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Brian O'Driscoll starts alongside Noel Reid in the Leinster midfield.
Brian O'Driscoll starts alongside Noel Reid in the Leinster midfield.
Image: INPHO/Russell Cheyne

Edinburgh spook Leinster at eerie Murrayfield ghost town

The league champions struggled to find ways through or around the Scots.
Dec 20th 2013, 9:25 PM 19,967 21

Updated 21:20

LEINSTER SPURNED A late four-on-two on the right flank to fall to an 11-6 defeat to Edinburgh at a near deserted Murrayfield.

Matt O’Connor’s men struggled to piece together any meaningful, sustained attacks in the first-half due to poor handling and silly penalty concessions. They started the second-half brightly but the Scots’ brutish defence saw them through at the death.

Trailing but with ball-in-hand inside the opposition 22, Leinster were faced with a similar end-game to their Heineken Cup loss to Northampton Saints last week. Brian O’Driscoll went close by the posts but was held up. Four Leinster players screamed for the ball out wide but scrum-half Isaac Boss could not extricate it from his forwards in time to make it count. Play eventually went out wide but Tadhg Furlong knocked on under pressure.

Rain and heavy winds are lashing both sets of players and the first setpiece of the game told a sorry story. Aaron Dundon’s overthrow was spilled near the back of the line and fell, briefly, into the hands of Dave Denton who knocked on.

The ground was cutting up during scrums but Leinster’s front row of Michael Bent, Dundon and Martin Moore battled gamely to achieve parity in the opening stages. Leinster’s first attacking thrust of note came on 19 minutes when Jordi Murphy broke a couple of tackles before he was hauled short in the “22.

Leinster’s pressure was rewarded two minutes later as Ian Madigan converted from just outside the Edinburgh 22. The confidence boost of that opening score encouraged the out-half to try an ambitious crossfield kick to Luke Fitzgerald on the left wing. The kick was well judged but Fitzgerald fumbled the ball forward.

Greig Laidlaw then got the paltry coupling of home fans out of their seats with a break straight up the centre. He was dragged down 20 metres short of the line by Zane Kirchner but Edinburgh retained possession. Laidlaw was back with the ball in his hand and he found Dougie Fife out on the left flank after fullback Jack Cuthbert took two Leinster players out of the game with a diversionary run.

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The home side pressed for further points and were rewarded when Isaac Boss was penalised for coming in from the side. Laidlaw, who missed the earlier conversion, slotted over the close range penalty.

Madigan kicked an early penalty in the second-half but Laidlaw soon answered with one of his own. A Darragh Fanning drive up the left wing and an O’Driscoll line break were the best the visitors could muster in reply and Leinster fell to their second defeat in a week.

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