London Irish face daunting Cardiff trip after Hape's costly charge
London Irish 19 Edinburgh 20
High fives or high anxiety: what a difference a single point can make in the choppy waters of a Heineken Cup pool. "Cardiff Blues are understandably on a high, buoyed by international returns and having gone to Paris and got a good result," the London Irish head coach, Toby Booth, said of his side's next opponents.
Edinburgh, by contrast, are smelling of roses after this rare away win on Saturday as they prepare to welcome the Blues' opening victims, Racing-Métro, in Auld Reekie. "Confidence will be high," said coach Michael Bradley. "The reality is you only have six pool games, Racing will have to win to stay in the competition and it'll be a battle this week."
Much of the breathless appeal of the Heineken Cup rests on these precarious situations – frankly, the quality of rugby here was not up to the tribal, high-quality competition some claim it to be. But try telling that to those with a vested interest. The TV racing presenter Derek Thompson, for instance, who swapped a day at Cheltenham for the Madejski Stadium and lived and breathed every kick and tackle as his son, Jim – the Edinburgh full-back – did his bit in the Scottish side's second win in their last 24 Heineken Cup away matches.
Edinburgh's wings, Tim Visser and Lee Jones, were potent. Jones scored from Visser's inside pass after 15 minutes and it would have been a pair in the 69th minute if the always dangerous Visser had not lost control in attempting to fend Nick Kennedy off with one hand and ground the ball with the other. At that time the match was poised delicately at 19-17 to Irish. The referee, Romain Poite, then sent Shontayne Hape to the sin-bin for a shoulder-charge on Sean Cox. Ross Laidlaw kicked the resulting penalty to nose Edinburgh in front.
Scorers: London Irish: Try Samson; Conversion Homer; Penalties Homer 4. Edinburgh: Tries Jones, McInally; Conversions Leonard, Laidlaw; Penalties Leonard, Laidlaw.
London Irish T Homer; J Ansbro, S Shingler, S Hape, A Thompstone; D Bowden (capt), R Samson (P Hodgson, 66); A Corbisiero (M Lahiff, 53), J Buckland (B Blaney, 70), P Ion (F Fautenbach, 53), N Kennedy, M Garvey (J Sandford, 62), B Evans, J Gibson (R Thorpe, 62), J Sinclair.
Edinburgh J Thompson; L Jones, N de Luca, M Scott, T Visser; H Leonard, M Blair (G Laidlaw, 47); A Jacobsen, R Ford (capt), G Cross (L Niven, 21-24), E Lozada, G Gilchrist, D Denton (S Cox, 27), R Rennie (R Grant, 47), S McInally.
Referee R Poite (France).
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