Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Leinster 30-23 Edinburgh

Cornell du Preez - pic © Al Ross/Novantae Photography
Cornell du Preez - pic © Al Ross/Novantae Photography

Edinburgh drew first blood at the RDS after a strong carry by Cornell du Preez set a platform for the visitors that the hosts were inhospitably unable to avoid meddling in. Jason Tovey took an easy kick.

Both sides were carrying adventurously and although Madigan came back with 2 penalties for Leinster, Edinburgh had the better of the territory in the opening quarter of an hour. Once again it was deficiencies in attack that resulted in fumbled passes and no scores in the red zone. Hidalgo-Clyne’s service was poor overall and too many passes landed at the feet of Jason Tovey.

John Hardie was back in the team too but it was a bit of a shocker; for every nice offload there was a high tackle, a late tackle or a troubling altercation with Ben Teo’o where the centre seemed to be alleging contact with his eye area.

Tom Brown was lively at 11 and Phil Burleigh looked more at home in the 12 shirt until he picked up a knock, but the defence was Edinburgh’s chief saviour in the opening half.

Even when Jamie Ritchie was sin-binned for a borderline side-entry at a ruck, the men in black and red held pretty firm. Leinster battered the line with big ball-carriers, rolling mauls and training-ground set moves and some heroic scrambling kept the men in blue out until Madigan arced a lovely pass into touch to end the half.

HT Leinster 6-3 Edinburgh

The second half was much more interesting.

Mike Allen and Sean Kennedy came on, but Hidalgo-Clyne had not been hooked; rather repurposed on the wing for Tom Brown who had moved into the centre. Chris Dean never recovered from an accidental head to the crotch in the first half, but at least his replacement was a centre.

The mix and match backline didn’t take long to show its fragility as Luke Fitzgerald split them open before lobbing a basketball pass over his head for scrum half Luke McGrath to score under the posts.

Edinburgh came right back with a big carry from captain Ross Ford and they battered manfully away at Leinster. When Kennedy had a poor game a few weeks ago and Hidalgo-Clyne improved things massively at half time, the replacement returned the favour this week with his competitor on the park – passes going to hand giving Tovey space to find Tom Brown out wide on the left wing. Tovey then added the cherry with a touchline conversion to make it 13-8.

However he undid all that good work moments later when with all the momentum  he missed a kick to touch. From there Leinster broke out and combined with some awful defending, Josh O’Van Der Flier was too powerful for Allan and Kinghorn to stop crossing the line.

Suddenly it was 20-8, the crowd had their backs up and the penalties were all going one way. If nothing else, it shows how quickly a game of rugby can turn.

When Leinster’s maul came calling again, Edinburgh were still up to the task but it drew in a sufficient amount of defenders to create easy space for Fergus McFadden in the corner and Leinster were hunting the bonus point.

Edinburgh, on the other hand were still unable to control the ball after line breaks and forced the game too much, Hidalgo-Clyne stuck out on the wing and a centre pair of Allan and Tom Brown.

Allan was sharp enough to latch on to a Madigan offload as the hosts played too much in their own 22, to claw the deficit back to 25-15 on the hour mark, but Edinburgh gifted the ball back to Leinster and once again the pack hit it up the left, and McFadden scored on the right.

Stuart McInally and Rory Sutherland added some impetus and when he came on Magnus Bradbury made a valuable impact with some big carries, but Kennedy topped off a fine cameo performance with a jink through a very minor gap that gave Edinburgh hope after Hamish Watson carried it close.

It was heartening to see an Edinburgh team refusing to lie down but cool heads are the first thing you learn before you learn how to win and too many scores were followed quickly by pressure in their own half.

Damien Hoyland almost burst through for a try and looked like he had the gas until he ran into a high McFadden shoulder that was as horrific as the decision to award just a penalty from it. If he’d tackled properly, an offload would have been on, so there is a slight argument for a penalty try. As it was, Hoyland gamely got a pass away before collapsing to the turf.

Sad to say but once again, shafted by the officials.

With the measly penalty kicked and the score 30-23, Edinburgh carried tirelessly to try and salvage a draw and double bonus point but in the end Leinster’s defence over the ball was just a little too good and when the ball popped back the wrong way, Leinster booted it as far out of the RDS as they could.

Edinburgh made it to 6th in the table for the night at least, and aren’t out of the hunt for Champions Cup rugby just yet.

SRBlog Man of the Match: tricky as no one player stood out for the full 80. Toolis and Dickinson were good first half, Tovey was mixed as was Hardie. For me the bench made this game and Sean Kennedy deserves it purely for rescuing Edinburgh’s effort and making it a contest in the second half although Mike Allan was similarly influential.

20 Responses

  1. Most disgusting tackle i have ever seen in rugby, last man (denying a try scoring opportunity), high, no arms, all of which were illegal the last time i checked. Typically ref bottled it, and irish tmo. Why does that keep happening. Should have been yellow at least and more likely a red and penalty try.

    To be fair edinburgh lost that off their own mistakes, but frustrating.

    1. Horrific! To be fair to Irish TMO, I think he sounded a little surprised at ref decision during conversation.

      I do wonder whether there needs to be a change of emphasis in how TMOs are used. They often defer, or don’t want to challenge, the thoughts of the ref. Should it be made clear that when the ref calls in the TMO, the TMO’s judgement – temporarily, for that incident – becomes the final word? Or at least they become equals at that point.

      Perhaps opens a can of worms though.

      1. It’s just weak refereeing. The ref shouldn’t need to ask the TMO for anything other than the replay on the big screen. Everything he needed to know was plain to see, and he shouldn’t have required a second opinion in this case. The TMO sounded fairly surprised.

  2. Just thought I’d write something about that disgraceful decision by the referee in the Edinburgh match .
    The ‘assassination attempt’ I just witnessed (there is no way it could ever be interpreted as a tackle) by McFadden on Hoyland must be one of the worst I’ve seen. The more I see it, the worse it becomes. On first sight I immediately thought that it was a red card offence. It was both reckless and dangerous and could have had a far different outcome. Constant replays only reinforced that opinion.
    What does the referee do. Merely a penalty. I couldn’t quite believe he said it.
    His explanation that McFadden didn’t have time to use his arms because of the impact of the tackle, simply beggars belief.

    1. Another game, another Irish team getting away with murder in Dublin… The Pro 12 won’t improve until the standard of refereeing improves dramatically and the people in charge make moves to change the impression that it’s run in favour of the Irish sides

      1. A shocking decision. Red card definitely, penalty try?? Who was the citing officer, if he was Irish, then we will hear no more about it. That said, Edinburgh were the architects of their own defeat. Slack line out first half and woeful service from SHC.

    2. Agreed, the impact was so hard because the technique was awful. If he’d tackled him lower they’d both have been safer. Reckless, dangerous, compounded by awful officiating…

    3. Couldn’t agree more PO, perfect description of an unbelievable decision. Hoyland could have been very seriously injured, what would the decision have been then!

  3. Just got even madder with the decision having watched the replay, then saw no mention of the ‘assault’ on a write up of the game on planet rugby, like it didnt matter.

    Bet there isnt even a citing.

  4. I was gobsmacked by the incident. Immediately thought – that is a red. No arms, high and a really dangerous impact. I can’t believe Hoyland got up – the boy is a nugget. No excuse for McFadden – he lined him up and did everything wrong. A really dirty challenge and shocking officiating, Not just poor, but really dangerous.

  5. Inside pass for Leinsters 1st try looked forward by Madigan, then 3 mistakes change all momentum – Tovey misses touch from pen, poor pass from Du Preez & intercept of Kennedy = Leinster score. But Edinburgh showed good fight throughout. Finally totally fed-up with Irish officials, TMO in this case, giving ‘homer’ decisions that ruin Pro 12’s credibility, yellow card absolute minimum for tackle on Hoyland. Really hope Glasgow cream Leinster before the seasons out.

  6. Shocking decision. If Hoyland had “sextonned” about on the floor, it would have been red. He should be congratulated for not doing so.

    A number of decisions at the breakdown were curious to say the least but the scrum was very poorly officiated. Edinburgh were clearly dominant with Leinster getting away with collapsing on their own put in. Momentum would have been very different had the referee understood what was going on.

    However, at the end of the day, Edinburgh did enough to lose this game. No point blaming the officials.

    1. Even with numerous men out of position and a few schoolboy howlers , Edinburgh finished the stronger side against the pro 12 leaders. I would say that is progress and they are a side to watch. Hamish Watson is consistently one of their best performers, last night was no exception.

      The high tackle , I could not believe my own eyes and post the decision, well, I am speechless. Hoyland’s response to a clear injustice , is a credit to him, Edinburgh and the game.

      1. Hoyland deserves a round of applause. He just got up and got on with it after one of the most disgusting acts of foul play I have seen in a while.

        Don’t hold your breath on a citing.

        The farce of the Pro 12 refereeing has to be sorted. It is a total joke.

      2. Yes, bodes well for next season. Hopefully Embra playing in Europe too.

        The process works well in the Aviva Premiership for transparency in refereeing decisions back to the clubs and other refs challenging each other’s decisions round a table after every weekend. Does this happen in Pro 12?

      3. The Munster v Connacht result is great for Edinburgh, with 6th place a three way shoot out between us, Cardiff and Munster. Not to mention that Scarlets could even be at risk of slipping out of the top 6 entirely.

        We have a fair crack, we’re playing the form team at home and the out of form team away so gives us a realistic shot at two wins.

  7. Edinburgh are definitely a team on the up. Two out of two for the run in is a huge challenge. If they get the wins they will truly have earned their place and I will be well impressed; this season has been incredibly tight. Connacht versus Glasgow is now looking to be a huge fixture and could be an absolute cracker, with both teams playing some wonderful rugby.

  8. McFadden and Burleigh cited it seems. Burleigh for contact around the eyes. Any bets who gets a ban and who doesn’t?

  9. As has been said many times above, shocking tackle, why the ref even needed TMO is a question it it’s self, Red Card Maybe, Penalty Try Maybe, Yellow Card without a shadow of doubt, Hmmmm just remind me who were playing at home, oh yeah I remember Leinster, as to the Ref is it time to change the laws, How can Edinburgh be so dominant up front, be pushing them back time after time, yet they are penalized. I know the ref plays it as he sees it but surely week after week they should be looking at what others do in the scrum to counter the dominance. As someone said, it is only cheating if you get caught, so I guess they are not cheating.

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