Edinburgh suffer home loss to Connacht

Edinburgh’s wait for a first win of the 2020-21 season continues after a falling 26-37 to Connacht in nine-try thriller at BT Murrayfield.

Tries from Nic Groom, Mike Willemse (2) and Andrew Davidson earned the capital club a try scoring bonus-point, however the away side proved too much to handle, scoring a number of clinical tries at key moments throughout the encounter.

A much-changed Edinburgh side took the field, with 17 players unavailable due to injury and international selection. And with so many key men missing, the capital side handed starts to several up-and-coming players, including Jack Blain, Andrew Davidson and back rowers Ally Miller and Mesulame Kunavula. Blain, making his first start, looked at home in the 15 jersey, with positive carries and assurance under the high ball.


FIRST-HALF

Both sides could have been forgiven for being cautious in the opening stages, given the number of changes, however both showed strong attacking intent from the first whistle. Edinburgh got their first score in response to a Fitzgerland penalty, with a period of sustained pressure finished by Nic Groom, ducking under the Connacht goal-line defence after a solid driving maul from the hosts. (7-3)

Connacht responded quickly however, with Groom’s opposite number, Caolin Blade, gathering his own sniping grubber kick from the base of the maul, before Fitzgerald put through a similar kick for Arnold to dot down moments later. (7-13)

Connacht extended their lead off the back of two lost line outs for the capital side. An overthrow gave Connacht the ball in their own half, who pounced out wide with John Porch getting free on the outside to set up Alex Wootton. (7-20)

From the next lineout Edinburgh looked to have made up for their previous errors, with Groom’s inside pass putting Eroni Sau under the posts, however an obstruction in the build up saw the score ruled out. To rub salt in the wounds, Connacht went up the field to add to their lead with Daly knocking a penalty over. (7-23)

Edinburgh finished the half strongly however. A clever lineout steal from Schoeman gave Edinburgh field position to attack from, and the hosts managed their second try from a driving maul, with Willemse diving over the line to leave the game in the balance at half time. (14-23)

SECOND HALF

The start of the second half saw Edinburgh quickly claw themselves back into the match. The home pack proved too strong for Connacht, winning a scrum penalty and driving the maul over the line to give Willemse his second of the game. (19-23)

Connacht hit back to put the game out of reach, with back to back tries leaving Edinburgh with too big a mountain to climb. Blade put in another clever grubber kick for Wootton to score his second of the game, before Delahunt finished after multiple attacking phases on the Edinburgh goal-line. (19-37)

Edinburgh showed grit in the closing stages to secure a try scoring bonus point, as Andrew Davidson drove over from short range. (26-37)

live commentary 7:35 PM Sunday 25 Oct 2020

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