In Rewind: Three French classics

In Rewind: Three French classics

We take a look at three classic encounters against French opponents ahead of Friday night's Challenge Cup round two match-up with Bordeaux-Begles.

Edinburgh 23-16 Toulouse – Laney seals Meadowbank miracle

Edinburgh took on then-European superstars Toulouse at a proper old school rugby ground in the shape of Meadowbank in 2003.

On a cold, crisp December morning, there was always a feeling that Edinburgh could have enough about them to defeat a team that had the likes of Yannick Jauzion and Emile Ntamack starting in their backline.

Edinburgh looked dead at half-time when trailing by seven points but two well-worked tries from the lock forwards in a six-minute period after the restart injected some self-belief into the Scots.

The first touchdown came from Nathan Hines after Simon Webster got behind the French defence and the second came courtesy of Scott Murray after Craig Smith had done the damage.

Then deep in injury-time, Scottish international Brendan Laney combined with Chris Paterson and showed pace that no one suspected to race away from Ntamack, throwing in a goose step just for fun, to grab the last score of the match.

Edinburgh 48-47 Racing Metro – Edinburgh edge 11-try thriller

Known by many as the greatest game never shown – due to the fact it was not broadcast on TV – this 2011 classic will go down as perhaps the most exciting club match every played at BT Murrayfield.

With 11 tries in total – two coming the club’s all-time top try-scorer, Tim Visser – this was one match where you really did have to see it to believe it.

The capital side took the lead after just 35 seconds with the prolific Visser scoring a chip-and-chase try. Greig Laidlaw and Jonathan Wisniewski exchanged penalties over the next few minutes, but the Scots appeared firmly in the driving seat when Laidlaw scuttled in for a try, then added another conversion to put them 17-3 up after eight minutes.

The visitors fought back as Wisniewski powered through for the Parisians’ third try in the 22nd minute and they had their bonus point in the bag just after the half-hour mark, when Chavancy surged over for their fourth.

Laidlaw reduced the deficit to 20-31 with a penalty just before half-time, but it was opened up again by another Wisniewski strike shortly after the break.

Soon afterwards, an over-ambitious Edinburgh move broke down, Racing countered and another try by Chavancy and Wisniewski’s conversion took the French side past 40 points.

Edinbugh fought back with tries from Netani Talei and Tom Brown. And, in the dying seconds, Visser crossed again, and Laidlaw’s conversion sealed the dramatic one-point win.

Toulon 17-28 Edinburgh – Edinburgh make history at Stade Mayol

Edinburgh became the first Scottish club and only the third team in Champions Cup history to win at Stade Mayol when they secured a famous road victory against Toulon in January 2019.

The win moved the capital side to within touching distance of a place in the European Champions Cup quarter-finals as a second-half blitz – which saw Edinburgh score 20 unanswered points – paved the way to victory.

Tries from Guilhem Guirado and Facundo Isa gave the hosts a 12-8 lead, but Darcy Graham replied with a fine finish in the corner to get his side back in the game.

Edinburgh shot out of the blocks to start the second-half, with Blair Kinghorn grabbing the capital side’s second try of the evening following a tidy grubber from James Johnstone.

And it would be Johnstone who sealed it following one of the most outrageous break and offloads from Bill Mata that you are likely to see on any rugby pitch across the world.

Although Julian Savea scored late on, Edinburgh held on to claim one the biggest wins in the club’s history.

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