Edinburgh dig deep to beat Bath and set up quarter-final with Wasps

Edinburgh joined Glasgow Warriors in the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup with a hard-fought victory over Bath in a game that saw the lead change hands six times.

Edinburgh's Blair Kinghorn scored a superb first half try. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)
Edinburgh's Blair Kinghorn scored a superb first half try. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

Mike Blair’s side pulled away in the end to win 41-19 and their reward is a home tie against Wasps on the weekend of May 6-8.

It is the first time in seven years that Edinburgh have won a knockout tie and the result was founded on hard graft up front - with Pierre Schoeman particularly impressive - and another accomplished stand-off performance from Blair Kinghorn.

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They scored six tries, through Emiliano Boffelli (2), Kinghorn, Schoeman, Mark Bennett and Connor Boyle.

Edinburgh have been used to getting it their own way at their new home but Bath are the sort of visitors who don’t stand on ceremony. They were ahead after a minute and 42 seconds, Underhill stretching out a long left arm from a ruck after beginning the move with a surging run. Orlando Bailey converted but then missed the chance to stretch Bath’s lead when his penalty attempt went wide.

It was the wake-up call Edinburgh needed and they responded with a try from Boffelli, made by Kinghorn. James Lang slung the ball back to the stand-off whose run and dummy created a three on one overlap, giving Boffelli the easy run in. The Argentine winger’s conversion attempt drifted wide of the upright but he edged Edinburgh 8-7 ahead with a penalty 13 minutes later.

The lead didn’t last for long as Bath moved in front in bizarre circumstances. Bailey, who’d left his kicking boots in the West Country, hit the post with a simple penalty but Edinburgh failed to deal with the rebound. They appeared to be in control on their own line, but dithered with the ball at the base of the ruck. Underhill nipped in and grounded it and, as the ball was over the tryline, there was no offside.

French referee Ludovic Cayre consulted with the TMO before awarding the score, much to the consternation of the home fans who responded with a chorus of boos. Bailey missed the easy conversion.

Edinburgh prop Pierre Schoeman points before diving over for a try in the second half against Bath. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

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It was a poor try to lose but Edinburgh produced something special in response, Lang once again stepping in as first receiver before playing the slingback pass to Kinghorn who didn’t need any help this time as he sliced his way through. Boffell’s conversion put the home side 15-12 up but in a game of ebb and flow it was Bath who would go in ahead at the break.

As their big men tried to force their way over from close range, scrum-half Ben Spencer spotted a gap, dummied and dived over. Spencer took over kicking duties from Bailey and converted his own try to make it 19-15 to the visitors at half-time.

It was developing into an almighty battle and Ben Muncaster was rising to the occasion, winning a mighty turnover to roars of approvals from team-mates and supporters alike.

Emiliano Boffelli scores a second half try in Edinburgh's 41-19 win over Bath. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

Schoeman was also up for the battle and embarked on two bulldozing runs which took Edinburgh to the Bath line. Marshall Sykes looked like he was going to go over but was held up. Schoeman wasn’t going to accept that and powered his way over for the try, with Boffelli’s conversion making it 22-19 for Edinburgh.

The lead had changed hands six times and there was a sense that the next score would be key. To the relief of the noisy home crowd it went Edinburgh’s way, Boffelli notching his second try of the evening after Kinghorn’s bouncing pass had been shipped on by Jaco van der Walt. Boffelli converted.

Edinburgh’s tails were up and they made sure of the victory four minutes later when Bennett held off three Bath players to ground the ball after taking the miss pass form Kinghorn.

Boyle added the icing on the cake with Edinburgh’s sixth try in the dying minutes.

Scorers: Edinburgh: Tries: Boffelli 2, Kinghorn, Schoeman, Bennett, Boyle. Cons: Boffelli 4. Pen: Boffelli.

Bath: Tries: Underhill 2, Spencer. Cons: Bailey, Spencer.

Edinburgh: H Immelman (J van der Walt 54); R Moyano, M Bennett, J Lang (C Hutchison 67), E Boffelli; B Kinghorn, B Vellacott (H Pyrgos 65); P Schoeman (H Courtney 68), S McInally (A McBurney 77), L-R Atalifo (A Williams 54), M Sykes (G Young 62), G Gilchrist, B Muncaster, H Watson (C Boyle 65), M Bradbury.

Bath: T de Glanville (D Cipriani 73); S Rokoduguni, J Joseph, M Clark , J Cokanasiga (W Butt 62); O Bailey, B Spencer (J Simpson 74); V Morozov (A Cordwell 72), T Dunn (J du Toit 72), W Stuart (D Rae 72), W Spencer (M Williams 50), C Ewels (c), J Bayliss, S Underhill (E Richards 73), T Faletau.

Referee: Ludovic Cayre (France)

Attendance: 5,071

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