Leinster V Edinburgh
Despite battling back to make it just a five-point game early in the second-half, Edinburgh conceded three quick-fire tries to fall short against reigning Guinness PRO14 champions Leinster in Dublin.
The hosts controlled proceedings for long periods of the physical encounter and whilst Edinburgh will take heart in a strong defensive performance, they will be disappointed at the errors made in such key periods of the match.
The capital side will also have to deal with the repercussions of replacement Pierre Schoeman’s red card, with the South African given his marching orders after raising his elbow whilst taking the ball into contact.
Speaking following the match, Head Coach Richard Cockerill felt his side did well to stay in the battle, but conceded that Leinster deserved to take home all the points on offer.
“It was a bloody tough game for us. I thought they played very well, but they had to perform to get past us. I’m happy with performance to a degree. We made some errors, but they are a great side and will punish you,” said Cockerill.
“I thought we battled hard and we were in the fight, but they deserved to win. The score was maybe a bit top heavy in the end, but we’ve got to learn from these nights. The only way to improve is to play against the best teams, and Leinster are certainly one of the best teams.
“Leinster know they’ve been in a contest, don’t they? We didn’t come here tonight and roll over easily.
“We had opportunities. We had an advantage and kicked it away. Then we ended up dropping the ball on a number of times as well. Those are the key parts and you have to produce against the best teams.
“We started the second-half well and we had opportunities to strike, but the game just got away us from us. If you’re going to win in Dublin, you have to be really accurate. We battled hard and we’re not a soft touch anymore. But we’ve got keep developing.”
Edinburgh began the first-half with intent and whilst Leinster enjoyed plenty of possession, there was no getting past the capital side’s defensive line.
Winger Fergus McFadden was the man who put Leinster in front after Devin Toner charged down Sean Kennedy’s kick. The scrum-half reacted brilliantly to stop the second-row from dotting down, but McFadden was on hand to finish.
Edinburgh continued to battle and despite peppering Leinster’s try line for 36 phases, the hosts defence was up to the task at hand and kept Richard Cockerill’s side at bay.
As James Lowe finished a slick Leinster move, the score was 12-0 at half-time.
Edinburgh began the second period with renewed confidence and as Duhan van der Merwe’s break brought the back-line into Leinster territory, number eight Magnus Brabdury was on hand to bludgeon his way over the host’s whitewash.
The capital side were right back in it, but their joy was not to last long. As electric full-back Jordan Larmour darted over from only metres out, the hosts were back in front almost immediately.
As Edinburgh rang the changes, they’re scrum would feel the effect. Leinster won a series of penalties on the capital’s side’s 5m line and Johnny Sexton eventually dummied his way over from only metres out to increase their advantage.
And to make matters worse, Schoeman was shown a red card only minutes after making his way onto the pitch.
Leinster’s Garry Ringrose would score a last minute try to add gloss to the scoreline, but for Edinburgh, it’s simply a case of what could have been, with a number of chances gone begging throughout a pulsating encounter.