'Brilliant achievement': Edinburgh team reach last 16 of European rugby's premier tournament

Edinburgh are through to the last 16 of the Heineken Champions Cup after coming from behind to win 21-34 away to Castres.

Edinburgh did the double over the French side and the victory means they have now qualified for the knockout stages of European rugby's premier tournament.

The Scottish side produced an impressive defensive performance and kept the home side scoreless in a professional second half, acknowledged by captain Jamie Ritchie.

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“I am proud of the boys and the performance,” said Ritchie. “It was a tight first half but our mentality in the second half – we kept them under pressure and I'm pleased with that. We were a bit more clinical and tightened up our discipline after the break.

Edinburg fly-half Charlie Savala runs with the ball flanked by pop Pierre Schoeman against Castres. Picture: Valentine Chapuis / Getty

The French side led at half time through tries from Josaia Raisuqe, Adrien Seguret and Wilfrid Hounkpatin. Edinburgh had crossed the line through Cherry and Mata.

Mike Blair's side were much improved after the break, Cammy Hutchison giving them hope with a try. It was an excellent individual scored from replacement scrum-half Ben Vellacott which put Edinburgh in front and secured the bonus point. Two late penalties from Kinghorn put the icing on the cake, and takes Edinburgh through. Kinghorn landed four conversions and two penalties to seal a famous win four weeks after they beat Castres 31-20 at home.

Edinburgh came into this encounter having struggled to gain any momentum in the United Rugby Championship, only narrowly beating bottom-of-the-table Zebre, but coach Mike Blair had predicted his Edinburgh side had what it took to pull off a victory against the French side on their own patch and so it proved.

“We're pleased we won, but we want to stretch ourselves,” said Blair. “We want to win at home. It's a huge game next week against Saracens.

“It's different to the previous Champions Cup format, because in the past you went straight to the quarter-finals as opposed to going into a round of 16. But I still think this is a brilliant achievement for Edinburgh. We're playing against the English and French finalists from last season – to get 11 points from those first three games is significant.”