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UNDER STRENGTH EMBRA MAKE LEINSTER WORK

Leinster: 12 (12) Edinburgh 3 (3)



The best side in Group 2 duly secured the win they needed to progress to the quarter finals of this year's tournament.  But they found that the visiting Embra side, shorn of a number of resting internationals, were in no mood to give them the bonus point win that would have made Wasps' travails in France an irrelevance.

As it happened, Wasps lost anyway.  But Embra's superior points differential - and two wins - over the French meant that they secured third place in the group. 

And it was peerless Argentine playmaker, Felipe Contepomi, who scored all the Dublin's side's points - four first period penalties to one in reply from Chris Paterson.  Heady pre-match talk in the Dublin 4 area about bonus points went out the window fairly sharpish.

If it was big girls who had taken the field in Embra colours during the first match in this series, there were some boys who played like men in the second.  While Leinster huffed and puffed throughout, the Embra defence - a feature of most matches this season - held out. 

One wonders - yet again - what this campaign would have looked like had the same application been in evidence from the off, as opposed to that appalling first half capitulation against these guys at Murrayfield.  While the group looked pretty strong on paper, the truth is that Edinburgh should have beaten both Leinster and Wasps at Murrayfield.  Had they done so, they would have been there or thereabouts rather than fighting for the ranking points that finishing third may deliver in future campaigns.

While it may have been stating the obvious, Scotland assistant coach Mike Brewer has rightly identified belief as the key issue for the national side and, by extension, the professional teams to overcome.  We say it every January, but if next October Edinburgh can remind themselves that they have nothing to fear from any side in the tournament, they will have a far better chance of progressing to the latter stages.  They have the talent.  Increasingly, they have the depth of squad, despite the back row crisis of recent weeks.

Their confidence will be boosted if they can challenge for the Magnersleague.  The excellent performance of the dirt trackers in a nothing game this afternoon bodes well for the visit to Munster during the 6 Nations.  A win there would set the foundation for another late season surge.

SCORERS:

Leinster: Contepomi 4P

Edinburgh: Paterson 1P

TEAMS:

Leinster: Kearney, Horgan, O'Driscoll, Contepomi, Fitzgerald, Nacewa, Whitaker, Healy, Jackman, Wright, Hogan, Toner, Elsom, Jennings, Heaslip.
Edinburgh: Paterson, A Turnbull, Houston, De Luca, Thompson, D Blair, Laidlaw, Traynor, Kelly, G Cross, C Hamilton, Gissing, Newlands, S Cross, Hogg.


 

Referee: White (RFU)