Quarter-Final comeback comes up short

A second-half fightback came up just short as Edinburgh went down 23-14 to Bordeaux Bègles in today’s Challenge Cup Quarter-Final at Stade Chaban Delmas.

Despite trailing 14-0 after just 10 minutes following an error-strewn start to the game, the capital side showed plenty of heart, desire and guile to force their way back into the contest.

A moment of magic from Darcy Graham and Damien Hoyland – which saw the latter touch down in the corner – made it 17-11 early in the second-half.

While a late Blair Kinghorn penalty brought it 20-14 with just nine minutes remaining.

However that was as close as it was to get as the hosts upped a gear for the final five minutes and slotted home a last-minute penalty to win 23-14.

The opening try came after just five minutes as James Johnstone’s attempted inside ball spilled into the hands of a Bordeaux defender.

With numbers out wide, the hosts moved the ball quickly and with nothing but daylight between him and the whitewash, Santiago Cordero cantered in from 50m out.

As Matthieu Jalibert curled over the conversion, it was 7-0 at Stade Chaban Delmas.

Edinburgh quickly regathered themselves and after a break into the Bordeax half, won a penalty with the hosts off their feet at the breakdown.

The capital side couldn’t turn opportunity into points however as Jaco van der Walt’s penalty floated wide.

Bordeaux would then double their advantage only three minutes later, again capitalising on an Edinburgh mistake.

After a knock-on inside their 22m, a set-piece strike led to a slick handling manoeuvre, and Jean Baptiste Dubie was the man who crashed over the try line from short yardage. Jalibert once again converted. [14-0]

With their noses in front, Bordeaux continued to turn the screw and – for a 10 minute period – it looked like curtains for Edinburgh.

However, with the fight and desire to stay in the battle, the capital side continued to defended well and a number of penalty turnovers switched the momentum in Edinburgh’s favour.

Following a try-saving tackle from Bill Mata – who was forced off with a leg injury – the capital side eventually got on the board as Jaco van der Walt split the uprights from distance.

And it could have been even better for Edinburgh as the Blair Kinghorn and Charlie Shiel combined to drive into the Bordeaux 22m. However a spilled pass meant that Bordeaux kept it 14-3 at the break.

Edinburgh began the second half with renewed vigour and soon clawed their way back in to the contest further thanks to Jaco van der Walt’s second penalty of the day. [14-6]

However - as had been the story of the match so far – Bordeaux kicked a penalty almost immediately Van der Walt’s effort to stretch the lead to 17-6.

That penalty did little to dampen the fightback however and Edinburgh continued to attack on the front foot and drive in the hosts’ 22m.

With a slick handling attack, the ball was fed out wide to Darcy Graham and with a moment of inspiration, the winger avoided three defenders before offloading to the supporting Damien Hoyand who touched down to make it a one score game. [17-11]

With the momentum again in Edinburgh’s favour, it was one way traffic as the capital pack began to overpower their opponents.

However, yet another error let Bordeaux kick a further penalty, stretching the lead to 20-11 with 13 minutes to go at Stade Chaban Delmas.

Cockerill decided to ring the changes to bring a further dynamic to fightback as Stuart McInally, Ben Toolis and George Taylor were replaced by Mike Willemse, Andrew Davidson and Chris Dean.

Fresh legs off the bench seemed to make the difference and it wasn’t long until Edinburgh were back on the offensive inside the Bordeaux 22m.

With the hosts drifting wide, the ball was fed to Blair Kinghorn who, after a show and go, was dragged down only metres from the Bordeaux try-line.

After Bordeaux’s Ben Tameifuna was sent to the bin for handling off his feet, Edinburgh cut it back to a six-point game as Blair Kinghorn chipped over a simple penalty [20-14]

Edinburgh just couldn’t make that final break through however and series of chances were halted by good Bordeaux defence or last-minute errors.

As Bordeaux pinned the capital side deep with an excellent 78th minute kick, that was to be it as the hosts knocked over a last-ditch penalty to make it 23-14 on full time.

live commentary 12:30 PM Saturday 19 Sep 2020

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