DCSIMG

Heineken Cup: Gloucester 10-16 Edinburgh

Ben Atiga is congratulated by team mates after scoring a try. Picture: Getty

Ben Atiga is congratulated by team mates after scoring a try. Picture: Getty

  • by HAMISH STUART AT KINGSHOLM
 

Edinburgh joined the list of redemption clubs who turned the Heineken back-to-back fixtures on their head by following up home defeat with victory away.

Scorers: Gloucester: Try - Penalty Try. Con - Burns. Pen - Burns. Edinburgh: Try - Atiga. Con - Cuthbert. Pens - Cuthbert (3).

The boot of full-back Jack Cuthbert and a first Edinburgh try for centre Ben Atiga meant they took advantage of typically Scottish weather to bounce back and regain a little Scottish pride in the European competition with a first away win for two seasons, a fourth Scottish win in England out of 16 attempts.

Few saw this result coming after last weekend’s comfortable win for the English club in Murrayfield, least of all the Gloucester faithful who left with a sense of disbelief, as Edinburgh back rower Roddy Grant typified the effort by collecting the man of the match award.

Edinburgh went into the game with a weakened team, the decision to rest the likes of Greig Laidlaw, David Denton and Nick de Luca on top of the injuries, with only about half the starting line-up being eligible for Scotland as another issue that should concern the powers that be at Murrayfield.

They may only have had pride on the line after the hope of their opening victory at home to Munster, followed by defeats in Perpignan and at home to Gloucester, but at least Edinburgh were prepared to show a bit of fight.

The weather was miserable with steady rain at Kingsholm making handling tricky even when the rain clouds blew over for a while.

If it was a day to shove the ball up in the air then at least that is how Edinburgh opened the scoring, left wing Tom Brown belting the ball up into the grey skies and then blocked from trying to regather by home scrum half Tavis Knoyle in the sort of cynical way encouraged by every team from every kick.

Referee Roman Poite was rightly having none of it and, after Jack Cuthbert had put Edinburgh ahead with the 40 yard penalty, he penalised the visitors for the same offence a minute later. This time Freddie Burns put the kick wide.

A ruck offence gave Cuthbert another penalty chance and he bounced the 48 yard kick over via the cross bar to extend the lead.

For much of the half that was all the scoring as the ball spent much of the time in the air and both sides struggled to build or maintain any pressure in the opposition 22.

Gloucester held a slight edge up front but the giant boot of Cuthbert was able to keep them at arms length.

However that forward power was to give Gloucester the game’s first try just before half-time, following a penalty kick for a lineout on the Edinburgh 22.

Gloucester went for the drive, after a slow start to set their forwards they started rolling forward and in the end were virtually sprinting towards the try line. Edinburgh collapsed the maul with inches to spare, but Poite immediately headed for the posts to award the penalty try. It was a fairly obvious decision.

There was just enough time for Cuthbert to add another 40 yard penalty on the stroke of half-time and Edinburgh headed into the dressing rooms with a slender 9-7 lead.

Gloucester scrum power brought a penalty at the start of the second half, converted by Burns, but that stung Edinburgh into their most consistent period of the game.

The awareness of scrum half Grayson Hart meant he saw space behind the home defence and only an unlucky bounce of the ball prevented right wing Dougie Fife regathering for a try.

However slick passing gave Brown a bit of space on the left and as the ball came back across centre Ben Atiga picked a good, straight line and was able to force his way over beside the posts for the visitors’ first try and also his first try for the capital city. Cuthbert added the simple conversion.

A sliced high kick in midfield encouraged the Gloucester players to encroach which brought another 40 plus yard penalty for Cuthbert, but for once he was wide with the attempt.

Worse to follow for Edinburgh with another scrum penalty, this time Poite lost patience and added insult to injury by yellow carding tighthead Wilhelm Nel.

Gloucester piled on the pressure across the face of the try line, but the Edinburgh defence forced them to keep crabbing sideways rather than forwards and eventually a penalty allowed the visitors to clear their line.

Edinburgh maintained that strong defence all the time while they were reduced to 14 men, it was not pretty but it was certainly effective.

No sooner was Nel back on the pitch and it was Gloucester’s turn to be down to 14 men with No 8 Ben Morgan seeing yellow for killing the ball in the ruck.

Cuthbert went for goal in the worsening conditions and his mis-hit was one of the worst penalty attempts ever seen, never getting above waist height, but the surprise value brought a knock on.

Edinburgh sustained the pressure, eating up the clock while pushing for the match-winning try, but eventually Nel forced his way over. The decision went to the TMO who gave a knock-on to Gloucester, however Edinburgh held out comfortably enough in the final seconds.

Gloucester : R Cook; M Thomas, H Trinder, B Twelvetrees, J May; F Burns, T Knoyle; Y Thomas, D Dawidiuk, S Knight, E Stooke, J Hudson, S Kalamafoni, M Kvesic, B Morgan.

Replacements : H Edmonds, D Murphy for Y Thomas, S Puafisi for Knight 45, T Hicks for Kalamafoni 68, M Cox for Kvesic 64, D Robson for Knoyle 48, M Tindall for Burns 24-31 and for Trinder 59, C Sharples for M Thomas 64.

Edinburgh : J Cuthbert; D Fife, J Dominguez, B Atiga, T Brown; G Tonks, G Hart; L Blaauw, R Ford (capt), WP Nel, G Gilchrist, I van der Westhuizen, T Leonardi, R Grant, C Du Preez.

Replacements : A Lutui, A Dickinson for Blaauw 45, G Cross, O Atkins for Westhuizen 48, R Rennie for Leonardi 70, S Hidalgo-Clyne, L Jones, S Kennedy.

Referee: Romain Poite (France).

Attendance: 10,975.

 

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