Second-half fightback not enough, as Connacht fall short in Edinburgh

Edinburgh 17
Connacht 10

A FINAL QUARTER fightback from Connacht fell frustratingly short as they suffered their second early-season defeat to Scots opposition.

Despite the disappointing outcome, the Irish team could take some satisfaction from the quality and determination of their defence. From the start, Edinburgh dominated possession and territory, but could not find a way through.

Some of it was simply a question of solid organisation and the courage to make tackle after tackle; some was more harum-scarum stuff – Niyi Adeolokun, the wing, getting back to catch Matt Scott a yard from the line, Kyle Goodwin pulling off an equally important tackle on Hamish Watson the next time their frontline defence faltered.

There were huge questions over one key decision, with skipper Jarrad Butler reaching through a ruck as Henry Pyrgos, the Edinburgh scrum half, tried to get the ball away. Slow-motion replays made clear he had caught Pyrgos by the arm and had not touched the ball, but they were not shown on the stadium screens and TMO Neil Paterson sent him to the sin bin for a deliberate knock on.

A man short, the men in green found themselves camped on their own line until Pyrgos picked out wing Duhan van Der Merwe for the opening try, converted by his South African colleague, Jaco van der Walt, the fly half.

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More courage saw Connacht withstand a series of mauls and scrums on their try line — they conceded penalties but when it really mattered stood strong and in the end, Edinburgh had to settle for a penalty.

The second half started with more of the same, Edinburgh attacking and Connacht resisting, though there was a huge slice of luck for the visitors when Blair Kinghorn nearly put Van der Merwe in for a score, only for the wing to juggle and drop a simple pass.

The attacks continued, though, and eventually Pierre Schoeman, the prop, was driven over from a maul.

Finally, Connacht lifted the siege, showing their attacking threat when Caolin Blade, on at scrum half, found Niyi Adeolokun on the wide outside to register their first points and that seemed to lift Connacht.

The visitors started to move the ball better, bringing themselves within range with a penalty from Carty, only to run into a home defence just as determined as their own had been earlier.

Tries: Duhan van der Merwe (25), Pierre Schoeman (55)
Cons: Jaco van der Walt [2 from 2]
Pens: Jaco van der Walt [1 from 1]

Tries: Niyi Adeolokun (60)
Cons: Jack Carty [1 from 1]
Pens: Jack Carty [1 from 1]

Scoring sequence (Edinburgh first): 7-0, 10-0 (half time), 17-0, 17-7, 17-10.

Edinburgh: Blair Kinghorn; Dougie Fife, James Johnstone (Juan Pablo Socino, 56), Matt Scott, Duhan van der Merwe; Jaco van der Walt, Henry Pyrgos; Pierre Schoeman (Allan Dell, 63), Stuart McInally (C), WP Nel (Simon Berghan, 53), Ben Toolis (Fraser McKenzie, 56), Grant Gilchrist, Jamie Ritchie, Hamish Watson, Luke Hamilton (Magnus Bradbury, 53).

Connacht: Tiernan O’Halloran; Niyi Adeolokun, Eoin Griffin, Kyle Godwin (Bundee Aki, 50), Matt Healy; Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion (Caolin Blade, 51); Conan O’Donnell (Peter McCabe, 36), Dave Heffernan (Shane Delahunt, 47), Finlay Bealham (Dominic Robertson-McCoy, 60), Gavin Thornbury, Ultan Dillane (James Cannon, 56), Sean O’Brien (Colby Fainga’a, 47), Jarrad Butler, Paul Boyle.

Yellow card: Jarrad Butler (24-34)

Referee: Ian Davies (Wales)

Attendance: 5,239

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