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DISAPPOINTING EDINBURGH EDGED IN BATH

Bath: 16 (13) Edinburgh: 9 (9)



As we re-enter this year's Heineken campaign for a couple of pre-Christmas rounds, there is plenty of chat about how the standard of play is right up there with the international game. It is certainly true that, like the 6 Nations, even one Heineken loss can deal a devastating blow to your chances of progressing. Winning all your home games and at least one away fixture is essential. So when an opportunity arises to win on the road, you simply have to take it. While it would be nice to be proved wrong, it looks like Embra have blown this year's opportunity already.

On current form, this was possibly the most winnable trip of the group. Prevailing at the Rec would have eliminated Bath from the competition, perhaps making next week's return fixture slightly easier. But against a Bath side that had won just once in all competitions so far this season, the Gunners managed to secure only a losing bonus point. They will be kicking themselves that they could not make their pressure count over the feisty west country side. Had Nick de Luca's first half interception delivered a try rather than an excellent last ditch tackle, maybe things would have been different. But you really cannot argue with Bath's 2-0 try margin and their second half shutout of the visitors. Nor can you argue with a whistler like Alain Rolland, the sensitive Irishman carding Godman for backchat after half an hour.

While Chris Paterson kept Embra in touch with three first half penalties, as against Stade one felt that the Gunners gave their opponents too much of a head start. Early tries from Dixon and Stephenson, both unconverted, gave Bath an advantage they never surrendered.With their noses in front, Bath's solid defending throughout meant that Edinburgh just could not break them down, much though they tried all the way to the stroke of no-side.

All is not yet lost. Ulster's win over Stade Francais this weekend has left the group wide open. If Edinburgh can win all three remaining matches, two of which are at Murrayfield, they still have a chance. Should they do so, then no team in the group will have won more than four times, so qualification will depend on bonus points secured. The focus for the Gunners must be on winning each game as it comes - a feature of their late season run in the Magners last term - starting with the return fixture against these opponents at Murrayfield this Saturday. Every match will be, in footballing parlance, a cup final.

Lose and the game's up.

 

SCORERS:

 Bath:  Little 2P, Dixon 1T, Stephenson 1T

 Edinburgh: Paterson 3P

TEAMS:


Bath: N Abendanon; M Stephenson, M Carraro, S Hape, T Cheeseman; N Little, M Claasens (capt); D Flatman, P Dixon, D Wilson, S Hooper, P Short, A Beattie, J Salvi, L Watson. Subs; M Lillie, N Catt, D Bell for Wilson 68, S Hobson, B Skirving for Beattie 70, S Bernand, R Davis, B Williams.

Edinburgh: C Paterson (capt); J Houston, B Cairns, N De Luca, T Visser; P Godman, G Laidlaw; A Jacobsen, R Ford, G Cross, S Turnbull, S MacLeod, A MacDonald, R Grant, S Newlands. A Kelly for Ford 68, K Traynor for Jacobsen 58, D Young for Cross 78, C Hamilton for Turnbull 40, A Hogg for Newlands 60, R Samson for D Blair 77, D Blair for Godman 55, J Thompson for Paterson 65.

Referee: Rolland (IRFU)