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French pip Edinburgh Agen

Edinburgh 7 (0) SU Agen 19 (14)



Edinburgh's Heineken Cup campaign ended as it begun, with defeat to Agen. However, this time there was no bonus point as Fijian winger Rupeni Caucaunibuca ran in an injury time try to end the dreich night 19-7 in the French Club's favour. Neither team could have qualified for the quarter finals, and coach Lynn Howells acknowledged that motivation can be difficult in those circumstances as there was nothing up for grabs but he was still disappointed in the performance and vowed that he and the players would take a long hard look at themselves.

He said: "We have a very important game next week so we have to get the confidence back. You don't become a bad team overnight but it was very disappointing. You become more critical of your self after a performance like that and we will look at how we prepare in future when we have limited time with the squad. I feel sorry for the supporters - they deserve better than that."

Scott Murray added: "The guys didn't go out to play badly, we just didn't play cleverly and kept dropping the ball in contact. Normally we give 110% but tonight it didn't happen."

It was a tentative start as possession changed hands several times although Agen had the majority share of territory which they used their advantage to strike first as full back Pepito Elhorga slid through easily for the opening try thirteen minutes in, which Morrisson Faaletino converted.

The duo delivered again as the game moved into the second quarter as this time the stand off found a space in the defence for a try while Elhorga kicked the two extra points for a 14 - 0 lead. However, Faalentino was injured while scoring and was stretchered off.

The rain, which had fallen steadily throughout became heavier which made handling more difficult resulting in a lot of lost possession. But Edinburgh rallied towards the end of the half, camping out in opposition territory, forcing penalty after penalty from Agen. Eventually Pierre Som was yellow carded, and Edinburgh chose to run rather than kick their penalty, but they were unable to breach the defence. The score remained the same going into the break

Shortly into the second half, Chris Paterson was taken off with back spasms and Andrew Easson came on in his place. Edinburgh's closest scoring moment of the game came after 46 minutes when they rolled a maul to the try line from a scrum ten metres out, but the ball was held up. However the referee had been playing advantage due to an Agen infringement, but the further chance went a begging.

Heading into the final quarter, Agen had an opportunity to stretch their lead but the penalty kick attempt went wide.

With ten minutes of regulation time, Edinburgh were awarded a penalty and although in range of the posts, again they opted to aim for more points and had a lineout just over five metres out. As ealier, they rumbled forward, and the ball came out and the forwards edged towards the line, and Alasdair Strokosch scored a try. Duncan Hodge successfully added the two points.

There was excitement in the dying moments of the game as the ball was taken downfield at pace by Edinburgh, only for possession to be turned over in the Agen 22, and they took it straight back upfield before the homeside reversed the run of play and ran it back again. But no score was forthcoming and it was the French club's Fijian winger who had the last say of the game as he ran into the corner for a final try, making it 19-7 in their favour at the whistle.

There were some positives to be taken from a wet Murrayfield tonight, as Rob Dewey returned to action after injury, and apprentice prop Innes Brown came off the bench for his first match in an Edinburgh shirt.

Speaking after the game, Rob Dewey said: "It was good to get 80 minutes, although I was disappointed with the team's and my performance. I tried to offload when probably I should have held on and built phases."

SCORERS

Edinburgh: Strokosch 1T, Hodge 1C

SU Agen: Elhorga 1T 1C, Faalentino 1T 1C, Caucaunibuca 1T

TEAMS:

Edinburgh: Hugo Southwell, Chris Paterson (captain) (Andrew Easson, 44 mins), Marcus Di Rollo, Rob Dewey, Ben Cairns, Phil Godman (Duncan Hodge, 52 mins), John Senio, Allan Jacobsen, Steven Lawrie (Andrew Kelly, 63 mins), Alasdair Dickinson (Innes Brown, 73 mins), Fergus Pringle (Steven Turnbull, 49 mins), Scott Murray, Alasdair Strokosch, Alan MacDonald (Ross Rennie, 55 mins), Dave Callam

Replacement not used: Peter Jorgensen

SU Agen: Pepito Elhorga, Dave Vainqueur (Luc Lafforgue, 54 mins), Manu Ahotaeiloa, Arnaud Mignardi, Rupeni Caucaunibuca, Morrisson Faaletino (Anthony Tesquet, 22 mins), Nicolas Morlaes (captain) (Andrew Fulton, 55 mins), Cezar Popescu (Laurent Cabarry, 54 mins), Ace Tiatia (Eusebio Guinazu, 65 mins), Alessio Galasso, Willhem Stoltz, Kirill Koulemine, Jean Monribot (Matthieu Lievremont, 75 mins), Pierre Som (YC - First Half injury time), Opeti Fonua

Replacement not used: Adriaan Badenhorst