Edinburgh post convincing win over Connacht
October 24, 2008
Scotland winger Chris Paterson notched 17 points for Edinburgh
© Getty Images
Edinburgh cut loose for a deserved win over Connacht at the Sportsground to end a run of four successive Celtic League defeats against Irish opposition.
Connacht paid dearly for a first-half collapse as the Scottish visitors established a 27-0 half-time lead with Scotland full-back Chris Paterson helping himself to 17 points.
Simon Webster, Paterson and captain Mike Blair all crossed for tries, but coach Andy Robinson will have been frustrated by his side's failure to net a bonus point.
Both teams suffered late withdrawals. Connacht had to replace injured prop Robbie Morris with Ronan Loughney, while Ben Gissing was promoted to Edinburgh's second row in place of Jim Hamilton.
Disrupted by a long injury stoppage for Andrew Farley, Connacht could not find their rhythm and Edinburgh quickly seized control. Their first try had a slice of good fortune about it as a Connacht block-down played Alan MacDonald onside but the flanker made a surging run before the home defence was punctured.
Michael Swift came up out of the defensive line and Simon Webster sniped through the gap to run in behind the posts. Paterson converted and knocked over a simple 21st-minute penalty to push Robinson's men into a 10-0 lead.
Although Frank Murphy had his moments, Connacht were decidedly flat and gone was the hunger of their most recent league win over Leinster. Edinburgh chipped over the top in the 26th minute and with Murphy outpaced by Mark Robertson and Paterson, the latter gathered to score.
Paterson converted his try, tagged on a penalty and worse followed for Connacht on the stroke of half-time when their sleepy defence was sliced open again.
This time, scrum-half Blair dummied and burst past Johnny O'Connor and Ian Keatley to touch down close to the posts. Connacht had targeted this game to help them in their quest for Heineken Cup qualification and they did muster a spirited comeback.
On the hour, centre Gavin Duffy intercepted a pass from Nick De Luca and dashed over from halfway for an inspiring try. Keatley converted and Connacht pressed on, with replacements Troy Nathan and Andy Dunne slotting in well.
From a quick turnover, Connacht then went from their 22 right to the Edinburgh try-line to poach a second try. Keatley passed for Dunne to scamper through the Scottish rearguard and although he was hauled down in sight of the line, Fionn Carr angled his run superbly to get over for the score.
Keatley booted the extras to cut the gap to 13 points but Connacht's revival was ended by a sin-binning for captain John Muldoon, and despite late territory, Edinburgh missed out on what had seemed an inevitable bonus point.
Connacht: F Carr; A Wynne, G Duffy, M Deane, J Hearty; I Keatley, F Murphy; J Lyne, S Cronin, R Morris; M Swift, A Farley; J Muldoon (C), J O'Connor, C Rigney.
Replacements: A Flavin, R Loughney, A Browne, D Gannon, K Campbell, A Dunne, T Nathan.
Edinburgh: Chris Paterson, Mark Robertson, Ben Cairns, Nick De Luca, Simon Webster, Phil Godman, Mike Blair (c), Allan Jacobsen, Ross Ford, Geoff Cross, Craig Hamilton, Jim Hamilton, Scott Newlands, Alan MacDonald, Allister Hogg
Replacements (from):Andrew Kelly, Gavin Kerr, Kyle Traynor, Matt Mustchin, Ben Gissing, Simon Cross, Ross Rennie, Greig Laidlaw, David Blair, Hugo Southwell, John Houston.
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