Edinburgh call for response after Leinster loss as Ben Healy makes big impression - 'we love him'

Gilchrist wants swift URC response when Connacht come to town next weekend
Leinster's Max Deegan and Grant Gilchrist of Edinburgh clash during the URC match.Leinster's Max Deegan and Grant Gilchrist of Edinburgh clash during the URC match.
Leinster's Max Deegan and Grant Gilchrist of Edinburgh clash during the URC match.

Edinburgh captain Grant Gilchrist is looking for a big response when they host URC leaders Connacht next weekend after their winning start to the season came to an end at the RDS on Saturday.

He said they need to bounce back after an ill-disciplined display proved costly and left them unable to deal with an understrength Leinster side as their quest for a first win in Dublin since 2005 goes on. Now Gilchrist said they need to take the learnings from this loss and direct their focus on table-toppers Connacht who come to Edinburgh next Saturday on the back of three wins on the spin.

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“Connacht are a strong team. We lost heavily to them last season over there, so we know how good they are and we owe them one as well,” said Gilchrist. “They gave us a dusting last year, so they’re coming to our place and we’ve got to respond. We've got to take the good parts of tonight and add a lot more discipline, and a lot more accuracy. We’ll be really gunning for next weekend.

“All the boys love coming back to Edinburgh from the World Cup squad and we’ve reintegrated well. It’s just about building those partnerships again, building the cohesion as a team. The more we play, the more that will come. Hopefully that will bring with it that full performance that we’re after.”

Gilchrist said that Ben Healy, back in Ireland for his first match since his summer move from Munster, has settled in well in Scotland and has a lot to offer to Edinburgh and Gregor Townsend’s side. “We love Ben,” said Gilchrist. “He’s a good lad. Got to know him really well in the Scotland squad. He has added a lot at international level and just really excited about what he’s going to bring to this Edinburgh team over not just the short-term future, but the long future at this club. I think he can be a real key man for us this year. We’re loving having him here.”

Leinster led 21-6 at the break after recovering from a poor start but Edinburgh, on top in the scrum, lacked precision to make possession count. In contrast, the home team displayed greater accuracy and never looked back once hooker Lee Barron got over at the end of the opening quarter. They added two more before the break while Edinburgh lock Glen Young was in the bin with Max Deegan and full-back Ciaran Frawley scoring.

Leinster wrapped up the bonus point after 52 minutes when Barron supplied the decisive pass for Tommy O’Brien to race down the right and cut in to score under the posts, with Byrne’s conversion making it 28-6. Edinburgh hit back within a minute when replacement James Lang got over after good work from Blair Kinghorn and Shiel, with Healy’s convert reducing the margin to 28-11.

But it was Leinster who struck again when No 8 James Culhane got his first try after a good drive from a lineout in the left corner after 58 minutes, although Edinburgh got a lifeline 13 minutes from time when Connor Boyle finished off a lineout in the left corner.

Edinburgh set up a tight finish when Boan Venter managed to ground the ball after Charlie Shiel was stopped short, with Healy continuing his flawless kicking to get within nine but they never looked like a fourth try or a bonus point.

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