Thursday 25 April 2019

Leinster suffer Pro14 defeat against Edinburgh in Murrayfield

Edinburgh 28 Leinster 11

Leinster players walk off the pitch following their defeat
Leinster players walk off the pitch following their defeat

Edinburgh remain in the running for a Guinness PRO14 play-off spot after posting a comfortable 28-11 win over defending champions Leinster at BT Murrayfield.

The Scots went into the game with little or no wriggle room in the race for a top-four finish and they produced a workmanlike effort to see off a Leinster outfit that already has top spot in Conference B sewn up.

Edinburgh reached the break with a 14-11 lead through a penalty try and a WP Nel touchdown, which was converted by Jaco Van Der Walt. Further scores by Ross Ford and Viliame Mata ensured a maximum five-point haul for the home side.

Leinster's points came in the first half through a Sean Cronin try and two penalties from Ciaran Frawley.

The visitors made the better start and crossed the whitewash after five minutes. However, the referee judged that Mick Kearney had been held up.

The score was only delayed and an offence at the ensuing scrum presented Frawley with a straightforward three points.

The hosts had an immediate opportunity to square matters but Van Der Walt struck a post with a close-range penalty attempt.

Edinburgh lost Fraser McKenzie to the sin bin, but the lock could consider himself fortunate not to have seen red for a dangerous tackle on Noel Reid who took no further part in the match.

Leinster wasted no time in capitalising on their numerical advantage. A penalty was banged into touch five metres from the home line. Josh Murphy gathered at the lineout and a powerful drive created the opportunity for Cronin to rumble over.

Edinburgh were struggling to gain a foothold in the game. There was an opportunity to open their account after 22 minutes with a penalty booted into touch.

However, the attempt to drive over following the lineout ended when the ball squirted out of the side of the ruck, allowing Leinster to clear.

The hosts finally made the breakthrough after 30 minutes. Another penalty was kicked into touch and a multi-phase assault on the Leinster line ended with Nel forcing his way over and Van Der Walt adding the extras to cut the deficit to a point.

Frawley booted another penalty for the visitors but, by the interval, Edinburgh had seized the lead. A series of penalties came to nothing before the final play of the game - a scrum five metres from the line - yielded a penalty try.

The home side maintained the momentum at the start of the second period and - with Leinster flanker Dan Leavy in the sin bin - extended their lead when Ford blasted his way over from close range and Van Der Walt hammered over the touchline conversion.

The focus then switched to securing a try bonus point and, after more than 15 minutes spent battering relentlessly at a resolute Leinster defence, Mata plunged over to clinch the key score. Simon Hickey added the extra two points to establish a 17-point lead.

Leinster never looked capable of overturning that gap, although they did finish with a flourish.

They thought they had added to their tally with the final play, only for it to be chalked off after referring to the television match official.

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