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Laney's 14 points see Capital men home 9 January 2004 Edinburgh Rugby 19 Leeds Tykes 9

Robert Duvall won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his part as an Air Cavalry commander in the Vietnam War in "Apocalypse Now", directed by Francis Ford Coppola (as he then was). Though featuring for only 10 minutes at most, the screen legend deserved the gong simply for being able to recite classic - if quite disturbing - lines like "Charlie don't surf" and "I love the smell of napalm in the morning" without flinching as very real-looking explosions took place rather too close for comfort. Brendan Laney put in a Duvall-esque performance tonight to steer the Gunners to victory over a stuffy Leeds side as extreme mayhem broke out all around him.

Captain Chainsaw kicked four penalties and converted the only try of the game, notched by Dougie Hall to preserve Edinburgh's unbeaten Heineken record. For the second game in a row, the Gunners overcame a half-time deficit to shut their opponents out in the second half and close out the win. Like the Glasgow victory, this game was about winning ugly. "We dogged it out." said Ally Hogg afterwards. "The first half wasn't the best, but that's three wins out of three."

Playing into a strong wind, the Gunners made a sprightly start from the opening kick-off, but conceded an early penalty outside their 22, which young Australian utility back Walsh goaled. Laney pulled the score back on nine minutes from distance to take the score to 3-3. The Gunners seemed a little tentative in the opening stages, while Leeds were fronting up to their opponents and winning clean, quick ball. Another Walsh penalty on 12 minutes gave Leeds the lead once more.

Edinburgh started to put some useful phases together, and when a penalty was awarded on the Leeds 10, Laney kicked for the corner. Another infringement led to another punt into the corner, but the Gunners lost the ensuing lineout to an impressive Tykes second-row combination in Palmer and Murphy and the danger was cleared. At the end of the quarter, Gunners frustration increased as Walsh was gifted another penalty in front of the posts, which he duly converted.

The Tykes' replacement for Gordon Ross nearly repaid visiting coach Phil Davies' faith in him five minutes later by slicing through the Gunners' defensive line and streaking towards the home posts. Only a brilliant last-ditch Laney tackle denied a certain score.

The Edinburgh second five-eighth shone in attack shortly afterwards, being nailed just short of the Leeds tryline after a super break from Blair inside the Edinburgh half set Paterson away. The Chainsaw was unlucky to be penalised for holding on in the tackle, but made amends with another penalty shortly afterwards to cut the deficit to three. Visiting second-row Murphy was carded for a professional foul, but Leeds played very sensibly during his absence, slowing the game down to break up the gathering Gunners' momentum. The unfortunate hooker Regan was perhaps a little unfairly booed by home supporters when he required treatment twice during the 10 minutes.

Nevertheless, the home team were beginning to threaten a little more, and Allan Jacobsen in particular scrummaged well in a pack that was on top in the set-piece. Good breaks by Webster and Southwell, the latter on for the injured Joiner, were followed by frustration as Marcus Di Rollo knocked on after Laney had almost burst through for a score.

6-9 down at half-time, Edinburgh put Leeds under pressure from the opening kick-off. A nice break by Hall in the Leeds 22 led to the ball being spun across to the other side of the field, where Cross and Webster combined to good effect. A Laney penalty for offside after no advantage had accrued levelled the scores and Edinburgh were on top.

Shortly after, a long touchfinder from Lee was guddled by Christophers in his own 22. The ball was turned over and only a slip kept Di Rollo from a score. The ball was shifted to the middle from the breakdown, but indecision in the home midfield meant that a big overlap was wasted.

But the Gunners took the lead just short of the hour as Laney converted a penalty from the Leeds ten metre line. Better was to come on the hour as a long Paterson clearance eluded the Tykes' defence. Good follow-up tackling forced a Cardey knock on. From second phase after the scrum, an excellent driving maul took Dougie Hall over for his first try of the season, converted by Laney to take the score to 19-9 Gunners.

To their credit, Leeds fought back in the last ten minutes of the game in an effort to overhaul the home team, but the Gunners' defence, a few shaky moments aside, held firm. Ross' appearance in the last quarter, greeted with some good-natured booing from the home fans, seemed to make the Tykes' backs a little more incisive than they had been up to then. But even the Scotland international was not able to find a way through the disciplined Edinburgh tackling.

In addition to the stars on the pitch, there were 5,056 stars off it, as the biggest crowd of the season at Meadowbank roared the home team on. Mike Blair hailed the boost that the fans gave the team, especially when they were defending, and man-of-the-match Laney said "it would be awesome to have you all on the bus to Leeds next week."

And next Sunday does indeed see the Gunners making the trip south to Yorkshire for the return match. Four wins would take Edinburgh within touching distance of the quarter-finals. As Leeds' performance tonight showed, it will be a tough game, so your support will make a difference. Fans are literally going by planes, trains and automobiles (and, indeed, buses). If you want to join them, get in touch with Lawries about travel (see and Ann at Edinburgh Rugby about tickets on 0131 346 5252 or


BRENDAN LANEY became the first Gunner of the season to win both the sponsors' prize and the glittering Supporters' Club trophy, complete with high quality budget sparkling wine.

Read Bill Lothian's verdict in the Evening News:
A Tykes view can be found at

Scorers: Edinburgh: Laney 4P 1C, Hall 1T
Leeds Walsh 3P

Edinburgh Rugby: Lee; Webster, di Rollo, Laney (Capt), Joiner; Paterson, Blair; Jacobsen, Hall, Smith, Hines, Murray, Hogg, Cross, Taylor. Replacements: Brannigan, di Ciacca, Kellock, Dall Burns, Philip, Southwell.

Leeds Tykes: Cardey; Christophers, Snyman, Davies, Albanese; Walsh, Walker; Shelley, Regan, Powell, Murphy, Palmer (c), Persico, Hyde, Popham Replacements: Cusack, Holt, Morgan, Rigney, Ponton, Ross, Botham

Referee: H Watkins (Wales).