Planet Rugby

Edinburgh empty Leicester's Heineken

12th January 2008 17:13

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Mike Blair of Edinburgh in HEC action on Saturday

Blair and Varndell do battle as Edinburgh shock the Tigers

Edinburgh shocked Leicester in the Heineken Cup on Saturday, claiming a well deserved 17-12 victory at Murrayfield.

Two converted tries and a Phil Godman penalty was enough to see a rapidly improving Edinburgh side claim a notable scalp.

The Tigers needed a bonus-point win to keep alive their quarter-final qualification hopes - but the home side deserved their 2-0 try-count success.

Last season's runners-up had looked the hungrier outfit in the early exchanges and it took them only three minutes to get off the mark.

A towering up-and-under by Geordan Murphy sparked panic among the home back ranks - skipper Ally Hogg being caught offside in the wake of Hugo Southwell's spill in the danger zone.

Andy Goode was left with the easiest of penalties to edge his side in front.

Tigers maintained the momentum and they were unlucky not to be awarded another kickable penalty when winger Tom Varndell was blatantly obstructed well away from the ball.

Both teams were signalling their intent to rely on a kicking game in an effort to establish territorial power.

However, other than Murphy's pinpoint strike, the accuracy was leaving a lot to be desired.

The visitors earned more breathing space in the 10th minute as Goode hit the target for penalty number two.

Edinburgh replied in positive fashion by launching a series of raids mainly featuring Nick de Luca and Ben Cairns - but the promising work was spoiled by a knock-on.

More sloppy kicking by Goode allowed the locals to keep the pressure on, however there was no sign of the Tigers defence being breached.

But the picture changed in the dying stages of the half when the Gunners grabbed the initiative - despite being down to 14 men.

Lock Ben Gissing was sent to the sin-bin by Irish referee Peter Fitzgibbon for an off-the-ball incident.

Gissing's departure seemed to inspire the hosts and Phil Godman discovered an extra yard of pace to snap up a classic stand-off's try, dashing through a midfield gap close to the line.

And he finished the job by slotting the extra points to put Tigers under even more pressure.

Predictably, Leicester stepped up the pace in stoppage time for Goode to sneak them back in front with the last kick of the half.

Edinburgh came out with all guns blazing after the restart with the Tigers getting the benefit of the verdict when the ball was held up over their line.

The problems in the visiting camp deepened two minutes later. England hooker George Chuter was yellow-carded in the shadow of his own posts for killing the ball - leaving Godman to gleefully clip over the formality of the penalty.

And the see-saw action continued as Goode responded in identical style to restore his team's slender advantage.

It was turning into a frantic contest and the Tigers were rocked by yet another setback.

Having been pinned back for a prolonged spell, Edinburgh powered back in front with a top-notch second try.

De Luca and Simon Webster featured in a slick and imaginative handling move which paved the way for hooker Ross Ford to plunge over.

Godman's conversion was from a wide angle, however his strike was deadly.

Tigers chiefs made a spate of substitutions in an effort to alter the pattern of the tussle. But there was yet more frustration as All Black Aaron Mauger let the ball squirm from his grasp close to the Edinburgh line.

Then Goode was penalised for holding on following a marvellous cover tackle by Southwell.

The Scorers:

For Edinburgh:

Tries: Godman, Ford

Cons: Godman 2

Pen: Godman

For Leicester:

Pens: Goode 4

Yellow Cards: Gissing (Edinburgh - 31st minute), Chuter (Leicester - 48th minute)

The Teams:

Edinburgh: 15 Hugo Southwell, 14 Ben Cairns, 13 Nick De Luca, 12 John Houston, 11 Simon Webster, 10 Phil Godman, 9 Mike Blair, 8 Allister Hogg (c), 7 Ross Rennie, 6 Roland Reid, 5 Ben Gissing, 4 Matt Mustchin, 3 Gavin Kerr, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Allan Jacobsen.

Replacements: 16 Andrew Kelly, 17 Augusto Allori, 18 Craig Hamilton, 19 Alan MacDonald, 20 Ben Meyer, 21 David Blair, 22 Calum MacRae.

Leicester Tigers: 15 Geordan Murphy, 14 Johne Murphy, 13 Ollie Smith, 12 Aaron Mauger, 11 Tom Varndell, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Christophe Laussucq, 8 Martin Corry (c), 7 Tom Croft, 6 Brett Deacon, 5 Ben Kay, 4 Louis Deacon, 3 Julian White, 2 George Chuter, 1 Marcos Ayerza.

Replacements: 16 Benjamin Kayser, 17 Alex Moreno, 18 Marco Wentzel, 19 Jordan Crane, 20 Frank Murphy, 21 Ian Humphreys, 22 Dan Hipkiss.

Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland)

Touch judges: Alan Rogan (Ireland), Brian MacNeice (Ireland)

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