Main RSS Feed Forum RSS Feed


Next Fixture

No Upcoming Fixtures Available

Latest Poll

Caullie Lug 16/17

View Results

Log In

Forgot Password

View Article


USA Perpignan: 23 Edinburgh Rugby: 0

Forwards win matches; backs decide by how much. If there was ever a match that demonstrated the timeless truth of the old props' saying, this was it. The sheer power of the home pack, particularly in the scrummage, was the difference between the two sides in a confrontation that would have been quite tough enough, even without Todd Blackadder's late unavailability due to illness. And it was a back, USAP's Australian stand-off Manny Edmonds, who decided the game with a sublime chip and chase for the try early in the second period that nudged the Catalans away.

In a first half that was as error-strewn as this column tends to be, neither side semed keen on retaining possession for too long, with unforced errors and loose passing the order of the day. Though USAP had the upper hand from the off, a combination of tenacious Gunners' defence and the extraordinary profligacy of home full-back Giannantonio, who missed several kickable penalties in the first quarter, kept the game level.

On 18 minutes, a fine Paterson steal outside the Gunners' 22 set up Di Rollo for the counter. But Lawson kicked ahead with men outside him and the chance was lost. Shortly after, a superb Laney pass seemed to have put Webster clear on his own 22 with open prairie ahead of him, but the pass was adjudged to have drifted forward.

Nitro was called into action in defence several minutes later to tidy up a dangerous Edmonds bomb in his 22, with USAP pressing. And while the Gunners were tending to take the ball standing still when they actually had possession, their aggressive defence was winning turnovers at the breakdown. Though the visiting scrummage was creaking, there was bemusement among the home front row when they found themselves pinged by referee Maybank several times for standing up in the scrum when they had the nudge on. It's fair to say that there weren't many celebrating the centenary of the entente cordiale at the Stade Aime Giral at that point.

But a more charitable view was taken as the half came to a close when the ball squirted out of a ruck on the Gunners' 22. Durand picked up and was then nailed by Paterson, who was penalised for his trouble, with Giannantonio at last hitting the target to make the half-time score a narrow 3-0 to USAP. Given the run of play, Edinburgh would have been happy to be in touch at the break; USAP less so.

The game was probably decided in the ten minutes after half-time, with Simon Cross being carded on 43 minutes, seemingly for a high tackle. While the card was possibly a bit harsh, the Gunners had been living close to the edge throughout the game, and the Colonel, who had his usual fine game in defence, was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Giannantonio slotted the penalty, while Edmonds nipped in for his converted try two minutes later, to ease USAP to a 13-0 lead, leaving the Gunners with a mountain to climb.

The pack dug in in the set-piece, though, and limited the damage until the power play came to an end, and a brilliant Lawson tackle held up lock Gaston over the Gunners' line as the home pack started to rumble.

Shortly after Cross returned to the fray, it seemed like he would have been sent back off again when, after an USAP knock on in an attacking ruck, Hogg came through and was penalised. In the ensuing chaos, Durand went to ground like the proverbial sack of spuds and Grelon threw an impressive haymaker. Cross was minding his business well out of trouble, and only an intervention from the touch judge corrected the referee's initial error in reaching for the card once more. But Giannantonio converted the penalty - 16 - 0.

The wheels could really have come off for the Gunners then, with over a quarter left, and the USAP scrummage in the ascendancy. But they held firm, tackled everything that moved and, in the final ten minutes, began to show more in attack. Jacobsen, Webster, Hogg, and Hugo all had useful forays before USAP were disappointingly awarded the penalty try that iced the game.

While the better team on the night prevailed, the last word was the Gunners'. First, Webster set off on a trademark mazy run from defence, making it to halfway before being cut down. Then superb ball saw Hogg make a break to the USAP 22, but the attack broke down. The Gunners had given their all throughout the game, and as a result did not quite have the gas to turn these half chances into points.

The unaccustomed luxury of a home game for the Gunners next Sunday, when they take on the Dragons at Murrayfield. A prerequisite for success in the Heineken is to win your home games, then nick one or two results away. The boys will need your support if they are to get the victory they need.


Deservedly MANNY EDMONDS, with ALI HOGG winning the editorial vote for a never say die effort at the back of the scrum.

Perpignan: Giannantonio 3P 2C, Edmonds 1T, penalty try


Perpignan D Giannantonio; P Bomati, D Marty, J Grandclaude, D Luger; M Edmonds, N Durand; V Debaty, N Grelon, N Mas, C Gaston, R Alvarez Kairelis, O Tonita, B Goutta (capt), S Robertson. Subs: J van der Heever, S Chobet, C Porcu, M O'Driscoll, S Descons, N Laharrague, G Hume.

Edinburgh: D Lee; C Paterson (capt), M Di Rollo, C Joiner, S Webster; B Laney, R Lawson; A Jacobsen, D Hall, C Smith, N Hines, A Kellock, A Strokosch, A Hogg, S Cross. Subs: A Kelly, J Brannigan, G Anderson, F Pringle, J Blackwood, P Godman, Hugo.

Referee: R Maybank (RFU).