Friday 21 September 2018

Damage done in first half as Connacht suffer defeat in Edinburgh

Edinburgh 17 Connacht 10

Shane Delahunt of Connacht following defeat
Shane Delahunt of Connacht following defeat

Edinburgh recorded their first Guinness PRO14 win of the season with a 17-10 victory over Connacht in their first home outing of the season.

A first-half Duhan van der Merwe try and a second-half touchdown by Pierre Schoeman, plus two conversions and a penalty from Jaco van der Walt, were sufficient to see Edinburgh home.

The visitors scored their points via a Niyi Adeolokun try and Jack Carty's boot.

The hosts almost went ahead when Van der Walt - a late replacement at stand-off after Simon Hickey was taken ill - darted into space and fed Matt Scott, who sprinted down the left and looked set to open the scoring only to be denied by a superb Adeolokun tackle just short of the line.

Van der Walt then spurned a 15th-minute penalty under the posts by kicking for the corner, only for Edinburgh to lose the resulting lineout.

The traffic continued to flow towards the Connacht line but the visitors' defence remained solid until the 25th minute. A searing break by Blair Kinghorn was continued by Hamish Watson, who was hauled down a couple of metres shy.

However, a deliberate knock-on at the breakdown earned Connacht skipper Jarrad Butler 10 minutes in the sin-bin, Edinburgh opted for the scrum, and Henry Pyrgos fired the ball out to Van der Merwe, who raced in for the score.

After 30 minutes on the back foot, Connacht finally paid a visit to the Edinburgh 22, only for a multi-phase assault on the home defence to end when Watson stole turnover ball at the breakdown.

The Scots spurned several more kicks at goal as the penalty count mounted, and Van der Walt finally took the three points with the final play of the first half.

Connacht made a livelier start to the second period but made little impression on the home defence as the hosts remained firmly in the ascendancy.

Edinburgh extended their lead after 55 minutes as another penalty was dispatched into touch and the ensuing drive shunted the Connacht defence over their line.

Schoeman was last to rise from a heap of bodies, and after consulting the television official, the referee awarded the score.

Having offered very little in an attacking sense, the visitors clawed their way back into the match with 19 minutes to play when the ball was spun out wide to Adeolokun, who dived over at the corner.

Carty's conversion cut the gap to 10 points and sensing that there may yet be a route back, Connacht set about adding to their tally.

A penalty by Carty five minutes from full-time offered them a glimmer of hope, but ultimately proved sufficient only for a losing bonus point.

Online Editors

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