Edinburgh’s destiny is now in their hands after a well fought out first away win of the season.
Despite conceding a try early in the first half, Edinburgh scored fifteen unanswered points in the second half, thanks to tries from James Johnstone and Duhan Van Der Merwe, which gave them a vital away victory that means Edinburgh, realistically, only need one more win to secure a quarter-final spot.
Edinburgh are the hunted in this group now, and realistically have one challenger to their qualification hopes. Montpellier, with their bonus point home win against Toulon, are only four points behind. Although Edinburgh still need a further victory from their two fixtures, Montpellier need to be flawless in their final fixtures to keep the pressure on.
The first half was, like last week, a tight affair – very physical but a lot of loose ball. Both Edinburgh and Newcastle showed good intent in defence, with opportunities missed on both sides. The only try of the half came from the dazzling Sinoti, who was put through by a typical Goneva break as they targeted the wide channels, though it was unconverted. After further trading of penalties, the score at half time was 8-6 to the home side.
Half-time: Newcastle 8-6 Edinburgh
Edinburgh stepped up both in attack and defence, keeping a clean sheet while taking the lead and coming out comfortable winners by the end.
Only a few minutes after the restart, Edinburgh had an attacking platform in the Newcastle half and the opportunity for points. Running onto a Watson pass, Pyrgos chipped over the on-rushing defence for James Johnstone to score under the posts for a 8-13 lead.
The second and decisive try for Edinburgh came in the final ten minutes when Pyrgos threw an outrageous pass from the base of the ruck to James Johnstone. He passed it out to the flying Kinghorn, who made an inch-perfect flat pass for Van der Merwe to run onto and round the Newcastle defenders for the try. Although unconverted, the previous penalty gave them a comfortable margin of victory the home side were unable to overcome.
Although a bonus point try would have been an incredible achievement, that aim was no where near Cockerill’s sights, who only had eyes for the win.
Edinburgh have Toulon away next, where a famous replication of Newcastle’s own victory there would cement their place in the quarter finals. Although Edinburgh have two bites at the cherry, Cockerill would love to secure qualification with a famous win. One more win in Europe would see Edinburgh surpass any expectation that was laid upon them for the European season.