Edinburgh power to bonus point win
January 16, 2009
Edinburgh's Andrew Kelly dives over to score a try at Murrayfield
© Getty Images
Fluent Edinburgh completed the Heineken Cup double over the French visitors at Murrayfield and boosted their bid to avoid the wooden spoon in their Heineken Cup group.
The opening exchanges were scrappy as both sides made a series of unforced errors in this Pool Two encounter. Edinburgh were handed the first scoring chance when the Castres front row collapsed the scrum - but Phil Godman sent the penalty wide.
He was handed an instant opportunity to make amends as Simon Cross was bodychecked off the ball, and this time the stand-off made no mistake from 30 metres. The Gunners were dealt a shock in the 10th minute, however, when the Frenchmen created a superb try.
A slick handling move left the home defence stretched, giving hooker Romain Terrain the time and space to nip over in the corner. Romain Teulet added the tricky conversion. The score stirred Edinburgh into more attacking action of their own and winger Andy Turnbull was hauled down a couple of paces from the line.
Hugo Southwell then combined with Simon Webster to put more pressure on the visiting markers. It seemed only a matter of time before the Gunners would break through - and it was Ben Cairns who did the damage in the wake of great handling and offloading. Godman's kick which followed was straight and true.
Gunners continued to hold sway, but they could not turn domination into more quick points. And they were set back on their heels again when Castres bagged another breakaway touchdown.
Skipper Rodrigo Ortega rumbled through the middle, mowing down Nick De Luca in the process, before sending Iosefa Tekori over for Teulet to convert. Castres were rocked a minute later as Terrain was sin-binned for killing the ball.
Edinburgh continued to enjoy the bulk of possession and territory after the restart, but the tackling of the French side was hard and secure. They had no answer, however, when Southwell found an extra gear to rip through a space and send Godman over for a top-notch try.
Even better was to come for the home fans as substitute Chris Paterson slotted a penalty and immediately goaled another fantastic touchdown by Ross Ford, following a charge from Scott Newlands. Paterson laid on the bonus point effort for Andy Kelly.
Edinburgh assistant coach Rob Moffat labelled the bonus point triumph as one of the most important results in their Heineken Cup history. "We badly wanted to win that one because we felt we had not done ourselves justice in the tournament. Our big aim now is to finish third in the group in order to help our seeding prospects in the future."
Moffat, however, was not entirely satisfied with the Gunners' performance and claimed the margin could have been much greater. He said: "Some of our rugby was superb - but some of it was the exact opposite. If we had got our set-piece right, we would have scored a few more tries.
"I thought Ben Cairns at centre was outstanding - it was probably his best game for us. I was also delighted with the contribution of Hugo Southwell - who is performing better than at any stage of his career. He is running through challenges and staying on his feet a lot more than previously."
Edinburgh: Southwell, A. Turnbull, Cairns, De Luca, Webster, Godman, Laidlaw, Jacobsen, Ford, Kerr, C. Hamilton, Gissing, Newlands, S. Cross, Hogg.
Replacements: Houston for De Luca (35), Paterson for Godman (50), M. Blair for Laidlaw (50), Kelly for Ford (74), Traynor for Kerr (50), Reid for S. Cross (67). Not Used: Lawrie.
Castres: Bouquie, Milford, C. Sika, Sanchou, Bourret, Teulet, Senio, G. Lensing, Terrain, Staibano, Capo, Gaston, Tomiki, Malonga, I. Tekori.
Replacements: Kefu for C. Sika (64), Bonnefond for Bourret (25), Hoeft for G. Lensing (55), Saayman for Staibano (49), Koulemine for Gaston (55), Giorgadze for Tomiki (67), C. Masoe for Malonga (49).
Sin Bin: Terrain (39).
Ref: James Jones (WRFU)
As Ray McLoughlin prepares to celebrate his 75th birthday, Huw Richards pays tribute to the man and the selectors who had the wisdom to bring him into the Ireland fold
John Taylor argues the world's best XVs players must be given a chance to play in the Olympics to increase the appeal of the game
The All Blacks' form is not a peaking issue, but Hansen must threaten to wield his axe, to demand improvement, Craig Dowd writes
"It has been the World Cup that smashed down the gender barriers of the sport." Tom Hamilton looks back at a remarkable tournament