Leinster 21-13 Edinburgh: Jason Tovey's fine efforts in vain
Tovey kicked two first-half penalties and ran in a fine intercept try, but Edinburgh failed to score after the restart and failed to even earn a losing bonus point for their considerable efforts.
Without doubt Richard Cockerill would have been thrilled with the start his side made, and the shining light was Sevens talent James Johnstone, who was making his first start of the season. The centre fired into a hole in the Leinster defensive line after four minutes to put his side on the front foot, which eventually drew a high tackle penalty and Tovey made it 3-0.
Johnstone was also in the thick of the break that led to Edinburgh’s second penalty of the night, which forced Leinster to break the offside line in the 11th minute and Tovey made no mistake from the left to double their lead.
It was almost the perfect start to the game from Edinburgh, but they were unfortunate to fall behind a minute later. Leinster earned a penalty when Dave Kearney and Dougie Fife clashed in the air, and Johnny Sexton pushed his side into the corner. From the lineout Leinster set a strong maul, and after Sean Cronin was stopped just short, Jordi Murphy barged over from less than a yard. Sexton’s conversion made it 7-5.
But on the half-hour mark it was Sexton’s error that handed Edinburgh their first try of the game. The Ireland stand-off fired a flat pass towards Cronin, but Tovey was quick to read the play and after he picked off the pass he showed great speed to out-run Kearney from his own half to score. His conversion gave Edinburgh a 13-7 lead, which was the least their enterprising play deserved. Leinster managed to regain the lead at half-time when Joey Carbery danced over in the right corner and Sexton slotted a brilliant conversion for a 14-13 interval advantage.
Only a last-gasp Tom Brown tackle denied Scott Fardy a try for Leinster late in the first half, but the winger managed to dislodge the ball as the Australian international tried to score. Three minutes after the break Jack McGrath was guilty of sloppy handling too when he stretched for the line.
Leinster kept pummelling the Edinburgh line though, but a super ‘jackal’ from Hamish Watson eased the pressure after 46 minutes, however a needless yellow card for Jamie Ritchie following his late hit on Luke McGrath put Edinburgh on the hind foot once more.
Edinburgh didn’t concede while down to 14 men though, and Sexton turned down a simple kick at goal, and they almost took the lead but Fife had a try disallowed when John Hardie checked a Leinster defender in the build-up.
And six minutes from time Leinster made sure of the win when Jamison Gibson Park hoovered up a poor clearance kick from Blair Kinghorn to score in the corner.