The Leinster fans swelling the attendance in the cavernous bowl of Scotland's national stadium to a bumper 3,567 yesterday did their best to lift their faltering team. "Alive, Alive Oh!" they chorused, but by the final whistle Leinster's hopes of surviving beyond Pool Six in the Heineken Cup were in a perilous state.
Defeat at Murrayfield last year effectively consigned Brian O'Driscoll and his side to a quarter-final on foreign soil against Wasps. This time they will have to work wonders just to reach the knockout phase after falling to an Edinburgh side making progress under Andy Robinson. Last season a last-minute drop goal by Duncan Hodge did for Leinster, consigning them to a 25-24 defeat. Yesterday they were effectively beaten by the 54th minute, when their left-wing Rob Kearney slung out the reckless pass that Ben Cairns snaffled to claim the second of Edinburgh's two tries. The final margin was not even close, Phil Godman's faultless place-kicking stretching the gap to 19 points.
Brilliantly orchestrated by their scrum-half and captain Mike Blair, Edinburgh deserved their emphatic success their first in four attempts in this season's competition.
Leinster have already lost in Toulouse, and with the triple European champions to face in Dublin, and Leicester away too, their prospects look bleak. Even Felipe Contepomi could not rescue them yesterday.
The Argentinian outside-half did land a fourth-minute penalty,but Edinburgh absorbed 10 minutes of pressure before getting their own score ticking over. Godman kicked three penalties before his colleagues cut through the Leinster defence for the opening try, in the 33rd minute.
Nick De Luca, Edinburgh's in-form outside centre, made a half-break before releasing Andrew Turnbull, who sent SimonWebster over in the corner. Godman converted, giving Edinburgh a 16-3 advantage, but the home side were forced into Rorke's Drift mode for the rest of the half.
Six minutes into first-half injury-time the pressure finally told. Contepomi slid a grubber kick past the home guard and De Luca prevented O'Driscoll from reaching it with a tackle off the ball. Contepomi converted the penalty try, reducing Edinburgh's lead to 16-10 at the interval.
Three minutes into the second half, Mike Blair dropped a goal with his left foot from wide on the right. Then Kearney threw his stray pass and Cairns ran in his try. Godman converted and, with two minutes left, added a fourth penalty to his tally.
The Edinburgh outside-half converted six place kicks out of six for a haul of 16 points. For Leinster, lamentably, there was not a single second-half point, let alone one of the bonus variety.
Edinburgh: B Cairns (C MacRae, 79); A Turnbull, N De Luca, J Houston, S Webster; P Godman (D Blair, 79), M Blair (capt; B Meyer, 79); A Allori (G Cross, 40), R Ford (A Kelly, 70), C Smith, M Mustchin (C Hamilton, 69), B Gissing, S Cross (R Reid, 50), D Callam, R Rennie.
Leinster: G Dempsey; S Horgan (L Fitzgerald, 26), B O'Driscoll (capt; J Sexton, 80), G D'Arcy, R Kearney; F Contepomi, G Easterby (C Keane, 69); O le Roux (C Healy, 74), B Jackman, S Wright, L Cullen, M O'Kelly, S Keogh (K Gleeson, 49), J Heaslip, S Jennings.
Referee: T Hayes (Wales).Reuse content