Leinster came away from Meggetland with a losing bonus point as Damien Hoyland’s second half brace of tries steered Edinburgh to victory on the opening night of the GUINNESS PRO12…
With Dominic Ryan in the sin-bin for collapsing a maul, winger Hoyland dashed over in the 77th minute for the match-winning try. However, Jack Cuthbert missed the conversion from the right of the posts, leaving Leinster with a losing bonus point to show for their efforts.
Scoring chances were few and far between over the closely-fought 80 minutes, with Isa Nacewa marking his first PRO12 appearance in over two years with three successful penalties.
Place-kicks from Nacewa and Edinburgh scrum half Nathan Fowles had the sides tied at 3-all at half-time, but Edinburgh forced the issue in the third quarter and Cornell du Preez's excellent pass released Hoyland for an important five-pointer in the left corner.
Nacewa hit back from the kicking tee to make it 8-6 and as an attritional second half wore on, Cuthbert and Nacewa missed difficult shots at goal before exchanging successful kicks in the 70th and 72nd minutes respectively.
But Edinburgh, with New Zealand-born number 8 Nasi Manu in man-of-the-match form, seized the momentum in the dying minutes and they punished 14-man Leinster by unleashing Hoyland in the 22 to complete his brace.
It was a busy opening from Leinster, wearing all white in Leo Cullen's first competitive game in charge. They had control of the early possession albeit with Edinburgh defending well inside their own half, as typified by Cuthbert's first-up tackle on Darragh Fanning.
Neat interplay between Luke McGrath and Jack Conan off a lineout saw the latter barge his way into the 22 and Fanning also threatened on the right wing before Edinburgh won a relieving penalty.
Solid defence saw Leinster break up a period of Scottish attacking, and a subsequent high tackle on young out-half Cathal Marsh was punished by a well-struck 16th-minute penalty from Nacewa.
The returning full-back was wide with a difficult second place-kick from halfway, and Fowles fired over at the other end to level matters after 'no clear release' from the eager Dan Leavy.
Although a close-in scrum penalty allowed Edinburgh to exert pressure past the half hour mark, crisp tackling from Mike McCarthy, Leavy and Conan kept the Scots at bay and Leinster cleared following a John Andress ruck infringement. Fowles was off target with a subsequent penalty attempt before referee Peter Fitzgibbon's half-time whistle.
Fowles fluffed his lines by missing a straightforward penalty on the restart, but Leinster's defensive workload was increasing and replacements were required up front as Ross Molony, Bryan Byrne, debutant prop Royce Burke-Flynn and aforementioned flanker Ryan, who came on for injured captain Kevin McLaughlin, were all introduced.
A key tackle from Leavy managed to dislodge the ball from Roddy Grant's grasp as the Edinburgh captain attempted to crash over the whitewash. The Scots' persistance was eventually rewarded in the 54th minute when du Preez did really well to ship a tackle and spin to his left to send waiting winger Hoyland over by the left corner flag.
It was a significant blow in such a tight game played in wet and windy conditions. Leinster battled on and Nacewa nailed his second successful strike, with Isaac Boss and debutant out-half Ross Byrne now on at half-back.
The 2,476-strong crowd watched the Leinster front row, including newcomer Burke-Flynn, garner a scrum penalty on halfway but Nacewa was unable to deliver the three points from distance.
Cuthbert then stepped up to land a monster effort and give Edinburgh a real lift and despite Nacewa quickly clawing it back to 11-9, Alan Solomons' charges took full advantage of the yellow card with another clinical finish from Hoyland.
EDINBURGH SCORERS: D. Hoyland (2 tries), N. Fowles (1 penalty), J. Cuthbert (1 penalty)
LEINSTER SCORERS: I. Nacewa (3 penalties)
EDINBURGH: Jack Cuthbert; Dougie Fife, Chris Dean, Sam Beard, Damien Hoyland; Phil Burleigh, Nathan Fowles; Rory Sutherland, Neil Cochrane, John Andress, Anton Bresler, Ben Toolis, Cornell du Preez, Roddy Grant CAPTAIN, Nasi Manu.
REPLACEMENTS: George Turner, Allan Dell, Simon Berghan, Fraser McKenzie, Hamish Watson, Sean Kennedy, Greig Tonks, James Johnstone.
15. Isa Nacewa
14. Fergus McFadden
13. Ben Te'o
12. Noel Reid
11. Darragh Fanning
10. Cathal Marsh (Ross Byrne, 55)
9. Luke McGrath (Isaac Boss, 55)
1. Jamie Hagan (Royce Burke-Flynn, 43)
2. Aaron Dundon (Bryan Byrne, 43)
3. Michael Bent
4. Tom Denton (Ross Molony, 43)
5. Mike McCarthy
6. Kevin McLaughlin CAPTAIN (Dominic Ryan, 47)
7. Dan Leavy (Peter Dooley, 63)
8. Jack Conan
REPLACEMENT NOT USED: Garry Ringrose.
REFEREE: Peter Fitzgibbon (IRFU); ASSISTANT REFEREES: Sam Grove-White, Mike Adamson (both SRU); CITING COMMISSIONER: John Kirk (SRU); TMO: Jim Yuille (SRU).