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EMBRA HALFWAY THERE

Connacht: 14 (0) Edinburgh: 27 (27)



The Edinburgh recovery continues to make progress.  After last week's encouraging performance against Castres, which delivered the club's first ever win in France, the capital side notched a comfortable win at the Galway Sportsground last night.  Although undefeated in Connacht for some years, the result was an improvement on the disappointing draws of the last two seasons.

Yet there is much left to do if this mini-run of victories is not to prove, in stockmarket parlance, a "dead cat bounce".  The Embra men wiped the floor with Connacht in the first period, notching three quality tries from the backs while shutting out the opposition.  

But they failed to kick on after the break, allowing the home side to score two tries of their own to zero second half points for the visitors.  While the fixture delivered two more points for Embra than it has done of late, it really should have been three more, with a try bonus point.  Particularly given the advantage of a power play when Muldoon was binned for killing the ball late on.

One always feels that Edinburgh are a more dangerous side when Simon "Webbo" Webster is on song.  So it was good to see him nip over for the opener on seven minutes, goaled by Paterson.  The full back, whose kicking trousers have been strangely absent of late, then added a three pointer to the lead.

He scored a try himself on the half hour, pouncing on an astute kick ahead from Mikey Blair.  As well as the conversion, Mossy was to score another penalty to put the game beyond the Galwegians at 20-0.  Blair Major rounded off the scoring for the half, recording a decent touchdown under the posts shortly afterwards.  27-0 Edinburgh at the half, with a cricket score on the cards.

It was not to be.  Credit to Connacht, who had beaten Glasgow and Leinster on their previous two home outings.  They clawed their way back into contention with a Duffy try off an interception on the hour.  Carr added another with a converted score under the posts. But they didn't have the quality to complete an unlikely comeback, and Edinburgh closed out the win in some comfort.

So a workmanlike performance from Edinburgh, the latter stages of which were enlivened by the extremely welcome return of the breakdown king, Ross "Rosco" Rennie, for some game time with 15 minutes to go.

Although pleased with the win, coach Robinson felt an opportunity had been missed.  "We should have pushed on from there and scored the fourth try and secured the bonus point.  That is not to diminish the victory but, being in that position, we should have gone on and added the extra point."

The guys can be pleased with the spirit that they have shown in coming back from the Leinster disaster.  There are signs that the elan of last season is slowly returning, with the key passes beginning to stick.  And, despite everything, they are only ten points behind Magners leaders Munster.  Meanwhile, in the Heineken, they could still come close to a quarter final slot if they can win in the rugby cauldrons of High Wycombe or Leinster. 

But plenty of work is required to get the show back on the road.  Let's hope that they can return to form in both tournaments after the autumn international break.


Scorers:

Connacht: Keatley 2C, Duffy 1T, Carr 1T.
Edinburgh: Paterson 1T 2P 3C, Webster 1T, Blair 1T.

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, J O'Connor, C Rigney.

Edinburgh: C Paterson; M Robertson, B Cairns, N de Luca, S Webster; P Godman, M Blair; A Jacobsen, R Ford, G Cross; C Hamilton, B Gissing; S Newlands, A MacDonald, A Hogg. Replacements: M Mustchin for Hamilton, 57 mins; J Houston for Webster, 66 mins; R Rennie for McDonald, 66 mins; G Kerr for Cross, 68 mins.

Referee: Jones (WRU)