Challenge Cup: Bordeaux-Begles 13-15 Edinburgh

Edinburgh won a hard-fought game in Bordeaux. Picture: Marc de Tienda
Edinburgh won a hard-fought game in Bordeaux. Picture: Marc de Tienda
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GUTSY Edinburgh last night shrugged off their patchy Pro12 form to snatch one of their greatest wins on the European stage.

Alan Solomons’ injury-ravaged side had gone into battle as clear-cut underdogs against the born-again Bordeaux brigade at Stade Andre-Moga.

However, the hosts – who had rattled up 50 points in each of their last two Top 14 matches – were left stunned by a late penalty try in the Challenge Cup opener.

There had been a home-from-home feeling in the Edinburgh ranks as the Bordeaux Pipe Band provided the musical accompaniment to their pre kick-off warm-up session.

And the visitors made an encouraging start, with scrum-half Sean Kennedy and flanker Hamish Watson looking lively in attack.

There was a scare, however, when skipper Mike Coman was forced off to have treatment for a leg problem.

He was replaced in the back-row by experienced campaigner Roddy Grant, as the hosts began to show their brawn.

Their first rolling maul put Edinburgh on the back foot in their own danger zone, which sparked the partisan fans into action.

And they were quick to vent their anger as referee Neil Hennessy waved play on after a Bordeaux player came flying out of the melee.

Having survived the raid, Watson returned to the limelight with a powerful charge, knocking three markers out of his path.

But the home brigade were soon back on the march and only a last-gasp tackle blocked out Test stand-off Lionel Beauxis.

The frantic end-to-end action continued as a chip towards the line sparked panic in the Bordeaux defence, but they regrouped to clear the immediate threat.

Bordeaux began to exert their strength up front in the build-up to the interval.

There was frustration for the crowd and both sets of forwards, however, as ref Hennessy struggled to keep the front rows in check at scrum-time.

He finally lost his patience in the 38th minute and handed the locals a penalty, which Beauxis calmly slotted over to edge his side in front at the conclusion of a scrappy and disjointed first half.

Beauxis teed up another attempt immediately after the restart, but this time the ball dropped short.

Gunners made the most of the reprieve by creating an unconverted try for Tim Visser.

There were further alarm bells for Bordeaux as centre Sam Beard embarked on a charge but, not only did they snuff out the attack, they bagged a touchdown at the other end. Skipper and scrum-half Baptiste Serin was the man who darted over, with Beauxis adding the extras.

The hosts maintained the momentum and another superb challenge by Watson prevented another score.

Beauxis banged over another penalty, though Tom Heathcote followed suit at the other end to keep alive the Edinburgh hopes.

And the tension level rocketed when Hennessy awarded the decisive penalty try for illegal interference of a maul close to the line.

Heathcote made it a seven-pointer – and it proved enough.

Scorers: Bordeaux-Begles: Try: Serin. Con: Beauxis. Pen: Beauxis 2. Edinburgh: Try: Visser, pen try. Con: Heathcote. Pen: Heathcote.

Bordeaux-Begles: D Domvo; C Brousse, F Le Bourhis, T Lacroix, L Blanc; L Beauxis, B Serin (capt); L Del Boulbes, B Auzqui, B Sa, B Botha, A Jaulhac, M Graham, B Guiry, T Tuifua. Subs: C Maynadier, S Taofifenua, P Toetu, M Tauleighne, J-B Lespinasse, Y Lesgourges, P Bernard.

Edinburgh: G Tonks; D Fife, S Beard, A Strauss, T Visser; P Burleigh, S Kennedy; A Dickinson, R Ford, W Nel, A Bresler, G Gilchrist, T Leonardi. H Watson, M Coman (capt). Subs: J Hilterbrand, A Dell, J Andress, O Atkins, R Grant, S Hidalgo-Clyne, T Heathcote, N McLennan.