Tuesday 23 April 2019

Edinburgh boost play-off prospects as pack prove too powerful for second-string Leinster

Edinburgh 28 Leinster 11

Leinster's Jack McGrath following their defeat. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Leinster's Jack McGrath following their defeat. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Edinburgh improved their chances of reaching the Pro14 play-offs by achieving a bonus point win in Conference B over what was effectively a second-string Leinster side at BT Murrayfield last night.

Even though they started with nine Scotland internationals, Edinburgh, never showed the kind of flair the Scots revealed at Twickenham in their extraordinary fightback against England.

Instead, they relied on a power performance by their forwards for all four tries but Leinster too appeared to be in this mindset, their sole try coming from the maul.

Leinster looked the sharper side with ball in hand in the early exchanges, attacking Edinburgh with an expansive game that had its reward in the shape of a penalty by Ciarán Frawley, moved from full-back to out-half after the late withdrawal of Ross Byrne.

Edinburgh were reduced to 14 men after skipper Fraser McKenzie was shown the yellow card for a tip tackle on Noel Reid that resulted in the centre being forced to leave the field with a head injury.

Leinster quickly made their numerical advantage count with a driving maul from a penalty-created lineout that ended with Seán Cronin scrambling over for a trademark try.

Leinster's Joe Tomane is tackled by Edinburgh's Simon Hickey, left, and Chris Dean. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Leinster's Joe Tomane is tackled by Edinburgh's Simon Hickey, left, and Chris Dean. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Edinburgh finally came into the game with a try from close range by their Scotland prop WP Nel after a series of drives from a lineout in the corner, the score converted by out half Jaco van der Welt to take Edinburgh within a point of the Leinster tally.

A second penalty by Frawley opened up a four-point gap but on half-time Edinburgh demonstrated power in the set-piece to win a penalty try after the Leinster eight had twice collapsed the scrum, leaving the home side with 14-11 interval lead.

Early in the second half Leinster openside Dan Leavy was sent to the sin bin for malpractice in the contact area and immediately Edinburgh took advantage, using their superior numbers to drive a lineout ending with a try for hooker Ross Ford and the conversion from Van der Welt.

Leinster then felt the force of the Edinburgh forward pack who forced a clutch of penalties from their set-piece play and their work at the breakdown.

Leinster's Jimmy O'Brien is tackled by Edinburgh's Henry Pyrgos. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Leinster's Jimmy O'Brien is tackled by Edinburgh's Henry Pyrgos. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

The visitors' defence was tested to the limit and finally cracked when Bill Mata crashed over for Edinburgh's bonus-point try, converted by replacement out-half Simon Hickie.

EDINBURGH - D Fife; D Graham, J Johnstone, M Scott (C Dean 49), D van der Merwe; J van der Walt (S Hickey 49), H Pyrgos (C Shiel 68); P Schoeman (A Dell 69), R Ford (C Fenton 65), WP Nel (S Berghan 51); F McKenzie, B Toolis (C Hunter-Hill 34), J Barclay (M Bradbury 57), H Watson, V Mata.

LEINSTER - C Frawley; F McFadden, N Reid (C O'Brien 65), J Tomane (G Mullin 74), B Daly; R Byrne, L McGrath (N McCarthy 63); E Byrne (J McGrath 53), S Cronin (B Byrne 40), M Bent (A Porter 53), J Murphy, M Kearney, R Ruddock (J Dunne 74), D Leavy (O Dowling 65), M Deegan.

Ref - B Whitehouse (WRU)

Leinster's Ciarán Frawley is tackled by Edinburgh's Hamish Watson. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Leinster's Ciarán Frawley is tackled by Edinburgh's Hamish Watson. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

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