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GUNNERS STUMBLE IN THE SUN



If the old adage about the sun shining on the righteous is true, then Goldenacre's Indian summer was certainly not laid on for the benefit of Edinburgh.

Fielding a side bereft of much of its international talent and experience, Edinburgh finished up on the wrong end of a 36 - 0 drubbing by a oddly out-of-sorts and underpowered Leicester side. The Young Guns roared out of the blocks from kick off, obviously keen to get in the faces of the vastly experienced Leicester pack. Sadly, this early endeavour failed to turn into points on the board, and Edinburgh went behind as early as the fourth minute to an unconverted Steve Booth try.

The hosts then forced some uncharacteristic errors from the opposition, with the Edinburgh faithful particularly enjoying a couple of gloriously sclaffed clearance kicks from Austin Healey. Phil Godman's astute kicking kept Leicester turning, but the Gunners failed to turn good field position into scoring opportunities.

Captain Blackadder was especially prominent among the forwards who kept the visitors pinned back for long periods in the first half. However, Leicester stretched their lead with further scores before half-time. An unconverted try by scrum-half Harry Ellis was followed by a cracking score from loose-head prop Darren Morris who broke an unconvincing tackle to score under the posts. The conversion brought the score at the break to 0 - 17 in favour of the visitors.

Ellis nabbed his second try of the afternoon after the break, and at 0 - 24, the game was beginning to move out of Edinburgh's reach. Another Gunners scoring opportunity was squandered to a knock-on over the line, and it was definitely becoming another 'one of those days'. As the game went on, the Young Guns were finding the dangerous running of the exciting Leicester backs harder and harder to live with. Lloyd and Goode looked especially good with ball in hand. Both were denied scores by desperate tackles. Finally Edinburgh cracked, and the Tigers roared with two tries in the last three minutes. The scores came from a converted try by Tom Varndell and that man Ellis, who gratefully grabbed his hattrick with the final - unconvered - touchdown.

Despite the unflattering scoreline, several of the Young Guns turned in good performances. Highlight of the match had to be winger Rob Dewey's huge hit on Geordan Murphy which drew gasps and applause from the sizeable crowd. Scrum half Rory Lawson sniped well around the fringes, and Rory Couper also showed up well on the wing. But it was Todd Blackadder who impressed the most. He not only led from the front, but made the hard yards as well through some clever breaks. Had the supporting play been up with him, his efforts should probably have led to at least two scores.

The Gunners pack generally performed well, especially in the scrum where they largely held their own. Unfortunately, the line-out decided to sit back and enjoy the sun, thus allowing easy plunder of the Edinburgh throw. Behind the scrum was where the lack of experience at this level really showed, with players falling off both the pace and the tackle. There was also an eagerness to go to ground too quickly, when recycling of the ball would have been more effective. The game was generally played in good spirits, with the handbags only making one appearance late in the second half.

Edinburgh's last warm-up game beforere the start of the Celtic League is away to Northampton. Why not join the official Supporters' Club trip to Franklin's Gardens to roar the Gunners on? Details on the Travel page.

Edinburgh: N de Luca; R Dewey, R Couper, P Boston, C Joiner; P Godman, R Lawson; A Jacobsen, A Kelly, C Smith, N Hines, A Kellock, T Blackadder (capt), D Callam, A MacDonald. Subs (all used): D Hall, J Brannigan, F Pringle, N Pike, L Lokeni, M Lokeni, P Crichton, A Strokosch, J Clarke, A Monro, B Addison, B Cairns.

Leicester: G Murphy; S Booth, L Lloyd, D Gibson, A Healey; A Goode, H Ellis; G Rowntree, G Chuter, D Morris, M Johnson (capt), L Deacon, M Corry, W Johnson, W Skinner. Subs (all used): R Cockerill, J White, J Buckland, R Cockerill, B Deacon, B Lewitt, R Broadfoot, M Cornwall, T Varndell.