under immense forward pressure.
Edinburgh held an unlikely 14-11 lead at the break.
The capital side’s dominance continued in to the second period and it wasn’t long before Ford – who tonight became the second most capped player in the Guinness PRO14 – scrambled over for his team’s third try of the night.
After securing a lineout drive, the hooker peeled from the back to power over from only metres out. With Van der Walt nailing the touchline conversion, Edinburgh led 21-11.
After ringing the changes, Edinburgh’s fourth, bonus-point securing try arrived on 62 minutes – and again the pack were at the centre of the score.
With numbers lining up wide and the capital side parked on Leinster’s whitewash, Mata showcased his try-scoring ability with a quick dive to further Edinburgh’s lead.
With a 28-11 lead and the bonus point in the bag, Edinburgh had the bit between their teeth. Despite a flurry of late Leinster pressure, the capital side would hold on for what could a monumental result come play-off rugby.
Edinburgh now prepare for next weekend’s Heineken Champions Cup Quarter-Final which sees Munster travel to BT Murrayfield on Saturday 30 March (kick-off 12.45pm)