Leinster's Kevin McLaughlin (centre) runs at the Edinburgh defence during the Magners League match at Murrayfield, Edinburgh.
Photo by: PA Wire/PA Photos
Leinster conceded further ground to Munster in the Magners League after three first half tries were enough to give Edinburgh a 27-16 win over Michael Cheika’s under-strength side at Murrayfield on Friday night.
Cheika made 12 changes from the side that scored a famous Heineken Cup quarter-final win over Harlequins on Sunday and his troops were disjointed and out of sorts in the first 40 minutes.
A try from Aidan Fogarty after 58 minutes brought the Irish province within eight points, but Chris Paterson knocked over a penalty four minutes later to stem any thoughts of a dramatic Leinster comeback.
Edinburgh move into third place in the Magners League table, but missed out on a bonus point. Leinster’s reign as Magners League champions is as good as over as Munster, who face Connacht on Saturday night, could wrap up the title as early as next week when they play The Scarlets.
Edinburgh opened the scoring after just 12 minutes, when Allister Hogg trundled over for a try and Paterson added the conversion to make it 7-0.
It was to get worse nine minutes later when a loose kick saw hooker Ross Ford pick up a loose ball on the right wing and feed speedster John Houston, who raced clear of the defense to score a fine try.
Leinster were in disarray, conceding possession and showing little physicality up front. Inevitably, Edinburgh snaffled another try just five minutes later.
Mike Blair, outstanding on the night, made a clever run in behind the Leinster cover and fed winger Simon Webster, who sauntered in under the posts for his 28th Magners League try, leaving his side 21-0 ahead.
Leinster gradually came back into the game and Fergus McFadden knocked over a timely penalty just shy of the break to leave them trailing 21-3 at the interval.
McFadden added two more penalties after the break before Fogarty broke from the base of a ruck in the 58th minute, powered low past Jim Hamilton and crashed over the line for a fine try, leaving just seven points between the sides.
However, the comeback failed to materialize and Edinburgh held out for the win that moves them up to third spot in the table.
Edinburgh: Chris Paterson; John Houston, Ben Cairns, Nick De Luca, Simon Webster; Phil Godman, Mike Blair (capt); Kyle Traynor, Ross Ford, Geoff Cross; Craig Hamilton, Jim Hamilton; Scott Newlands, Alan MacDonald, Allister Hogg.
Leinster: Girvan Dempsey; Shane Horgan, Fergus McFadden, Gordon D'Arcy, Simon Keogh; Isa Nacewa, Chris Keane; Ronan McCormack, John Fogarty, Stephen Knoop; Leo Cullen (capt), Trevor Hogan; Cameron Jowitt, Sean O'Brien, Stephen Keogh.