Edinburgh suffer first league defeat in Dublin

Edinburgh fell to their first Guinness PRO14 defeat of the season as reigning league champions Leinster scored five second-half tries to secure a 40-14 bonus-point win in Dublin.

Despite taking a first-half lead following Jamie Farndale’s well worked score, the hosts eventually found their groove and were, in the end, too strong for Richard Cockerill’s side.

Leinster had two men sent to bin in the opening half, but even with a numerical advantage, the capital side struggled to break down the hosts’ impressive defence.

The hosts were on top from the get-go, but could not turn that territory into points as stand-off Ross Byrne not once, but twice missed simple kicks at goal to give his side the first points of the evening.

That opening score did eventually arrive however, but not without some fortune. With a ball chipped into the corner, the defending pair of Jaco van der Walt and Duhan van der Merwe were thrown off by a freakish bounce which led to scrum-half James Gibson-Park touching down in the corner. [5-0]

Down one score, Edinburgh upped their intensity. Luke Crosbie – who was an engine in the capital side’s back-row all evening – got on the ball to win a penalty on half-way, which gave his side excellent positioning inside Leinster territory.

As the capital side won another penalty under the Leinster sticks, pressure was mounting on the hosts’ pack at scrum time. And when Leinster collapsed yet another scrum, the referee had no other option but to send prop Michael Bent to the bin.

From the resulting scrum, the capital side worked it out wide to Farndale who slid in the corner to give his side the lead. Not without complication, however, as Joe Tomane was shown his side’s second yellow of the evening for appearing to knee Farndale in the grounding of the score.

As Jaco van der Walt nailed the resulting conversion, Edinburgh were up by two – in both points on the scoreboard and in players on the park. [5-7]

However, even with 14 men on the park, Leinster would not be denied. And on the stoke of half-time, Bent – who had just returned to the field of play following his sin binning – rumbled over from short distance to once again give his side the lead at the break. [12-7]

With just five-points in it, Leinster turned the screw in the second period and were soon in the ascendance as No.8 Caelen Doris touched down with just three minutes played. [17-7]

With the hosts in full flow – and with a packed RDS Arena pushing them on – they soon turned that territorial advantage into further points.

Leinster have shown time after time how potent they are when in touching ditance of the whitewash and as Scott Penny wrestled his way over, the hosts had the bonus-point score in the bag. [26-7]

Despite the scoreline quickly turning in Leinster’s favour, Edinburgh refused to lie down. With a flurry of substitutions – including the introduction of James Johnstone in midfield and Ally Miller in the back-row – the capital side looked dangerous with ball in hand, but still, Leinster’s suffocating defence allowed little room for errors.

And it was those errors that Leinster would be able to capitalise on. Replacements Michael Milne and Rowan Osbourne both found the scoresheet to hit the 40-point mark, and the match was soon out of reach. [40-7]

With further replacements in Charlie Shiel and summer signing Sam Thomson – who made his competitive debut for the club – Edinburgh continued to threaten when moving the ball in space.

Shiel would grab a consolation score late on – his first try in professional rugby - to make it 40-14 with nine minutes remaining, but it was too little, too late as Leinster claimed s deserved victory to maintain their position atop of Conference A.

Edinburgh return to league action in two week’s time as Conference B rivals Scarlets visit BT Murrayfield on Saturday 26 October (kick-off 7.35pm).

live commentary 7:35 PM Friday 11 Oct 2019

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Kick-off 7:35 PM

Leinster

Edinburgh

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