Throwback: Irish Encounters

Throwback: Irish Encounters

Edinburgh Rugby travel to the Brentford Community Stadium this Saturday to face English Premiership side London Irish in Round 3 of the EPCR Challenge Cup.

It will be the eighth time that Edinburgh have faced the Exiles in Europe, having triumphed in six of the previous seven encounters with English capital club.

We look back at some of our finest moments against London Irish ahead of Saturday's encounter in West London.

Champions Cup triumph

Edinburgh first faced Irish during the 2011/12 Heineken Cup campaign. The sides would clash twice in the pool stages, with Edinburgh coming out on top on both occasions, going on to progress to the Semi-Final of the competition.

The first match-up was a close-fought affair, with Edinburgh triumphing in a comeback win at the Madejski Stadium in Reading. Lee Jones scored early on for the visitors, however a try from former Edinburgh-man Ross Samson and the boot of Tom Homer put Irish into a commanding position, leading 19-10 with 20 minutes on the clock.

Edinburgh turned the game on its head, with Nick de Luca providing a slick pass to release Stuart McInally to thunder over the line. Greig Laidlaw did the rest, notching the conversion before scoring a game winning penalty to hand Edinburgh a 19-20 win.

The return fixture was a much more straightforward affair, with Edinburgh claiming a 34-11 win at BT Murrayfield. Tim Visser, Jim Thompson, Netani Talei and Lee Jones crossed the whitewash in a comfortable evening in the Scottish capital.

Quarterfinal glory

The Madejski Stadium hosted another thriller between the sides in 2015, as Edinburgh came out on top in a Challenge Cup Quarter-Final clash on their way to making the season’s finale at Twickenham.

The visitors came flying out of the blocks, establishing a 16-0 lead after 20 minutes thanks to a try from WP Nel and a trio of Sam Hidalgo-Clyne penalties. The Exiles sparked a brilliant comeback, as Conor Gilsenan and Scott Steele crossed; Shane Geraghty adding eight points from the tee to make it 18-16.

Edinburgh struck back on the hour mark, with club legend Fraser McKenzie dotting down to secure a Semi-Final berth for Alan Solomans’ side.

Hardie Heroics

Irish registered their only win against Edinburgh in the pool stages of the 2015/16 season, claiming a commanding 38-6 win at the Madejski. Edinburgh didn’t have to wait long to get another shot, facing Irish the week after at BT Murrayfield. The home side shrugged off the previous week to come out on top in a close encounter between the sides.

Irish looked to continue their form from the previous week, racing into a lead through a Gerard Ellis in the eighth minute. Edinburgh refused to be turned over and got themselves on the scoresheet through Tom Brown’s first half try.

The Exiles hit the front again through Tom Smallbone on the hour mark, leaving the hosts chasing the match. John Hardie provided a final twist in the story, crashing over with nine minutes left to ensure Edinburgh would get their revenge, with the match finishing 18-15.

Murrayfield Mauling

The most recent clash between the sides was as one-sided as the come, with Edinburgh scoring eight tries to hit a half-century of points, winning 50-20 at BT Murrayfield.

The hosts scored four tries in each half, with McInally and Blair Kinghorn crossing early, before Phil Burleigh scored a two-minute brace of tries. Hidalgo-Clyne bagged himself a try shortly after the break, before Darcy Graham went over to score in his first appearance for the club. Junior Rasolea and Sean Kennedy rounded off the thrashing.

Edinburgh started the tournament in remarkable scoring form, having scored 73 points against Krasny Yar in Moscow and 37 against Irish in the corresponding fixture in Reading, with the 50 points at BT Murrayfield bringing the points tally to 160 after only three games.

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