Edinburgh 11 Leinster 6
Leinster’s hopes of drawing level with Munster at the top of the RaboDirect pro 12 were dashed after defeat by Edinburgh at wet and windy Murrayfield last night, but the visitors at least managed a bonus point which was enough to keep them well in the hunt in third place below Ulster.
The impossible conditions meant any chances of the likes of Brian O’Driscoll showing their skills were virtually nil. In the event, the game was reduced to close forwards driving play and carefully planted high kicks.
Yet, that said, it was a backline attack and finely judged passing move that produced the only try of the game by Edinburgh wing Doug Fife.
After absorbing early pressure, Leinster, using the high kick from Ian Madigan to good effect, began to gain territorial advantage and when the visitors worked an overlap Jordi Murphy, after taking a pass from fellow back row Shane Jennings, had a charge at the line only to be met by the home side’s cover defence.
Edinburgh survived the two subsequent scrums but when the Scots transgressed just outside their own 22m area, Madigan was on target for the opening points of the match.
But Leinster’s lead did not last long as Edinburgh, inspired by a break from Greig Laidlaw, drove at the visitors’ line ferociously. Leinster’s fringe defence was solid but when the ball was spun wide a gap appeared that allowed Edinburgh outside half Greig Tonks to supply the scoring pass to Fife.
Then, after a period of pressure on the Leinster line, the visitors gave away a penalty at the ruck, giving Laidlaw a simple kick at goal to increase his side’s lead to 8-3. Despite further pressure from Edinburgh just before half-time that remained the interval score.
Two minutes into the second half Edinburgh were penalised for coming into the side of a ruck and again Madigan showed his goal kicking skills to bring Leinster within two points of the home side.
But three minutes later Laidlaw kicked his second goal after Leinster were penalised for not releasing in the tackle.
Leinster’s response was a period of positive rugby and Madigan twice triggered wide attacks with good judgment of the pass that ended with winger Darragh Fanning forced into touch two metres from the Edinburgh line.
The visitors had an opportunity to put further pressure on Edinburgh with a penalty kick to the corner on for Madigan to misjudge the angle, allowing home full-back Jack Cuthbert to regain territory.
Jimmy Gopperth replaced Madigan for the final 20 minutes but the outside half’s first contribution was an over-cooked kick to touch. Laidlaw then struck with the boot after his own break and the ball bobbled into touch five metres from the Leinster line. From the resultingt line-out Edinburgh came close to scoring when an inside pass from Greg Tonks gave flanker Cornell de Preez a tilt at the line, glory being denied by desperate Leinster tackling.
A dynamic driving maul by the Edinburgh forwards then had Leinster in trouble, forcing the visitors to concede a penalty, but this time Laidlaw, kicking into the wind, was short with his attempt.
Leinster, having made a number of substitutions, found a late battery of energy and from a lineout in the corner the visitors launched a series of drives at the Edinburgh try-line. But it came to naught as the visitors, after being unable to breach the home defence, spilled ball close to the line giving Edinburgh a scrum , a reprieve and ultimately victory.
Scorers for Edinburgh: Tries: Fife. Pens: Laidlaw (2)
Leinster scorers: Pens: Madigan (2).
EDINBURGH: Cuthbert, Fife, De Luca, Atiga, Brown, Tonks, Laidlaw, Dickinson, Ford, Nel, Gilchrist, Atkins, Du Preez, Grant, Denton. Replacements: Beard for Fife (32), Cox for Atkins (61).
LEINSTER: Kirchner, Fanning, O’Driscoll, Reid, Fitzgerald, Madigan, Boss, Bent, Dundon, Moore, Cullen, Denton, K. McLaughlin, Jennings, Murphy. Replacements: Macken for Fanning (75), Gopperth for Madigan (61), Furlong for Moore (75), Roux for Denton (65), Ryan for K. McLaughlin (61).
Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland).
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