European Challenge Cup: Edinburgh 36-35 Harlequins
|European Challenge Cup Pool 5|
|Edinburgh (31): 36|
|Tries: Dell, Kinghorn, Manu, Watson, Hoyland, Brown Cons: Tovey 3 Yellow cards: Tovey, Gilchrist|
|Harlequins (14): 35|
|Tries: Walker, Penalty Try 2, Sinckler, Luamanu Cons: Evans 5 Yellow cards: Walker, Marler|
Edinburgh edged Harlequins in an 11-try thriller at Murrayfield.
The hosts led 31-14 at the break after running in five tries through Allan Dell, Blair Kinghorn, Nasi Manu, Hamish Watson and Damien Hoyland; Quins responded with a Charlie Walker score and a penalty try.
Then Kyle Sinckler's five-pointer, another penalty try and Mat Luamanu's score looked to have snatched victory.
But Tom Brown crossed late on to seal the win for Edinburgh.
The result means Edinburgh top Challenge Cup Pool 5 after back-to-back bonus-point wins.
The Hodge effect
For the longest time Edinburgh have been criticised for their prescriptive, forward-dominated - some would say dull - brand of rugby. The poor relations to the swashbuckling stars of Glasgow Warriors.
They look reborn as an attacking force under new acting head coach Duncan Hodge. The creative players have had the straightjackets removed and look emboldened to try and play imaginative, and at times even high-risk, rugby.
Five first-half tries was not an unjust reward for the attacking intent they displayed. Hodge has been hammering home the message that his players must make things happen, as opposed to merely waiting and hoping for mistakes from their opponents.
They certainly made things happen here, with some of the tries - those of Manu and Watson in particular - beautifully crafted.
15 tries in two European Challenge Cup matches means perhaps the 'Boring Edinburgh' tag should be consigned to history.
The wing was terrific. His fleetness of foot and electric pace posed Harlequins all sorts of problems.
His assist for Manu's try was a thing of beauty. Tearing away from the defence up the right touchline, Hoyland kicked ahead, gathered and popped a perfect pass out the tackle for the number eight to simply fall over the line.
The former Melrose man was at it again shortly after, his break leading to Watson notching number four for Edinburgh.
Hoyland grabbed the fifth, pouncing on a loose ball to scamper home under the posts from 70 yards, and when his team desperately needed some inspiration, his lofted kick teed-up Brown to cross for the all-important winner seven minutes from time.
Streetwise Quins just fall short
Harlequins made plain their intentions inside five minutes when they passed up a kickable penalty to go to the corner, and were rewarded moments later when Walker dived over for the opening score.
Edinburgh's pack has been at the very heart of their game-plan in recent years, but they were targeted by the English side up-front and when Quins put the squeeze on they often allowed their discipline to lapse.
Two penalty tries conceded tells how the hosts struggled to legally halt the power of the Harlequins' rolling line-out maul.
The visitors pummelled Edinburgh around the fringes, especially after the break, but it speaks volumes for the new-found belief of Hodge's men that they managed to repel last season's beaten finalists.
Edinburgh acting head coach Duncan Hodge: "There was a big crowd today, so hopefully they've been entertained and they've seen what these boys are all about, the character and attitude we showed.
"The first two minutes of the game were a disaster for us. Three or four mistakes in a row, soft try, then to come back and play the way we did for half an hour was unreal. Then the second half, we were all over the place for half an hour with sin-bins and discipline and penalties, and we were getting sucked into drives, then to come back, score another good try and keep them out was just unbelievable.
"The players were magnificent and should be proud of today, but there are still a lot of things to fix."
Edinburgh: Blair Kinghorn, Damien Hoyland, Chris Dean, Phil Burleigh, Tom Brown, Jason Tovey, Sean Kennedy, Rory Sutherland, Ross Ford, WP Nel, Ben Toolis, Grant Gilchrist (captain), Magnus Bradbury, Hamish Watson, Nasi Manu.
Replacements: Stuart McInally. Allan Dell. Felipe Arregui. Fraser McKenzie. Viliame Mata, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, Michael Allen, Glenn Bryce.
Harlequins: Mike Brown, Marland Yarde, Joe Marchant, Jamie Roberts, Charlie Walker, Nick Evans, Karl Dickson, Joe Marler, Rob Buchanan, Kyle Sinckler, Sam Twomey, James Horwill (captain), Chris Robshaw, Luke Wallace, James Chisholm.
Replacements: Joe Gray, Mark Lambert, Will Collier, Charlie Matthews, Mat Luamanu, Danny Care, Tim Swiel, Alofa Alofa.