Planet Rugby

Leinster thump four past Edinburgh

11th October 2008 15:17

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Shane Horgan Felipe Contepomi Brian O Driscoll

Vital trio: Contepomi, Horgan and O'Driscoll shine

Leinster stormed to an opening maximum point haul as they beat Edinburgh 27-16 at what has been somewhat of a bogey Murrayfield ground for the visitors on Saturday.

Entering the European arena on the back of what was a shock defeat to fellow Irishmen Connacht last week, Michael Cheika was hunting an immediate response from his side - and that was exactly what he got in the Scottish capital.

The vital five points were secured with the first half still in full swing as international quartet Rocky Elsom, Brian O'Driscoll, Felipe Contepomi and Shane Horgan crossed with entertaining scores as Leinster capitalised on their opponents' mistakes.

However, it was the hosts who thoroughly tested the Magners League champions early on and were unfortunate not to make their sustained possession and territory tell with more than a Phil Godman penalty on fourteen minutes.

These two sides knew each other pretty well in Europe following being drawn in the same Pool for the past three seasons. But in a game played under perfect conditions the opening stages were as sloppy and fragmented as the spectator turnout at the national stadium.

That was until the Irish called upon their star Australian summer signing Elsom, who capitalised on turnover ball by fending off Allan Jacobsen and then racing 30 metres for the line to bring the game to life - Felipe Contepomi converting for a 3-7 scoreline.

Slack tackling from Edinburgh then compounded their turnover woes as Leinster continued to feast off loose ball. This time the free-flowing Jamie Heaslip and CJ Van der Linde combined for a 60-metre gain close to the home whitewash.

But the visitors didn't have to wait long for their second try as more worrying gaps around the breakdown let in Contepomi who fed centre O'Driscoll for a clean run under the uprights as the gap became eleven.

And the current Ireland captain then continued to answer his critics on 36 minutes with a step and shimmy on the edge of his 22 to set him off on a half-the-length race before handing on to his Puma fly-half for the third score.

Three quickly became a bonus-point four soon after as Heaslip's charge down the touchline eventually found supporting wing Horgan who grounded with a punch of the air before the break.

One couldn't see a way back for Edinburgh following their return from a stern Andy Robinson talking to. But they got the perfect gift on 50 minutes as Contepomi ruthlessly caught a ball from an offside position five out, which earned him a yellow card and a penalty try to boot - a way back for Edinburgh at 13-24?

That could have been a possibility as the chances did come the way of the Scots. However, they lacked a clinical edge as handling errors and, of course turnovers, dogged their attempted comeback.

Controversy then struck again that led to coach Robinson prowling the touchline as another hand in open play, this time from Chris Whitaker with the try very much on, was merely punished with a penalty.

And a minute later it was Edinburgh who lost a man as lock Matt Mustchin's trip effectively sealed an impressive, if opportunistic result for the Pool heavyweights who take on Wasps at RDS next week.

The scorers:

For Edinburgh:

Tries: Penalty

Con: Paterson

Pen: Godman, Paterson 2

For Leinster:

Tries: Elsom, O'Driscoll, Contepomi, Horgan

Con: Contepomi 2

Pen: Contepomi

Yellow cards: Contepomi (Leinster - deliberately offside on 50 minutes), Mustchin (Edinburgh - trip on 69 minutes)

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

Replacements: 16 Andrew Kelly, 17 Gavin Kerr, 18 Ben Gissing, 19 Craig Hamilton, 20 Greig Laidlaw, 21 David Blair, 22 John Houston.

Leinster: 15 Girvan Dempsey, 14 Shane Horgan, 13 Luke Fitzgerald, 12 Brian O'Driscoll, 11 Rob Kearney, 10 Felipe Contepomi, 9 Chris Whitaker, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Shane Jennings, 6 Rocky Elsom, 5 Devin Toner, 4 Leo Cullen (c), 3 CJ van der Linde, 2 Bernard Jackman, 1 Stan Wright.

Replacements: 16 John Fogarty, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Trevor Hogan, 19 Stephen Keogh, 20 Chris Keane, 21 Jonathan Sexton, 22 Gary Brown.

Referee: David Pearson (England)

Touch judges: Roy Maybank, Stuart Terheege (England)

Television match official: Geoff Warren (England)

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