Edinburgh hold off Connacht
November 26, 2010
Edinburgh's Chris Paterson is congratulated on his try
© PA Photos
Edinburgh extended their winning run at Murrayfield to four matches with a 24-19 victory over Connacht but they had to survive a desperate final flourish by their Irish rivals.
With several frontline players absent on international duty, it was an unfamiliar Edinburgh side that took the field in freezing conditions. And the Irish side sought to capitalise on that as they dominated the early phase of the game.
Edinburgh had not yet paid a visit to opposition territory when Connacht broke the deadlock in 15 minutes. Miah Nikora fed Ian Keatley - on as a ninth minute replacement - and he sent Brian Tuohy scampering in at the corner. And Nikora was the source of Connacht's second try three minutes later, firing a massive cross kick into space where a delighted Tuohy gathered and dotted down for the simplest of scores.
The game had entered the second quarter when Edinburgh finally ventured beyond the halfway line, the attack yielding a penalty 20 metres out in front of the posts. Chris Paterson duly drilled the ball between the sticks. The international fullback then drew Edinburgh level after 31 minutes when he took a pass at pace and hurtled through an attempted tackle to race in for a score. Paterson kicked the conversion to leave the teams locked at 10 points apiece as they changed ends.
The Scots took the lead three minutes into the second period when Paterson landed his second penalty of the night, and the hosts extended their lead to six points when - with Paterson being treated for a knock - David Blair was on target with a penalty effort from wide on the left. Edinburgh boosted their advantage to 11 points when Jim Thompson provided an exquisite pass for Tim Visser to sprint in for a try.
However, Connacht battled back once more and Nikora kicked a penalty before Keatley also landed a three pointer. Another penalty by Paterson for Edinburgh, whose skipper Roddy Grant had been sin binned, was cancelled out by Keatley with 10 minutes left to play, leaving the score at 24-19. A Connacht scrum five minutes from the home line ensured a tense final two minutes, but the hosts produced a desperate defensive effort to repel a series of attacks and hold on for the win.
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