Edinburgh cough up a draw

26th Oct 2007, 22:49

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Andy Robinson watches as his team throws away a lead

Andy Robinson watches as his team throws away a lead

Andy Robinson's hunt for his first win as Edinburgh coach goes on after his side surrendered up an 11 point lead to draw 14-14 with Connacht in Galway, the second successive year Edinburgh have drawn there, in the Magners League on Friday.

Andy Robinson's hunt for his first win as Edinburgh coach goes on after his side surrendered up an 11 point lead to draw 14-14 with Connacht in Galway, the second successive year Edinburgh have drawn there, in the Magners League on Friday.

Edinburgh led the Magners League encounter 14-3 coming up to the half-hour mark but Connacht's dominance of possession and territory in the second half should have yielded more than the draw for the Irish side.

A try from Connacht prop Robbie Morris just before half-time had narrowed the gap to 14-8 at the break and kept the home side within striking distance.

It was the pivotal score of the match as Connacht played with much more poise and energy after half-time, getting on top of the visitors and dominating for long periods.

Two Tim Donnelly penalties after 59 and 69 minutes put Connacht level on the scoreboard but a number of good chances had gone a begging in the intervening minutes. Four visits to the Edinburgh 22 had failed to yield a try.

In a frantic finale, Donnelly had two attempts at a drop goal, the first blocked, the second wide right.

Deeper into added time, Edinburgh's debutant fly-half David Blair went close and his stabbed drop goal effort appeared to have gone over only for referee Hugh Watkins to rule it had dropped just under the bar. Video replays later suggested it had done neither and missed wide right.

The protests from the visitors fell on deaf ears and both sides were forced to settle for a draw for the second year, having finished level at 22-22 at the Sportsground last season.

Connacht were handed a lifeline in this scrappy contest just before half-time with a try from Morris, made by a superb break by full-back Gavin Duffy.

Although the conversion was missed, Connacht had got themselves within a score of Edinburgh after a half of disappointing rugby.

Edinburgh had burst into life in the opening minutes with a try from back rower Ross Rennie, coming from a well judged lineout drive.

The touchline conversion from David Blair made for a perfect opening to the contest.

Connacht responded with a penalty from the boot of Donnelly, but with 13 minutes remaining in the half Edinburgh struck for try number two.

This time centre Nick De Luca scored following a simple break from winger Andrew Turnbull, who cut through the defensive pairing of Brett Wilkinson and Morris.

Blair converted, Edinburgh led 14-3 but they frustratingly failed to hold onto that lead as Connacht staged a spirited comeback.

The scorers:

For Connacht:
Try:
Morris
Pens: Donnelly 3

For Edinburgh:
Tries:
Gissing, De Luca
Cons: Blair 2

Edinburgh: 15 Hugo Southwell, 14 Andrew Turnbull, 13 Ben Cairns, 12 Nick De Luca, 11 Simon Webster, 10 David Blair, 9 Mike Blair, 8 Simon Cross, 7 Ross Rennie, 6 Allister Hogg (c), 5 Ben Gissing, 4 Craig Hamilton, 3 Craig Smith, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Gavin Kerr,
Replacements: 16 Andrew Kelly, 17 Augusto Allori, 18 Matt Mustchin, 19 Roland Reid, 20 Ben Meyer, 21 Ali Warnock, 22 John Houston.

Connacht: 15 Gavin Duffy, 14 Ofisa Treviranus, 13 Mel Deane, 12 Aidan Wynne, 11 Keith Mathews, 10 Tim Donnelly, 9 Conor McPhillips, 8 John Muldoon, 7 Johnny O'Connor, 6 Ray Ofisa, 5 David Gannon, 4 Michael Swift, 3 Ronan Loughey, 2 John Fogarty, 1 Brett Wilkinson
Replacements: 16 Adrian Flavin, 17 Barrie McGovern, 18 Andrew Farley, 19 Michael McCarthy, 20 Conor O'Loughlin, 21 Peter Durcan, 22 Apilate Tuilevuka

Referee: Hugh Watkins (Wales)
Touch judges: Ger English (Ireland), Andrew Baird (Ireland)