Edinburgh Secure Bonus Point Champions Cup Win with Convincing Performance Against Toulon
Edinburgh claimed a hard fought-for win against Toulon at BT Murrayfield today. The home side came out on top, winning 40-14, and securing the bonus point to give them their first Champions Cup win this season.
Edinburgh secured a home Champions Cup win, beating Toulon 40-14 at BT Murrayfield (Photo: Edinburgh Rugby twitter)
If the first 15 minutes of Edinburgh’s Champions Cup clash with Toulon was anything to go by, then the BT Murrayfield faithful were in for a hard-hitting and intense affair. The performance was to such a standard that Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill, speaking after the match, said: “I think it’s the best all round performance we’ve had.”
It was prop WP Nel that made the break which proved most fruitful for Edinburgh. It put the home side within five metres of the line, and after a couple of phases it looked as though a navy shirt was across the line.
Referee JP Doyle chose to consult his TMO David Grashoff for confirmation, and it was eventually given, and Ben Toolis – who had gathered from Stuart McInally just on the line – was named as the try scorer.
Not ten minutes later, the scrum proved slightly contentious as it was reset a couple of times before Toulon were eventually awarded the penalty. The result was the visitors scoring their first try of the match, and the French club’s faithful fans made their presence known as Toulon flags waved across the stands.
Cockerill’s men made their intentions in this match perfectly clear, as they went straight back on the attack from the restart. Kinghorn made a scintillating break, with Scott in support putting them clear of the Toulon line. A short offload to Pyrgos, and the scrum half ran over for a second Edinburgh try, as Van der Walt once again added the extras.
A break in play, and some replayed footage on the big screen, caused boos to ring around the stadium as the replay showed Toulon lock Juandre Kruger with a late hit on an out of possession Henry Pyrgos.
It didn’t look too malicious however, and as Van der Walt was already lining up a penalty kick for the sticks, the move went unpunished by referee Doyle.
Despite a valiant attempt, Kinghorn’s juggling skills didn’t prove to be up to scratch as he tried to catch a Fife offload. His knock on gave Toulon the put-in at the scrum just outside the Edinburgh 22. The French were penalised at the breakdown however, and so a roar resonated around Murrayfield as Van der Walt kicked into touch for the lineout.
The home side showed no signs of tiring at the end of the 40 minutes. They continued to batter away at the Toulon line just five metres out – hungry for another score before heading back to the changing rooms.
They got one. Though they had to settle for it being a penalty, courtesy of Van der Walt as referee Doyle chose to stop the phases and return to an earlier penalty for which he had allowed advantage to be played.
And so, the teams ran in at half-time with Edinburgh leading the French side 26-7.
Neither side seemed to have taken their foot off the intensity as the game entered its second forty. Edinburgh proved patient with their recycling of the ball, and it paid off as Stuart McInally went over for the first points of the second half.
An injury worry loomed though, as Magnus Bradbury had gone down during the phase of play which lead to the score. Medical personal helped the young forward – who was just named in Gregor Townsend’s Scotland autumn internationals squad – from the field.
Cockerill later confirmed that Bradbury had landed on his shoulder, however, the full extent of the injury is not yet known.
Edinburgh seemed to lose their composure slightly just after 50 minutes, as the threat of Toulon loomed in their 22. The visitors were awarded a lineout, but the ever-sneaky fingers of Gilchrist managed to steal the ball for the hosts.
They were unable to keep possession, and the visitors took the ball well from the scrum, once again trying to break their way through Edinburgh’s defence.
Their chip-kick over the defence went too long though, and Kinghorn was able to recover it and tap it down over the line, taking his side out of danger.
It was nervous times for Edinburgh on 65 minutes gone as Toulon looked sure to score – not on Simon Berghan’s watch. The prop bulldozed Toulon back Julian Savea out of bounds, and so thwarted the visitors’ chances.
What followed was a contentious period of play in which possession bobbled between the sides, and small infringements were committed. It was Toulon that saw the points however, as Daniel Ikpefan made a break down the wing and Edinburgh’s defence seemed somewhat clueless as to the how to prevent the threat.
Chris Dean cured the sore hearts of all Edinburgh fans as he intercepted a Toulon pass on the visitors’ line, and lunged across the whitewash. With Hickey’s conversion, Edinburgh seemed to have taken themselves out of Toulon’s reach with five minutes left to play.
Toulon – right on 80 minutes played – took one last knock at Edinburgh’s defensive set up, but to no avail. Kinghorn kicked the ball high into the stands, as the final score board read 40-14, and the home side could breathe easy. The job was done.
Speaking after the match, Cockerill expressed his feelings that Edinburgh must work on their psychology to realise that they can win games like this.
He said: “We have to understand that as an Edinburgh team, and as Scottish players, that we’re as good as these players if we believe in ourselves. We train hard, and we work hard. If you work hard, good things happen – and we worked bloody hard.
“I want the players to understand that if we work really hard then days like this – and the feeling they have in the changing room now around the achievement of what they’ve done today – it’s special. You can’t buy that, you have to earn that.”
He concluded: “We have to keep building on that – but it is just one game.”
Judging by the performances put in by his players today – Cockerill’s men are determined to ensure that games like this are not unique commodities.
Edinburgh Rugby: B Kinghorn, D Graham, J Johnstone, M Scott, D Fife, J Van der Walt, H Pyrgos; A Dell, S McInally (c), WP Nel, B Toolis, G Gilchrist, M Bradbury, H Watson, V Mata. Subs: R Ford, R Sutherland, S Berghan, L Crosbie, J Ritchie, N Fowles, S Hickey, C Dean.
Toulon: H Bonneval, J Tuisova, M Fekitoa, M Bastareaud (c), J Savea, A Belleau, A Meric; F Fresia, A Etrillard, S Taofifenua, J Kruger, R Taofifenua, S Rebbadj, R Lakafia, F Vanverberghe. Subs: B Soury, X Chiocci, E Setiano, J Potgieter, D Ikpefan, F Trinh-Duc, E Escande, R Gahetau.
Tries: Toolis, Pyrgos, McInally, Dean
Conversions: Van der Walt 3, Hickey
Penalties: Van der Walt 4
Tries: Taofifenua, Ikpefan
Conversions: Belleau, Trinh-Duc
Scoring sequence (Edinburgh first): (3-0), (8-0), (10-0), (10-5), (10-7), (15-7), (17-7), (20-7), (23-7), (26-7) HT (31-7), (33-7), (33-12), (33-14), (38-14), (40-14) FT.
Referee: JP Doyle
Man of the Match: Viliame Mata