Edinburgh 14 Gloucester 31: Ryan relishing the prospect of decisive encounter with Leinster

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The Independent Online

Gloucester will not qualify for the quarter-finals of the Heineken Cup unless they beat Leinster in the final pool match, at Kingsholm next month. They did themselves a favour by beating Edinburgh at Murrayfield yesterday, though, winning a bonus point on the way.

The Edinburgh coach, Lynn Howells, was disappointed. "Gloucester were the better side," he said, "but what you have to remember is that Edinburgh is a team only two months old [under his coaching], and we are rapidly improving."

Dean Ryan, Gloucester's director of rugby, said: "We have to win at Agen first. But if we are four points behind Leinster, and they have to come to Kingsholm, it will be a very big game and we will have a chance of making it to the quarter-finals."

Smarting after defeat at Kingsholm last week, Edinburgh brought Andrew Easson into the centre for Duncan Hodge, and Ross Rennie and David Callam left the back row for Alan MacDonald and Simon Taylor. Gloucester made five changes, but in the flanker Peter Buxton and lock Alex Brown they had the two best men on the field.

The match opened briskly and Ryan Lamb's pass was intercepted by Marcus Di Rollo, who ran more than 50 metres before releasing at the line to Chris Paterson. The Edinburgh captain at first appeared to get the ball down, but the referee called for the replay and a scrum took place. Lamb has made this mistake before. He recovered to kick the first penalty, before Paterson won a ball and kicked ahead but was closed down.

Gloucester made too many errors but Edinburgh could not take advantage, partly because they were too slow. Their pack was hard-working, with Taylor and Alasdair Strokosch in fine fettle, but then Scott Murray infringed at a ruck and collected a yellow card. Gloucester moved the ball from left to right, with Luke Narraway getting the try. Lamb's kick looked as if it was going to miss the target but it swung between the posts for seven points. So at half-time Gloucester were ahead 10-0.

Within three minutes of the re-start Strokosch gathered a loose ball and crashed over before Paterson converted. Edinburgh's hopes were short-lived, though, Willie Walker, who had replaced Lamb, chipping and Mike Tindall scoring close to the dead ball line. Walker converted.

Anthony Allen crossed for the next score, but the best try of the match went to Olly Morgan, who had come on for Iain Balshaw, after a break by Walker. In stoppage time, Ben Cairns scored for Edinburgh and Paterson added the extra points.

Edinburgh: Tries Strokosch, Cairns; Conversions Paterson 2. Gloucester: Tries Narraway, Tindall, Allen, Morgan; Conversions Lamb, Walker 3; Penalty Lamb.

Edinburgh: H Southwell; C Paterson (capt); M Di Rollo (M Dey, 72), A Easson, B Cairns; P Godman (D Hodge, 75), M Blair (J Senio, 68); A Jacobsen, D Hall (A Kelly, 75), A Dickinson (D Hewett, 67), M Mustchin (F Pringle, 23-28 & 75), S Murray, A Strokosch, A MacDonald, S Taylor (D Callam, 49).

Gloucester: I Balshaw (O Morgan, 69); J Simpson-Daniel, M Tindall, A Allen, M Foster; R Lamb (W Walker, 52), R Lawson (P Richards, 64); N Wood, O Azam (R Elloway, 57), C Nieto, M Bortolami (capt), A Brown (A Eustace, 80), P Buxton, A Hazell, L Narraway (A Balding, 69).

Referee: R Poite (France).

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