Planet Rugby

Edinburgh off to a false start

12th September 2008 21:37

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Hopes were high in Edinburgh at the start of the Magners League season, but after a narrow home defeat to Munster and a 52-6 drubbing by Leinster on Friday, things are looking a little awkward for Andy Robinson.

Felipe Contepomi had a stellar night with the right boot, landing nine out of 11 place-kicks for a 22-point haul, and John Fogarty, Shane Jennings and Chris Keane boosted the Irish province's try tally to six late on after Luke Fitzgerald had notched a hat-trick.

Fitzgerald's opening efforts after 29 and 33 minutes completely changed the complexion of a game which began brightly for the Scottish visitors.

Injury-hit Edinburgh, who were missing frontline players including Ben Cairns and Ross Rennie, controlled much of the opening quarter with Phil Godman and Mike Blair dictating behind a well-drilled pack.

They gamely tried to create holes in the middle of Leinster's defence but remained try-less and had to rely on penalty goals from Godman and Chris Paterson to bookend that dominant early spell.

Despite looking frustrated at times, Leinster kept their composure and two well-struck penalties from Contepomi, the second edging them 6-3 in front, eased the nerves of the bustling crowd.

Then Fitzgerald, who turns 21 on Saturday, started his birthday celebrations early.

It was textbook stuff for the Ireland youngster's first try as the league champions' back-line displayed their enviable quality.

Leinster worked a set-piece, Chris Whitaker and Contepomi linked, and Rob Kearney's incision into the line really opened things up before Fitzgerald took the ball on and skated over in the right corner.

Contepomi, who hardly put a foot wrong all night, converted and he also added the extras just five minutes later after Fitzgerald had blocked down a Hugo Southwell clearance kick, collecting the ball on the full and dashing over for his second touchdown.

At 20-6 to the good at the break, Leinster had hardly moved out of second gear.

Edinburgh coach Andy Robinson ironically surmised in the lead-up to this game, suggesting his team would be sure to struggle if they concede two tries in any match.

Robinson's men leaked two when losing to Munster last Friday but worse followed in the second half here.

Paterson missed an early chance to eat into the hosts' lead and the confidence seemed to drain from Edinburgh's play as Leinster began to cut loose.

Contepomi kicked two further penalties before a swift interchange between the Argentinian and Brian O'Driscoll helped create Fitzgerald's third score.

Replacement hooker Fogarty secured the bonus point, crowning his home debut with a try after Edinburgh were caught napping at a lineout, and Jennings and Keane completed the rout.

The scorers:

For Leinster:

Tries: Fitzgerald 3, Fogarty, Jennings, Keane

Cons: Contempomi 5

Pens: Contempomi 4

For Edinburgh:

Pens: Godman, Paterson

Leinster: 15 Girvan Dempsey, 14 Luke Fitzgerald, 13 Brian O'Driscoll, 12 Felipe Contepomi, 11 Rob Kearney, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Chris Whitaker (c), 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Shane Jennings, 6 Cameron Jowitt, 5 Malcolm O'Kelly, 4 Trevor Hogan, 3 Stan Wright, 2 Bernard Jackman, 1 Ronan McCormack.

Replacements: 16 Cian Healy, 17 John Fogarty, 18 Devin Toner, 19 Sean O'Brien, 20 Chris Keane, 21 Shane Horgan, 22 Isa Nacewa.

Edinburgh: 15 Hugo Southwell, 14 Mark Robertson, 13 Calum MacRae, 12 Nick De Luca, 11 Chris Paterson, 10 Phil Godman, 9 Mike Blair (c), 8 Scott Newlands, 7 Allister Hogg, 6 Matt Mustchin, 5 Ben Gissing, 4 Craig Hamilton, 3 Geoff Cross, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Allan Jacobsen.

Replacements: 16 Steve Lawrie, 17 Gavin Kerr, 18 Steve Turnbull, 19 Andrew Kelly, 20 Greig Laidlaw, 21 David Blair, 22 Andrew Turnbull.

Referee: Tim Hayes (WRU)

Assistant Referees: M Black (IRFU), J Peake (IRFU)

Television Match Official: Brian MacNeice (IRFU)

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