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Edinburgh 28 – 36 Leinster

Edinburgh and Leinster both struggled after the recent three week break but there was a willingness to throw the ball about that made it interesting viewing for the neutral, if not the respective defence coaches.

Despite decent playing conditions at Murrayfield it was a patchy first half from both teams, with ruck-side defence poor from Edinburgh, and gaps for attackers all over the pitch. Edinburgh seemed more able to string passes together, with the likes of David Denton breaking the line on several occasions. In the backs, Matt Scott and Harry Leonard linked reasonably well in attack and De Luca looked refreshingly sharp too. Tim Visser once again took another try impressively, showing pace and power to charge through a gap that wasn’t really there.

Neither side was doing much tackling, with first up tackles dropping off everywhere. As a consequence Leinster had plenty of ball to throw about, but their back division was failing to click. While Boss, Fitzgerald and the Kearney brothers looked threatening, they failed to capitalise on the opportunities offered up by Edinburgh. A couple of early chances for the Irishmen were hauled down (only just) short of the line but the pressure eventually told when Boss easily ghosted through a gap in the defence for his try.

Leinster came out stronger in the second half in front of a vocal travelling support and although it was that man Visser who powered over for another well taken try to please the home fans, Leinster responded quickly with a try from Auva’a – and the lead changed hands again.

As the breeze picked up, Greig Laidlaw’s kicking boots deserted him when trying to pull Edinburgh within striking distance of at least a draw. A very well taken try for Scott after some great darting runs from De Luca gave them hope but the conversion went wide.

Failure to hold on to their restart ball (sound familiar?) saw Leinster take possession and march upfield; the home team’s inevitable frustration led to a penalty. McFadden took his time over the kick that took Edinburgh out of bonus point range.

Speaking afterwards, Edinburgh coach Michael Bradley seemed happy with the performance of new man at 10 Harry Leonard and the way he got his runners on the ball, but said the team as a whole was a bit off the pace at the breakdown and “just needed to be slightly more patient”. They were “disappointed not to get anything out of the match”, he went on to say. “The structure of our game plan is keeping us in games… but too many penalties made it too easy for Leinster”.

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Scottish Rugby Blog Man of the Match: Matt Scott (Ed)

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