DCSIMG

Try-deprived Edinburgh are overturned 15-3 in a far cry from last season’s Racing heroics

Edinburgh's Netani Talei is tackled by the Racing duo of Karim Ghezal and Bernard Le Roux. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Edinburgh's Netani Talei is tackled by the Racing duo of Karim Ghezal and Bernard Le Roux. Picture: Ian Rutherford

  • by BILL LOTHIAN
 

From the sensationally sublime to the simply shocking, what a difference a year makes in Murrayfield encounters between Edinburgh Rugby and Racing Metro.

On the previous occasion these teams met in a Heineken European Cup tie at the Capital stadium, tries rained down in a 48-47 home win, whereas last night neither really threatened the opposition line and what unfolded was a stodgy mess which fluctuated between mediocre and dire before the visitors ran out 15-3 winners.

The defeat leaves Edinburgh rock bottom of the group, with no points from four matches as Racing won back to back 
games in Europe’s elite for the first time in their history.

Edinburgh coach Michael Bradley said: “We were not playing for muc,h except for the fact we were in front of our home fans and didn’t have a point in the competition yet.

“We wanted full commitment for the 8o minutes and we should have been able to take them. We did well enough last week, we had chances and didn’t take them.

“Some of our management of the game, particularly in the early part of the first half, wasn’t good, and it was the type of game where conditions meant you had to play in the right areas and take your kicks which we were not able to do.

“It looked like a poor game with plenty of handling mistakes. In conditions like that, the key is you play in right areas.

“We needed to manage the game better than we did. It would have been great even to get half the kicks at goal to put a little bit of pressure on them later on.

“The effort was fantastic, in particular the pack. They made their tackles and carried the ball. In defence there was some great offensive tackles. All these things will be factored intoselection nexct week.

“The way we managed the position on the pitch was not at the level where we win games. We have to move on from that.”

To an Edinburgh crowd weaned on the metronomic boots of Chris Paterson and latterly Greig Laidlaw, even the goal kicking was abysmal, with newcomer Piers Francis missing four of his first five attempts.

That was sufficient to cause Edinburgh captain Roddy Grant to switch the responsibility to Greg Tonks who fared no better with his initial attempt, which at least preceded by some old fashioned argy-bargy to finally rouse the crowd, especially as visiting prop Eddy Ben Arous was to head for the sin-bin moments after Netani Talei had made the same journey for a late tackle on Olly Barkley.

Such uproar might have suggested a real edge; not a bit of it and there wasn’t a touchdown in sight.

Unable to find any early rhythm, Edinburgh found themselves six points adrift in as many minutes.

Firstly an obstruction saw Racing stand off Olly Barkley fire over a 45-metre penalty from straight in front of the posts.

Then, after Edinburgh were adjudged to have collapsed a scrum, full back Gaetan Germain doubled the advantage from a wider angle.

The swirling wind and constant drizzle saw the visitors repeatedly test Edinburgh with aerial bombardment and while Tonks and Talei in particular stepped up to that challenge, the hosts were spending too much time in their own half.

Pressure was eased with a penalty chance, but Piers Francis was wide and short from long range.

There was, though, a bit of fire about the Edinburgh pack, exemplified by McInally throwing a few admittedly facile punches, and gradually the home side began to settle.

However, Francis was wide with a penalty from the opposite side of the pitch in 21 minutes after standing over the ball for what seemed an eternity.

The tardiness provoked some frustration in the crowd, but there were no complaints seven minutes later when Francis opened Edinburgh’s account from a similar angle.

Inspired by that success, Ross Ford burst up the touchline off a line-out riccochet and when Racing broke up the move illegally, Francis had a chance to equalise but shot wide.

At least Edinburgh had started to ask the questions and for the second time Francis set up field position inside the French “22”, but a handling error undid plenty of good work and there was a let off when Barkley missed a penalty in the lead up to half time,

Before Edinburgh could regain composure Dougie Fife had to look lively to cover a kick through from Imhoff. Racing restarted where they left off with a penalty miss by Germain and celebrating their escape, Edinburgh moved upfield but another penalty from Francis fell short.

When Grant Gilchrist flicked a pass into the arms of McInally, the chance of an eagerly-awaited try briefly flickered, but once again Edinburgh turned over possession and the powerful boot of Germain had them deep in their own half.

Worse was to follow when Talei found himself sin-binned for a late tackle on Barkley in 53 minutes and from 45 metres Germain stretched the lead to 9-3.

Ructions at the other end saw Ben Arous yellow carded for clambering into a ruck and after Tonks missed the penalty Germain showed how by making it 12-3 in 63 minutes.

If anything could lift Edinburgh it had to be a numerical advantage; instead Racing struck again through Germain and compounding the miseries the restart kick went straight into touch.

With eight minutes remaining there was a last something resembing a home attack but the otherwise decent Gilchrist knocked on and that was the cue for many in the crowd of 4598 to begin taking their leave.

Scorers

Edinburgh: Pens: Francis

Racing: Pens: Germain (4), Barkley

Edinburgh: Tonks, Jones, Cairns, Atiga, Fife, Francis, Leck, Talei, Grant, McInally,Gilchrist, McAlpine, Cross, Ford, Yapp. Replacements: Titterrell, Jacobsen, Nel, Parker, Basilaia, Rees, Hunter, Visser.

Racing: Germain, Bobo, Bousses, Dumoulin, Imhoff, Barkley,Descons, Cronje, Le Roux, Batut, van der Merwe, Ghezal, Ducalcon, Szarzewski, Ben Arous.Replacements: Bianchin, Brugnaut, Orlandi, Nailiko, Belie, Hernandez, 
Estebanez, Galindo.

Referee: D Phillips

Attendance: 4598

 

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