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Edinburgh 19 Connacht 14
Rabo Pro Direct Pro 12, Round 3
Friday 16th September
“ No matter how we do it, we need to get a win” said Michael Bradley the day before the game and his Edinburgh side definitely got the message.
Despite being pinned back in their own half for the early part of the game they managed to survive several scares before taking the lead. Connacht’s best chance to score came from a turnover of Edinburgh No. 8 David Denton; Frank Murphy ripped the ball and broke downfield. He offloaded to winger Tiernan O’Halloran who sped towards the line only to be hauled down by a combination of Tom Brown and Lee Jones. Connacht Fly-half Matthew Jarvis then missed a straight forward penalty and despite being given a second chance from the same place he spurned this as well. Edinburgh captain Greig Laidlaw returned the favour coming up short with an attempt from wide out. Laidlaw tried to add some speed to the game taking a quick penalty which saw Edinburgh into the Connacht ’22 for only the second time in thirty minutes. They drew a penalty and Laidlaw put Edinburgh into the lead 3-0. Connacht’s indiscipline was starting to annoy referee Falzone who yellow-carded their captain Gavin Duffy after giving away a silly penalty for knocking the ball out of Edinburgh scrum-half Chris Leck’s hands. Laidlaw punished the error which saw Edinburgh go in 6-0 up at half time.
Connacht again started brightly capitalising on poor Edinburgh passing to recover the ball and Jarvis slotted the resulting penalty to halve the deficit. A flurry of penalties for both sides saw the score rise to 12-6 as Edinburgh went ahead only to be pulled back by Connacht.
A clearing kick was gathered by Edinburgh winger Lee Jones who made a miraculous break through the Connacht line but unfortunately the ball was spilled which set the tone for much of the next period of play. “It wasn’t pretty at times” said Laidlaw post-match, as any continuity that existed was lost until the last ten minutes of the game.
A promising Connacht attack was brought to an end as Denton charged down an Eoin Griffin kick that ricocheted into the Connacht half. Replacement winger Gregor Hunter chased, hacked on and dived on the ball to score the only try of the game. Laidlaw converted. From the resulting kick-off Tim Visser almost gifted Connacht a try as he was slow to clear but his charge down was luckily defused and so Edinburgh escaped again. Connacht then surged forward into the Edinburgh ’22 with their sights still firmly set on victory. A neat backs move saw Niall O’Connor, who was on for Jarvis, loop round to score in the corner to set up an exciting finish. Edinburgh weathered one more Connacht attack and despite a dubious penalty given against Edinburgh’s Sean Cox Connacht were denied which gave coach Bradley the win he so desired.
Edinburgh’s next game (30th September) sees them take on Munster with prices slashed to just £5 for students.
Attendance - 2364
Edinburgh: Brown, Jones, Thompson, King(Scott, 78), Visser, Laidlaw(C), Leck (Hunter 52), Traynor(Hislop, 61), Lawrie(Kelly, 61), Knight, Gilchrist(McInally, 59), Turnbull, Cox, Grant, Denton
Connacht: Duffy (C), McCrea (Tuohoy, 66), Griffin, Fa’afili, O’Halloran, Jarvis (O’Connor,54), Murphy (O’Donohoe, 59), Loughney (Wilkinson, 49), Reynecke (Flavin, 59), Ah You (Rogers, 43), Swift, McCarthy, Muldoon, O’Connor, Naoupu (Ofisa, 36)
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