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THE ICEMEN COMETH

Edinburgh: 9 (6) Bath 6 (6)



In 'South', Sir Ernest Shackleton recounted the extraordinary tale of how he had led his men to safety in South Georgia after having been stuck on board The Endurance in the Antarctic ice for two years.  At times during yesterday's Heineken clash with Bath at Murrayfield, observers would not have been surprised to see an intrepid bunch of polar explorers emerging from the blizzard.  But it was another skipper, in the form of Chris Paterson, whose leadership proved crucial in seeing the Gunners home.  His boot was to prove key, not only in terms of scoring all of the Embra points, but also through his astute tactical kicking on a day that was not suited to running rugby.

The win improved the capital club's record this tournament to 50% and preserves their outside chance of progression, at least until the final two matches in the pool, early in the New Year. If they can win at Ravenhill, they are perfectly capable of taking Stade at home in the pool finale.  Qualification may then depend on bonus points secured.

As has been the pattern of late, Edinburgh did not have the cutting edge to breach the enemy defence.  But three penalties from Mossy, coupled with a rather more sensible approach to the conditions in the second period than the first, saw them prevail.  There are two ways you can deal with inclement weather.  The first is to rail at the unfairness of it all, as visiting coach Meehan seemed to do post-game.  The second is to adjust your game to the conditions and get on with it.  This was the Gunners' approach and it worked well, the home side spending virtually the entire second period in Bath territory.  That ensured that Bath never really threatened and Paterson's third penalty gave Edinburgh the win.

Mossy was on the mark early, a penalty after just three minutes nudging Edinburgh into the lead.  Although the home side had the upper hand, they could not translate the advantage into points and it was Little who was next on the scoreboard, the Fijian notching a penalty to tie the scores early in the second quarter.  As the snow came down, Bath took the lead with Little's second three pointer on the half hour.

As Ben Cairns left the field, Paterson levelled the scores two minutes later to see the score at the break 6-6.

Edinburgh pressed throughout the third quarter, but only had Paterson's third penalty to show for it, albeit it was to prove crucial.  Yet while they gave away a penalty from the restart, Bath could not convert and it was left to Laidlaw and the pack to grind out the remaining time to deliver what could yet prove a crucial win.  Pretty it was not, but this squad are beginning to learn that sometimes pretty isn't going to win you the match.  They played most of the second period in Bath territory.  On a day like yesterday, it was always going to be difficult for the visitors to score from there.

As well as the points, the match also saw the hyper-welcome return of Ross 'Rosco' Rennie.  As a former junior skier of some renown, he will doubtless have felt very much at home in the conditions.  More importantly, he put in a good hour's graft, replaced by fellow rehabilitee, Dave 'DC' Callam.  And Fraser McKenzie made his European debut off the bench.

MAN OF THE MATCH: CHRIS PATERSON.

 

SCORERS:

Edinburgh: Paterson 3P.

Bath: Little 2P

TEAMS:

Edinburgh: C Paterson; J Houston, B Cairns, N De Luca, T Visser; P Godman, G Laidlaw; K Traynor, R Ford, G Cross, S Turnbull, C Hamilton, A MacDonald, R Rennie, S Newlands.

Bath: N Abendanon ; M Stephenson, M Carraro, S Hape, T Cheeseman; N Little, M Claassens; D Flatman, P Dixon, D Wilson, S Hooper, P Short, A Beattie, J Salvi, L Watson.

Referee: R Poite (FFR).