Webster swoops to secure epic victory for Edinburgh

Edinburgh 32 Wasps 31
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The Independent Online

Andy Robinson and Ian McGeechan had very different reasons for travelling to Murrayfield for this Heineken Cup match yesterday. Robinson, England's head coach, still has work to do before finalising his team for the first of the autumn internationals, against Australia, next month. There are uncertainties about who will make the centre pairing and full-back positions, while there might still be some back five places up for grabs.

If so, then few of Wasps' contenders really stood out. Stuart Abbott had a mixed game, as did Mark van Gisbergen, while Simon Shaw, still suffering from a heavy cold and who has received precious few favours when it comes to international selection, was replaced in the second half. So Robinson will have learnt little that he did not know beforehand.

The Wasps director of rugby, McGeechan, on the other hand, will have been dismayed at how poorly Wasps fumbled and stumbled to defeat in the face of Edinburgh's refusal to be cowed, despite the Scottish side making a plethora of mistakes. "We didn't get it right tactically after the break," McGeechan said, "having been so composed in the first half."

This was Edinburgh's day. Whether they can build on this extraordinary result remains to be seen. For the moment they can congratulate themselves after a rousing display of belief and commitment.

"We hadn't fired a shot before half-time," Todd Blackadder, Edinburgh's coach, admitted, "but our kicking game came good when it mattered and we deserved to win."

Wasps led 20-13 at the interval, thanks to tries from Jonny O'Connor and Josh Lewsey, the latter being smart enough to capitalise on the rebound off an upright from a Van Gisbergen penalty attempt. This score came after Wasps had shipped a try when Alex King dropped a simple pass from Lawrence Dallaglio. A hack on and Chris Paterson slid across for the touchdown, which he converted to add to two penalties.

In a rare moment of creativity, Phil Godman found Francisco Leonelli who inter-passed with Hugo Southwell for the full-back to cross. Paterson failed to convert, but he did slot three more penalties to maintain the Scots' momentum. Two penalties from Van Gisbergen and a Paul Sackey try looked to have sealed it for Wasps, but a late touchdown by Simon Webster and Edinburgh were home.

Edinburgh: Tries Paterson, Southwell, Webster; Conversion Paterson; Penalties Paterson 5. Wasps: Tries O'Connor, Lewsey, Sackey; Conversions Van Gisbergen 2; Penalties Van Gisbergen 4.

Edinburgh: H Southwell; C Paterson (capt), M Di Rollo, P Jorgensen (S Webster, 72), F Leonelli; P Godman, M Blair (R Lawson, 57); D Hewitt (A Jacobsen, 69), D Hall, C Smith, A Kellock, S Murray, M Mustchin (A Strokosch, 74), S Taylor, A Hogg.

Wasps: M van Gisbergen; P Sackey, J Lewsey, S Abbott, T Voyce; A King, M Dawson; T Payne, R Ibanez, P Bracken (J Dawson, 74), S Shaw (G Skivington, 69), R Birkett, J Hart (J Dawson, 53-61; T Rees 61), J O'Connor, L Dallaglio (capt).

Referee: C Berdos (France).

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