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Edinburgh Rugby (6) 16 - 27 (24) Leinster Rugby
Murrayfield, Edinburgh

Att: 5,372
Saturday 11th October 2008, 13:35

Edinburgh then. The monkey on the back that felt more like an ape. Leinster travelled to Murrayfield, the site of so many disappointments in this competition in terrible form having lost their previous two Magners League games. Leinster had rung the changes with Felipe Contepomi returned to outhalf for the first time this season and with a centre partnership of O'Driscoll and Fitzgerald, perhaps a nod to this Autumns Internationals.

If Leinster were to find some encouragement it was to be in the drubbing they had handed out to this same team in the league in September. Edinburgh had lost their first home game of the previous years Heineken Cup too before getting into their stride to damage Leinster and Leicester's campaign. The early signs in this match weren't massively positive, with Edinburgh taking the slight majority in territory and Leinster's lineout malfunctioning. The Scottish side took the lead on the quarter hour with a penalty awarded for an infringement at the breakdown.

Just before the twenty minute mark the match changed quite dramatically for Leinster. Girvan Dempsey tackled Robertson and foraged superbly to force a turnover and Elsom picked up the loose ball and after a little show and go charged towards the Edinburgh try line. Elsom swatted away would be tacklers and outpaced the Edinburgh half backs to bundle over the try line.

Leinster were sparked into life and Contepomi cut through the Edinburgh defence who again bought the dummy. With Jackman and O'Driscoll in support, Contepomi fed the latter who outpaced the desperate Edinburgh defence to dot down under the posts, for a long awaited try. The Murrayfield crowd meagre as it was, was incensed having spotted a forward pass in the build up. Neither touch judge nor referee spotted it and Leinster were only too happy to accept their slice of luck. Contepomi's conversion gave the scoreboard a healthy look from Leinster's perspective and within ten it looked even better.

Again the Edinburgh defence were in knots and this time it was O'Driscoll who surged through from within his own 22 and returned the favour for Contepomi who crossed the whitewash. O'Driscoll's footwork and pace was causing all sorts of problems for the Edinburgh defence. Almost immediately Leinster had struck again. Heaslip and Dempsey combined well on the wing and Horgan did what he does best finishing well from twenty metres. A superb twenty minutes from Leinster in which they had sealed the bonus point, aided by some woeful Edinburgh Defending. The half was brought to a close by a Paterson penalty with Leinster in a 24-6 lead.

If the visiting support were expecting Leinster to continue with their running style into the second half they were to be disappointed. The second period began with a series of kicks between the two teams. On ten minutes however Edinburgh fashioned their best move of the match. With the Leinster defence stretched Edinburgh went wide and Contepomi caught the ball and booted it upfield. The only difficulty was he was offside, and in the assessment of the referee had denied a certain try. A yellow card, penalty try and conversion duly followed and suddenly questions were being asked of Leinster.

To Leinster's credit they exercised fantastic control of the ball during the ten minute sin-binning of their outhalf, with Edinburgh barely seeing the ball. Leinster forayed into Edinburgh territory and even won themselves a penalty, which in the absence of Contepomi, Kearney took, but missed.

Edinburgh scored next with a penalty to bring the scores within eight and could have scored again but for the intervention of Chris Whitaker's knock on, not adjudged by the referee as deliberate and the fielding of Jackman who plucked a high ball out of the sky to deny Edinburgh a certain try. Contepomi finished his days work with another penalty to push the score out again and in the end Leinster were relieved to have survived the second half.

Although it was far from vintage Leinster it was nevertheless a big psychological boost to Leinster. Edinburgh held many skeletons for the team and a third defeat in as many weeks would have dealt a body blow to the season. The win and bonus point could be crucial, with bonus being the operative word. The match against Wasps is a big one for both teams and a Leinster win would see them in good shape for the double header with Castres closer to Christmas.

Match Statistics
  Edinburgh Rugby
  Leinster Rugby
Tries Penalty   Elsom
Conversions Paterson   Contepomi (2)
Penalties Paterson (2)
Teams Chris Paterson
15 Girvan Dempsey
Mark Robertson
14 Shane Horgan
Hugo Southwell 13 Luke Fitzgerald
Nick De Luca
12 Brian O'Driscoll
Simon Webster
11 Robert Kearney
Phil Godman
10 Felipe Contepomi
Mike Blair (C)
9 Chris Whitaker
Allan Jacobson
1 Stan Wright
Ross Ford
2 Bernard Jackman
Geoff Cross
3 CJ van der Linde
Jim Hamilton
4 Leo Cullen (C)
Matt Mustchin
5 Devin Toner
Scott Newlands
6 Rocky Elsom
Alun MacDonald
7 Shane Jennings
Ali Hogg
8 Jamie Heaslip
Replacements Andrew Kelly
16 John Fogarty (for Jackman, 73)
Gavin Kerr
17 Cian Healy (for Wright, HT)
Ben Gissing (for J. Hamilton, 60)
18 Trevor Hogan (for Toner, 65)
Craig Hamilton (for Newlands, 73)
19 Stephen Keogh
Greig Laidlaw
20 Chris Keane (for Whitaker, 69)
David Blair (for Southwell, 78)
21 Jonathan Sexton (for Fitzgerald, 79)
John Houston (for Robertson, 52)
22 Gary Brown
Not Considered
due to Injury

  Gordon D'Arcy
Isa Nacewa
Malcolm O'Kelly
Sean O'Brien
Officials Referee: Rob Debney (RFU)

by Sarah Lennon, © 2008-10-16