- Referee:Fitzgibbon, Peter
- HT Score:Edinburgh 8, Leinster 3
|EDINBURGH RUGBY SCORE CARD|
|LEINSTER RUGBY SCORE CARD|
Alan Solomons’ men had caused something of a surprise by defeating Gloucester in the same venue the week beforehand, and they enjoyed a good deal of possession during the early exchanges. They were keeping Leinster on the back-foot, but much like their Blue Army counterparts, they committed a number of unforced errors on a night when expansive attacking rugby was kept at a minimum.
Edinburgh No 8 David Denton was prominent during the opening quarter with a number of eye-catching carries into enemy territory, but it was his opposite number Jordi Murphy who had the first clear-cut opportunity of the contest.
The Lansdowne club man was hauled down just shy of the Edinburgh line on this occasion, but the holders did eventually get the scoring underway with 22 minutes gone on the clock, when fly-half Ian Madigan comfortably struck a routine place-kick between the posts following an indiscretion by opposition flanker Cornell du Preez.
It was largely unsurprising that it took so long for the opening score of this tie, but while Leinster were hoping to build momentum as a result of taking the lead, it was actually the hosts who produced the appropriate response.
A terrific break by skipper Greig Laidlaw on the half-hour mark helped Edinburgh to establish a foothold in the Leinster half, and a fine cross-field move was ultimately finished off on the left-hand side by right-wing Fife.
This was a hammer blow for Leinster so close to the intervals and although scrum-half Laidlaw was off-target with the subsequent conversion, he was successful from a 38th minute penalty to give his side a slender 8-3 mid-way advantage.
In general, it had been a largely uneventful opening period, but with the rain starting to die off as the action restarted, Leinster reduced their deficit to just two points four minutes into the half when Ian Madigan brilliantly curled a three-point effort inside the posts off his trusty right-boot.
Edinburgh displayed no signs of panic, though, and they restored their five-point cushion just three minutes later when Laidlaw expertly converted a 25-metre penalty from a manageable left-hand angle.
As the crucial final-quarter beckoned, both teams continued to display admirable endeavour, but try-scoring opportunities remained at a premium, with the wings and centres being kept largely on the periphery of the play.
Laidlaw was making a sizeable impression for the 2011/12 Heineken Cup semi-finalists, however, and the Scottish International kept Leinster on their toes with another massive break 15 minutes from the end. The Blues managed to snuff out the threat in this instance, and they were also relieved to see the 28-year-old’s long-distance kick at goal dropping just short on 74 minutes.
This meant that Leinster still had a realistic chance of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, but although they looked set to cross the whitewash with a period of intense pressure after replacement Jimmy Gopperth opted to kick for touch, an unfortunate knock-on led to a scrum in favour of Edinburgh.
The home team still needed to hold tight during the final moments of a dogged showdown, but they eventually kicked to safety to secure a hard-earned triumph.EDINBURGH SCORERS: D. Fife (1 try), G. Laidlaw (2 penalties).
LEINSTER SCORERS: I. Madigan (2 penalties).
EDINBURGH: J Cuthbert; D Fife, N De Luca, B Atiga, T Brown; G Tonks, G LaidlawCAPTAIN; A Dickinson, R Ford, W Nel, G Gilchrist, O Atkins, C du Preez, R Grant, D Denton.
REPLACEMENTS: A Lutui, W Blaauw, G Cross, S Cox, M Coman, G Hart, T Fenner, S Beard.
15: Zane Kirchner
14: Darragh Fanning
13: Brian O’Driscoll
12: Noel Reid
11: Luke Fitzgerald
10: Ian Madigan
9: Isaac Boss
1: Michael Bent
2: Aaron Dundon
3: Martin Moore
4: Leo Cullen CAPTAIN
5: Tom Denton
6: Kevin McLaughlin
7: Shane Jennings
8: Jordi Murphy
16: James Tracy
17: Jack O’Connell
18: Tadhg Furlong
19: Quinn Roux
20: Dominic Ryan
21: John Cooney
22: Jimmy Gopperth
23: Brendan Macken
REFEREE: Peter Fitzgibbon (IRFU), ASSISTANT REFEREES: Andrew McMenemy, TBC (both SRU), CITING COMMISSIONER: Iain Goodall (SRU), TMO: Iain Ramage (SRU).