Forward control hands Edinburgh win

Edinburgh 19 Leeds 9
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The Independent Online

Edinburgh march on and remain unbeaten to stay top of Pool Two after this comprehensive defeat of Leeds, who have been thoroughly out of sorts these past few weeks. The Scottish region, against all expectations, stay on target to become the first side from north of the border to reach the quarter-finals of the Heineken Cup.

They were in total command in the second half, scoring the only try of a disjointed match at a noisy Meadowbank Stadium, Dougie Hall being on the end of a huge forward drive.

The early exchanges were marked by some dreadful handling by both sides. Though Leeds' director of rugby, Phil Davies, was unhappy with some of his side's recent performances, the Tykes were much changed and their line-up had an air of unfamiliarity about them. With so many errors, there was also a commensurately high penalty count, and it looked as if the match was going to be decided via a kicking duel between the Leeds outside-half, Tim Walsh, and Edinburgh's Brendan Laney.

With neither side able to put any shape on their game, there was plenty of end-to-end action though little of it carried any authority until Leeds stole an Edinburgh line-out on their own line to lift a mini-siege. Even so, Edinburgh were the more threatening until the second quarter was reached and Leeds at last found some cohesion to signal their growing confidence with a slashing break by Walsh - which had try written all over it - until he was cut down by Mike Blair in the final stride.

With the exception of a smart break by Chris Paterson, all Edinburgh had to show for their efforts was two Laney penalties, to three by Walsh. Leeds managed to keep the Gunners out despite having Phil Murphy sent ot the sin-bin nine minutes before the break.

Although the Edinburgh coach, Frank Hadden, will be disappointed that his team were unable to reproduce the fluency that accounted so spectacularly for Toulouse, he will be mightily encouraged by the way his forwards set about the Leeds pack in the second half, not to mention Laney's significant contribution. The big centre was a rock in the home defence and kicked two more penalties and converted Hall's try. Leeds kept plugging away but made far too many mistakes, leaving their European campaign in tatters.

Edinburgh: Try Hall; Conversion Laney; Penalties Laney 4. Leeds: Penalties Walsh 3

Edinburgh: D Lee; S Webster, M Di Rollo (T Philip, 50), B Laney (capt), C Joiner (H Southwell, 33); C Paterson, M Blair; A Jacobsen, D Hall (C Di Ciacca, 72), C Smith, N Hines, S Murray (A Kellock, 69), A Hogg, S Taylor, S Cross (A Dall, 44).

Leeds: M Cardey (G Ross, 63); P Christophers, A Snyman, T Davies, D Albanese; T Walsh, R Walker; Shelley, M Regan (M Holt 50-62), G Powell, P Murphy, T Palmer (capt), A Persico, D Hyde, A Popham.

Referee: H Watkins (Wales).