Rugby: Edinburgh coach rues lack of killer touch in Paris

Racing Metro players raise their arms after a crucial try against Edinburgh
Racing Metro players raise their arms after a crucial try against Edinburgh
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Edinburgh coach Michael Bradley has again been left ruing missed opportunities after his team’s losing streak in the Heineken Cup continued on Saturday with a 19-9 defeat at Racing Metro.

The Capital side marched to the semi-finals of last season’s tournament but have failed to win a single match in this campaign. They headed into the Stade Yves du Manoir clash on the back of heavy reverses to Saracens and Munster, in which they did not put a single point on the board.

Greig Laidlaw slotted three penalties to break their scoring duck, but it was not enough as tries either side of half-time for Racing from Juan Imhoff and Ben Arous proved the difference.

Bradley was pleased with his players’ commitment, but was left frustrated at their failure to turn prolonged pressure into points. He said: “We’re disappointed. The boys played well and the frustrating thing is that we had opportunities throughout the game.

“The period at the start of the second half saw us dominate the game and I felt that if we could have scored then, the game would have swung our way. But to give Racing their credit, they produced a strong defensive show in that 20 minute period to hold us out, which was a crucial part of the match.”

It took Edinburgh just two minutes to open their account in Paris as Laidlaw dissected the posts. A scintillating break from Richie Rees should have led to a first try of the campaign, but the Wales international became isolated and was tackled by Juan Martin Hernandez.

Edinburgh continued to dominate the early exchanges, but were unable to turn pressure into points and Racing hit back through the boot of Olly Barkley on ten minutes.

Bradley’s men continued to waste scoring opportunities as Laidlaw fired two penalties in quick succession wide and the big-spending French club punished their Scottish rivals for their lack of killer instinct with the game’s opening try, Imhoff dancing around Tom Brown to score. Barkley failed to add the extras, but the try handed his side an unlikely 8-3 lead.

Racing came close to grabbing a quick-fire second following a sustained period of pressure, but Edinburgh survived and another Laidlaw effort fell short before he made some amends with the final kick of the half.

Edinburgh were once again the better side in the opening exchanges following the restart, but still couldn’t turn pressure into points.And the Parisians were again quick to punish the visitors. They launched a powerful rolling maul that left Edinburgh in disarray before crashing over the try-line with Arous the beneficiary.

Edinburgh responded through the boot of Laidlaw, but Maxime Machenaud put the result beyond doubt with a penalty with just minutes to spare.