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Dublin: 8 °C Tuesday 21 January, 2020

Edinburgh have too much for experimental Leinster to seal playoff place

The Scots had 17 points to spare over Leo Cullen’s side.

Rhys Ruddock and Ed Byrne tackle John Barclay.
Rhys Ruddock and Ed Byrne tackle John Barclay.
Image: Craig Watson/INPHO

Edinburgh 28

Leinster 11

Lewis Stuart reports from BT Murrayfield

DESPERATION DOES FUNNY things, Edinburgh, caught in a fierce scrap to try to qualify for the Guinness PRO14 playoffs, had it; Leinster, who are already guaranteed a home semi final did not.

The result was that the Scots went full-metal jacket with all the international selections they could manage and their experience was too much for a young, experimental Leinster team.

The game had started just about perfectly for the Irish province with almost five minutes of non-stop action from the kick off ending in a penalty under the hosts posts with Cieran Frawley, the fly half, slotting the points.

It was soon even better when a series of penalties put them on the Scottish line and, with home lock Fraser McKenzie in the sin bin, they drove the line out for Sean Cronin, the hooker, to break off the back and find a huge gap to go over.

That was as good as it for for the Leinster youngsters, though. The Edinburgh experience started to take its toll, the breakthrough coming when they got a line out drive going, settled down for a series of picks-and-drives until eventually prop WP Nel found enough of a hole fo barge his way over the line.

That gave the home side all the encouragement they needed to turn to their formidable pack, who started to turn on the power and Leinster struggled to cope, conceding a penalty try when they dropped a scrum and they into the break trailing despite claiming another penalty from Frawley.

The second half was even more one-sided with Edinburgh turning the screw up front and reaping the reward when Ross Ford, their hooker, was at the back of yet another line out drive with Dan Leavy, the flanker, in the sin bin.

More forward pressure, more pick and drives – nobody has ever accused Edinburgh of over-imagination or turning down a successful ploy – and this time it was Vilame Mata, the Fijian No8, who found the space to go over.

There was some encouragement for Leinster when they mounted a spirited last-ditch attack in the final minutes to try to rescue some pride only to be denied by the television replays in the last move of the game.

Edinburgh: Tries: WP Nel, Penalty Try, Ross Ford, Viliame Mata. Conversions: Jaco van der Walt [2 from 2], Simon Hickey [1 from 1]. Penalties: Jaco van der Walt [0 from 1]Leinster: Try: Sean Cronin. Conversion: Ciaran Frawley [0 from 1]. Penalties: Ciaran Frawley [2 from 2]

EDINBURGH: Dougie Fife, Darcy Graham, James Johnstone, Matt Scott (Chris Dean, 49), Duhan van der Merwe, Jaco van der Walt (Simon Hickey, 49), Henry Pyrgos (C) (Charlie Shiel, 68); Pierre Schoeman (Allan Dell, 69), Ross Ford (Cameron Fenton, 65), WP Nel ( Simon Berghan, 51), Fraser McKenzie, Ben Toolis (Callum Hunter-Hill, 34), John Barclay (Magnus Bradbury, 57-68), Hamish Watson, Viliame Mata (Magnus Bradbury, 68).

LEINSTER: Jimmy O’Brien, Fergus McFadden, Noel Reid (Conor O’Brien, 12), Joe Tomane (Gavin Mullin, 74), Barry Daly, Ciarán Frawley, Luke McGrath (Nick McCarthy, 63); Ed Byrne (Jack McGrath, 51), Seán Cronin (Bryan Byrne, 41), Michael Bent (Andrew Porter, 51), Josh Murphy, Mick Kearney, Rhys Ruddock (C) (Jack Dunne, 74), Dan Leavy (Oisín Dowling, 65), Max Deegan.

Referee: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)

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Lewis Stuart

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