Edinburgh took to a chilly Murrayfield to face off with the European Champions Leinster low in confidence and low on wins. The visitors had obviously done their homework on Edinburgh’s habit of sleepy starts, and came blasting out of the blocks with the full bag of handling tricks played at what for Scotland fans would appear to be a frightening pace.
They obviously fancied a bonus point in the first half hour and then a relaxing run through some backline moves ahead of the Heineken Cup pool deciders in coming weeks. As it was Edinburgh finally started a game at full pace, although for them that still involves the odd knock on, silly penalties and a scrum blowing hot and cold – although much of that could be put down to oblivious refereeing.
Still, it was only 3-3 after half an hour, and the next score was a dubious penalty try for a maul offence that also put David Denton in the sin-bin. Leinster put their foot on the pedal briefly and Gordon D’Arcy grabbed another try. Ten minutes just before half time, and that would ultimately be their undoing.
Edinburgh came out much the same in the second half, trying hard but getting nowhere as Leinster were comfortable in their defence.
Tim Visser has been having to look for work of late in the absence of his partner in crime Nick De Luca, and he went seeking a big hit to set the crowd buzzing, which it did. Despite the tackle’s textbook appearance he did himself a mischief and went off. Hopefully nothing too serious, from a Scotland point of view. This time last year the Scotland team would have been all Edinburgh. Now they’ll be lucky to get Visser and Laidlaw in, never mind that Ford hasn’t played for a few weeks and a guy the size of Denton seems to get bullied backwards.
Shane Jennings samba danced through the Edinburgh defence and made the simplest of passes to put Jonny Sexton over the line. Leinster were chasing the bonus but it just took them a little longer to achieve it, Ian Madigan going over on 67 minutes after Edinburgh had turned it over in attack despite being a man to the good.
The home side put together some spirited attack as Laidlaw, Scott and Piers Francis found some gaps to attack. The try of the match was probably WP Nel selling a dummy and coasting over from 40 metres which at least gave the crowd something to cheer as Edinburgh had their tails up from then until the final whistle – as usual a bit too late.
It was ultimately not enough to trouble a Leinster side who may be struggling on the league table but are still mighty confident in their own abilities, come the big game or small.
Man of the Match: Sean O Brien. As usual, tackled anything that moved. Gordon D’Arcy had a surprisingly good game too, as did WP Nel for Edinburgh.