When you welcome the European Champions to town, perhaps you shouldn't be expecting to win. However, with Edinburgh having won their opening 3 games of the season (and the last six of last season) expectations were high that we could make it 10 in a row against Irish province Leinster, despite their British & Irish Lions returning to the side for the first time this season.
And we ran them close. So close. A last minute Chris Paterson missed penalty (I know, he doesn't do that often) was all that separated us from a victory, going down 21-19 to the visitors after a frantic last 10 minutes which saw us edge into the lead 19-18 through two Paterson penalties only to lose out to a Jonathan Sexton drop goal immediately after the kick-off. We had Paterson's chance to win it - which would not have been unwarranted - but it slipped agonisingly wide. It just wasn't our night I guess.
The game was as close as the final score suggests. Edinburgh dominated territory and possession in the first half, but went in tied at 6-6 at half time. We just couldn't find the killer final pass. Ill-discipline really cost us as Leinster took their penalties early in the second half to lead 12-6, but a fine Ben Cairns try put us briefly in the lead 13-12. Another penalty for Leinster saw them lead 15-13, and yet another extended it to 18-13 before the frantic finale.
The sizeable 5,700 crowd enjoyed a cracking effort from the lads, and were pretty gutted at the finish - an indication of just how far Edinburgh have come that a two-point loss to the European Champions really hurts. I guess we were all a bit annoyed at some questionable refereeing (the touch-judge on the crowd-side line was particularly poor) but, having seen the highlights on STV's rugby show, I'd probably put that down to some "street-wise" play (as in, quite close to breaking the rules but not quite) from the Leinster forwards. Who knows, maybe we're not quite as smart at the breakdown.
Anyway, more cracking entertainment from Edinburgh. Next up is our first Heineken Cup game, at home to Ulster on 17th October.
Penalties: Paterson 4
Penalties: McFadden 6
Drop Goal: Sexton
I should also mention that I went to watch another game of rugby earlier on Saturday, as my mate's Murrayfield Wanderers made the trip to Peffermill to play Edinburgh University. Being me, I did get a little lost on the way, but I did end up finding my way to watching a cracking game of rugby. A 20-20 draw was probably a fair reflection of the match, though the Uni only scored a try with a minute to go to tie it up. A huge brawl just before the end - sparked by a few Uni forwards setting upon the wee Wanderers scrum-half - encapsulated the intensity with which the game was played. Have to say, I was fairly impressed by some of the forwards play - particularly the catch and drive for Wanderers third score - as well as the speed of recycling possession and some of the passing out of the tackle. Cracking effort from both sides.