Thursday 8 December 2016

Edinburgh give Cullen a reality check

Alan Lorimer

Published 05/09/2015 | 02:30

Leinster players following their side's defeat in Edinburgh
Leinster players following their side's defeat in Edinburgh
A disappointed Royce Burke-Flynn
Bryan Byrne is tackled by Fraser McKenzie, left, and John Andress, Edinburgh
Ross Molony, Leinster, takes possession in a lineout
Leinster's Isa Nacewa is tackled by Neil Cochrane

According to new coach Leo Cullen, Leinster came to Edinburgh for this Pro12 clash with expectations of victory, but they had to settle for a losing bonus point after succumbing to their hosts' second-half ferocity.

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"We came here with ambition and wanting to go out and play. But unfortunately we turned over ball rather cheaply. Edinburgh were very aggressive at the breakdown," said Cullen.

Leinster should have made more of their early territorial advantage at Meggetland, during which they kicked three penalties to the corner. But the visitors, varying their tactics from the ensuing lineouts, were unable to break through Edinburgh's resolute defence.

The deadlock was finally broken when Isa Nacewa kicked a penalty following a high tackle on out-half Cathal Marsh. Nacewa then came close with a penalty attempt from the halfway line. Edinburgh replied with a penalty from scrum-half Nathan Fowles to level the scores.

The hosts then drove a close-range line-out but were unable to find a hole in the Leinster defence. Fowles was short with a penalty, leaving the sides tied at 3-3 going into the interval.

Straight from the second-half kick-off Leinster erred by knocking on the ball. From the ensuing scrum Edinburgh laid siege to their line but again they could not dent the visitors' defence.

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

At the ensuing scrum, Leinster scrum-half Luke McGrath was penalised for a crooked feed. That allowed Edinburgh to hammer away at the Blues' line and this time they did get over, with winger Damien Hoyland touching down. The conversion was missed.

Leinster quickly replied with a second penalty by Nacewa, and when Edinburgh infringed at a scrum, the Kiwi full-back was given the chance to put his side ahead, but this time he missed.

Worth

At the other end Edinburgh full-back Jack Cuthbert, 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. They kicked to touch and when Dominic Ryan was penalised for taking down the maul, earning the replacement a yellow card, Edinburgh repeated the dose, 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

Ref - P Fitzgibbon (IRFU)

Irish Independent

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