Edinburgh strengthen position with come-from-behind win


Edinburgh tightened their grip on top spot in Heineken Cup Pool Five with a second successive victory over Newcastle.

A cracking second-half display from Richard Cockerill’s side saw them turn an 8-6 deficit into a 21-8 win with tries from James Johnstone and Durham van der Merwe, silencing the Kingston Park crowd.

Newcastle were more than happy to be leading 8-6 at half-time thanks mainly to a wonderful try engineered by Vereniki Goneva and scored by Sinoti Sinoti but also because of some tenacious defence.

Edinburgh had much the better of the half but handling errors cost them dearly especially when scrum-half Henry Pyrgos seemed on for a score after superb off the top ball from Grant Gilchrist.

But John Hardie got one over his former club with a vital turnover under the posts, before Newcastle blew a great chance when Goneva’s switch pass sent Tom Arscott surging out of his own 22 with Simon Hammersley in support and when the full-back was brought down on the Edinburgh 22, Newcastle made a mess of the recycled ball and Edinburgh were off the hook.

Hammersley’s quick hands after a superb take of the box kick sent Goneva away and he put Sinoti in the clear on halfway, the winger outpacing Luke Hamilton for an 18th-minute try.

Two Jaco van der Walt penalties in the 22nd and 32nd minutes with one from Flood for the Falcons to make it 8-6 at the break seemed scant reward for Edinburgh who had a definite edge in the scrummage and line-out but which also says much for the quality of the Newcastle defence.

That defence was shredded two minutes into the second half with a beautiful try as Pyrgos chipped the defence and Johnstone raced through to take the bouncing ball one-handed and score under the posts. Van der Walt’s conversion put Edinburgh 13-8 ahead.

Newcastle were under the cosh and Pierre Schoeman went close from a line-out drive but the Falcons frailty at the scrum was exposed in the 60th minute when they conceded a penalty and van der Walt made it 16-8.

The hosts did have a chance to get back into the game with 10 minutes left with a line-out five metres out – but they crucially overthrew the ball and Edinburgh survived.

It was a crucial mistake from the home side as Edinburgh worked their way efficiently into the Newcastle half and then Pyrgos hit Blair Kinghorn with a great pass and the full-back threw out an even better pass – although it looked a shade forward – and van der Merwe went over in the corner to complete the scoring.


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