Leinster fall at first hurdle

Edinburgh 16 Leinster 9: Leinster’s hopes of opening their Guinness Pro12 season with a victory were shattered last night by an Edinburgh side that showed more flair with ball in hand and which had a more aggressive back row.

But in a World Cup season the Guinness Pro12 teams have to field fringe and younger players and in this context Leinster were able to give exposure to the likes of out-half Ross Byrne, who came off the bench during the second half and played impressively.

After a tentative start, the deadlock was broken when Isa Nacewa kicked a penalty goal following a high tackle on outside half Cathal Marsh.

The Leinster full back then came close with a penalty attempt from the halfway line, but Edinburgh replied with a penalty goal from their scrum half Nathan Fowles to level the scores.

It was tied at 3-3 at the interval but straight from the second half kick-off Leinster erred by knocking on.

From the ensuing scrum Edinburgh laid siege on the Leinster line but again they could not dent the visitors’ defence.

Edinburgh, however, exerted further pressure after their forwards drove over the Leinster line. But after going upstairs referee Peter Fitzgibbon ruled there had been a knock-on, leaving Edinburgh frustrated yet again.

At the ensuing scrum McGrath was penalised for a crooked feed allowing Edinburgh to hammer at the Leinster line and this time finishing with a try scored by winger Damien Hoyland.

Leinster quickly replied with a second penalty goal by Nacewa and when Edinburgh infringed at a scrum Nacewa was given the chance to kick for victory but this time the full-back proved fallible.

At the other end Edinburgh’s full back , after an earlier miss, proved his worth from the kicking tee only to be matched minutes later by Nacewa, leaving the home side with a slender 11-9 lead.

Edinburgh hit back strongly with slick passing but their only reward was a penalty.

The Scottish side kicked to touch and when Dominic Ryan was penalised for taking down the maul, earning the replacement a yellow card, Edinburgh repeated the dosebut this time releasing the ball wide for Hoyland to claim his second try to seal victory.

EDINBURGH:

J Cuthbert; D Fife, C Dean (J Johnstone 23), S Beard (G Tonks 68) ,D Hoyland; P Burleigh, N Fowles (S Kennedy 60); R Sutherland, N Cochrane, J Andress (S Berghan 75), A Bresler (F McKenzie 50), B Toolis, C Du Preez, R Grant (H Watson 60), N Manu

LEINSTER:

I Nacewa; F McFadden, B Te’o, N Reid, D Fanning; C Marsh (R Byrne 57), L McGrath (I Boss 57); J Hagan (R Burke-Flynn 45), A Dundon (B Byrne 45), M Bent, T Denton (R Molony 44), M McCarthy, K McLaughlin (D Ryan 48), D Leavy (P Dooley 64), J Conan Referee: P Fitzgibbon (IRFU)

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