Edinburgh secure bonus-point win in Agen

Edinburgh got their 2019/20 Challenge Cup campaign off to the best possible start as an 80th minute score from Cammy Fenton secured an impressive road win in Agen this evening.

Despite scoring three tries in an emphatic first-half performance - which saw the capital side lead 21-3 at the break – Edinburgh left it late to eventually come away with a deserved five-point win.

A first-half brace from eventual Man of the Match, George Taylor, and an individual score from Damien Hoyland had put in Edinburgh in a dominant position, but the hosts fought back well in the second period and cut the deficit to 11-points late in the match.

However, following an array of penalties which saw Edinburgh camped on the Agen whitewash for the final five minutes of the game, hooker Fenton eventually steamrollered his way over to grab the all-important fourth try of the evening.

Although the hosts’ Thomas Vincent had given his side an early lead with a well struck penalty after 11 minutes (3-0), Edinburgh’s energy in the opening stages of the match was clear and it wasn’t long until Taylor had his first score of the evening.

After winning the ball deep inside Agen territory, the ball was recycled wide to James Johnstone who showed quick feet to outmanoeuvre his opposite defender.

With defender closing in, Johnstone eventually got the ball free to the supporting Taylor who had the simple task of collecting and cantering over the try-line. Hickey converted. (3-7)

After a charged down kick gifted Edinburgh possession once again inside the Agen 22m, the second try of the evening soon arrived – and it was once again Taylor who would get in on the act.

With the forwards gaining momentum, the capital side had numbers out wide, which impressive scrum-half, Shiel, was quick to notice.

With Hickey driving forward, the ball was offloaded to Gilchrist, then Taylor who crashed for his and Edinburgh’s second score of the evening. With Hickey once again converting, it was 3-14 after just 26 minutes.

The wind was now clearly in Edinburgh’s sails and soon an excellent counter-attack would add further distance between themselves and the Stade Armandie outfit.

After turning the ball over inside their own half, the ball was quickly whipped wide to Hoyland, who had already displayed lightning ability when in space.

With no one at home, Hoyland showed quick thinking to chip ahead into space. With the Agen defence reacting slowly, it was a simple footrace to the ball, which the fullback won easily.

As Hoyland picked and raced over the whitewash, the capital side has built a commanding 3-21 lead with 10 minutes to go until half-time.

The hosts came out in the second period with a clear uplift in intensity and kept Edinburgh on the back foot for much of the opening stages.

Although Hickey chipped over a simple three-pointer (3-24) to keep the scoreboard ticking, it was all Edinburgh would score in a largely defensive focused second 40.

With Agen’s Benito Masilevu grabbing one back on the 55th minute to make it 10-24, Edinburgh would be made to sweat as the crowd grew into the fixture, pushing their side on with every fumble and big hit.

After surviving a ten-minute period of sustained pressure – which saw Agen opt for four consecutive scrums on the capital side’s 5m line – Edinurgh eventually cleared their lines to tee up a last-minute chance for the bonus-point securing score.

And, with the pack securing a lineout on the Agen line, Fenton showed a cool head to guide the ball over to send the Edinburgh squad wild.

Edinburgh now gear up to face Bordeaux-Begles at BT Murrayfield next Friday night (Friday 22 November, kick-off 7.35pm).

live commentary 7:00 PM Friday 15 Nov 2019

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