Edinburgh fall short in European opener

Edinburgh’s Heineken Champions Cup campaign started in defeat, losing 8-13 in an intense and physical encounter with La Rochelle at BT Murrayfield.

The home side welcomed back a host of Scotland internationals, however in a match where defence was king, it was the Top 14 League Leaders who came away with the victory.

Blair Kinghorn crossed the whitewash for the capital side, but tries from Raymond Rhule and Jeremy Sinzelle proved too much for Edinburgh.

Key Moments

Both sides made their intentions clear early on, with a breathless and open exchange between the sides. Edinburgh looked confident in stretching the La Rochelle defence, however it was the away side that took the lead, as Jules Plisson nailed a monster kick from the half-way line. 0-3

The penalty seemed to signal a swing in momentum, as the Top 14 leaders began to turn the screw and put pressure on the Edinburgh line.

The capital side managed to withhold multiple phases from the La Rochelle – Stuart McInally put in a brilliant try saving tackle on Tawara Kerr-Barlow – however the pressure soon told, as Rhule crossed for the first try of the match after slick work from the visitors. 0-8

After the try, the expansive opening of the match was replaced by tactical kicking. Edinburgh got themselves on the board just before half-time with their first visit into the La Rochelle 22. Jaco Van Der Walt – fresh from his Scotland test debut – made no mistake with the boot after pressure from the home side. La Rochelle missed a penalty with the clock in the red, to leave the score 3-8 at half time.

The second half started in the worst possible way for the home team, with Sinzelle scoring a try from nothing to extend the visitor’s lead. A lofted kick was misjudged in the air by Henry Pyrgos, and the La Rochelle fullback punished the error ruthlessly to pounce over the line. 3-13

Edinburgh didn’t take long to hit back, with Blair Kinghorn crossing over for a try. Richard Cockerill’s side backed themselves going to the corner, and the decision paid off handsomely. Chris Dean put in a tidy grubber kick behind the French defence, with the ball ricocheting into Kinghorn’s path. 8-13

Kinghorn’s try was the last time the scoreboard was troubled. The final half hour of the game was packed with intensity and big hits, with both teams throwing everything at each other. Edinburgh weren’t lacking in industry, but in the end a combination of handling errors and fierce La Rochelle defence meant the away side left BT Murrayfield with the win.

Play of the Day

The game was packed with physicality and intensity, and it was a game decided by defence. While Edinburgh were on the wrong side of the result, the play of the day was McInally’s spectacular try-saving tackle to deny former All Black Kerr-Barlow in the corner. The Edinburgh hooker burst back after the La Rochelle scrum half had broken through, saving a sure-fire five-pointer.

Player of the Match

live commentary 8:00 PM Saturday 12 Dec 2020

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Kick-off 8:00 PM

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