Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer

URC Result: Lions claim magnificent Edinburgh win to seal perfect tour

The second half then started similar to the first, but it was then the hosts who took their first chance to retake the lead.

The Lions produced a magnificent performance to edge Edinburgh 22-19 in their United Rugby Championship (URC) clash at the Dam Heath Stadium in Scotland to complete a perfect European tour of three wins from three.

Having started their tour with two wins over Ospreys and Cardiff in Wales, it was expected to be a bridge too far for the Lions, but they confounded expectations by upsetting one of the strongest teams in the competition.

Despite a cold boot on the night from flyhalf Gianni Lombard, the visitors just kept sticking to the hosts, levelling the scores every time they went behind, until a late penalty clinched an amazing win.

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It was an exciting start to the match for both teams, as some end to end play saw early entries into each other’s 22m areas.

It was then the Lions who had the first chance to get on the board in the 10th minute, with a long range penalty near the halfway, but Lombard pulled his effort just wide.

 A couple of minutes later Lombard then tried an ambitious long range drop goal a few minutes later, but got it horribly wrong allowing the hosts to counter attack.

Edinburgh were however slowly building into the game and with the Lions having held them out well, they finally managed to break through for the first try in the 20th minute.

A debateable penalty at the breakdown allowed Edinburgh to kick into the corner, where they set a huge maul, with the backs getting involved, as it powered over, with eighthman Viliame Mata dotting down.

Edinburgh wing Emiliano Boffelli then hooked the conversion, leaving the score at 5-0.

Lombard then had another chance to get the Lions on the board with another long range shot in the 27th minute, this time closer than the first and more central, only for him to push the kick wide again.

The visitors were however growing in confidence and having enjoyed their best spell of the game, levelled things up in the 36th minute.

Attacking from a lineout on the 22m, the Lions made good metres thanks to strong runs from inside centre Marius Louw and hooker PJ Botha, with Edinburgh eventually running out of defenders as fullback Andries Coetzee sliced through to score next to the uprights.

Lombard’s nightmare night with the boot was then compounded as he slammed the easy conversion off the upright, leaving the scores level pegging at the break.

Hosts took their chance

The second half then started similar to the first, but it was then the hosts who took their first chance, as they attacked from a lineout, drew in defenders and slung the ball wide for right wing Darcy Graham to go over in the corner.

Boffelli slotted the tricky touchline conversion to give them a 12-5 lead after 52 minutes.

The Lions then replied in the 58th minute with a superb individual try to outside centre Henco van Wyk.

He powered through a tackle, wasn’t held, let go of the ball, picked it up again and sprinted away to score next to the uprights, with Lombard finally levelling things up with his first successful kick of the night.

Edinburgh however hit back straight from the kick off as they earned a penalty, kicked to the corner and powered over another maul, with replacement loose forward Ben Muncaster dotting down, and Boffelli converting to go back ahead 19-12.

The back and forth half then continued as the Lions went up the other end, set up a lineout and attacked, with eighthman Francke Horn busting through to score and Lombard’s extras drawing the scores level again after 65 minutes.

In the 69th minute Edinburgh then had another lineout in the Lions 22m, but the visitors defended the maul brilliantly and then held up replacement hooker Dave Cherry to keep things level.

A massive play in the 74th minute then saw the Lions go ahead as with Edinburgh on attack they lost the ball, allowing the Lions to hack the ball ahead twice, before Darcy Graham then retrieved the ball 5m out and then held onto the ball leading to a penalty almost in front.

Lombard slotted the penalty with his last play of the night, putting the visitors 22-19 ahead, which they managed to hold onto for the final five minutes to seal a famous win.


Edinburgh: Tries – Viliame Mata, Darcy Graham, Ben Muncaster; Conversions – Emiliano Boffelli (2)

Lions: Tries – Andries Coetzee, Henco van Wyk, Francke Horn; Conversions – Gianni Lombard (2); Penalty – Lombard

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