Edinburgh coach Alan Solomons admitted the better team won, but a lengthening injury list is the South African’s biggest concern after last night’s 33-8 defeat at Leinster.
Edinburgh’s only try arrived four minutes from time from their outstanding player Tomas Leonardi, but by that stage the result has long been put to bed.
“I think the guys did exceptionally well, to go in without 20 players is just a massive ask, but we did really well despite that,” said Solomons.
“Before the end we had to take off Nick McLennan, Allan Dell, Dougie Fife and Andries Strauss with more injuries, but we fought hard to the end and deserved to get the try late on.”
Leinster gained their first real territorial hold after four minutes when Edinburgh loose head Allan Dell was penalised for interfering with Leinster scrum half Luke McGrath.
Jimmy Gopperth pinned Edinburgh to within touching distance of their own line and Dominic Ryan crept down the short side for the first try.
Gopperth missed the conversion from the left sideline as Leinster led 5-0, and after a short spell of Edinburgh promise, it still came as little surprise when the second try arrived in the 14th minute. Noel Reid spotted a gap in Edinburgh’s drifting defence and shortly after Zane Kirchner’s gathered his own chip over the top, Jack Conan scored in the right corner, as Leonardi failed to hold on to him in the tackle.
Gopperth made it 12-0 with the conversion, and Edinburgh’s injury jinx struck again when full back Nick McLennan was replaced after a knock to the head.
Edinburgh should have scored midway through the half when Tom Denton came in the side of a ruck, but Tom Heathcote missed his penalty in front of the posts from ten metres. Two minutes later the home side lost Ben Te’o with a suspected broken arm in a double tackle on Tim Visser, and bizarrely Edinburgh were further hit when Allan Dell limped off with a calf injury after 23 minutes.
Edinburgh finally got off the mark after 24 minutes when Leinster’s Richardt Strauss – brother of Edinburgh skipper Andries – was penalised for not rolling away from the tackle following a quick lineout that caught the home side unawares. This time Heathcote slotted the penalty.
The stop-start nature of the play continued after the break as knock-ons and errors were the order of the day and the first reach chance of a score came to the home side in the 49th minute. Edinburgh were penalised in the 49th minute. But instead of attempting the awkward penalty from the left Gopperth went for the corner but kicked the ball dead as he tried to steal every possible inch.
Three minutes later there was no let off as Gopperth found his range when Rory Sutherland was penalised for not releasing the ball and once again the maul off the lineout reaped dividends, with Ryan getting the crucial downward pressure for his second try of the night. Gopperth’s conversion made it 19-3, but Edinburgh almost crossed the whitewash following a couple of well constructed rolling mauls. Firstly Leonardi was held up over the line, and in the following phase Andreis Strauss was gobbled up as soon as the ball was spread wide.
Ben Marshall’s try 16 minutes from time sealed the maximum haul for Leinster. Leonardi raced in the right corner four minutes from time for a consolation for Edinburgh.