European Rugby Challenge Cup: Edinburgh 25-17 Lyon

Tom Heathcote tries to escape the clutches of the Lyon players
Tom Heathcote tries to escape the clutches of the Lyon players
Edinburgh (22) 25
Tries: Cuthbert Pens: Heathcote 6 Cons: Heathcote
Lyon (7) 17
Tries: Matadigo, Tison Pens: Porical Cons: Porical, Loree

Edinburgh moved top of Pool Four as they built on their opening European Rugby Challenge Cup with a hard-fought victory over Lyon.

However, new Scotland captain Grant Gilchrist was one of five Edinburgh players injured in the first half.

Jack Cuthbert's try helped the home side establish an early lead and Tom Heathcote knocked over five first-half penalties for a 22-7 lead at the break.

A converted Didier Tison try set up a tense finale but Edinburgh held on.

The Scottish capital side have eight points from their brace of wins against Top 14 sides.

Bordeaux recovered from their loss to Edinburgh by registering a 52-20 win over London Welsh on Thursday evening and now sit on six points, with Lyon third on five and London Welsh still searching for their first points.

Heathcote's 20-point Murrayfield haul was central to the outcome of the match as his kicking ability steadied the ship when his team was losing players at an alarming rate.

Phil Burleigh, Sam Beard, Hamish Watson, Roddy Grant and lock Gilchrist all left the field with injuries within 28 minutes, the latter going to hospital for a scan on his arm.

Even before that, Edinburgh head coach Alan Solomons had to contend with three late injuries prior to kick-off, with wing Dougie Fife, Andries Strauss at centre and prop Alasdair Dickinson dropping out.

Roddy Grant manages to hold on to the ball under pressure from Lyon
Roddy Grant manages to hold on to the ball under pressure from Lyon

Solomons brought in Cuthbert, who had not been listed in the match squad, and promoted Heathcote and Allan Dell from the bench, with Rory Sutherland and Joaquin Dominguez also called up as replacements.

Edinburgh were never behind in the match and the home fans celebrated Cuthbert's fifth-minute try which built on Heathcote's early penalty.

The fly-half knocked over the conversion and scored the second of his six penalties after 11 minutes to make it 13-0.

Masi Matadigo crossed the whitewash and Jerome Porical added the extras as Lyon fought back but Heathcote's trio of penalties ensured a healthy lead at half-time.

Having only three more players on the bench, Edinburgh needed to avoid further injuries.

But the further damage was inflicted on the scoreboard rather than the players as, first, Porical hit home a penalty and then Tison scored a try, with Mathieu Loree converting, to move Lyon to within five points with 19 minutes remaining.

Edinburgh's defence worked hard to guard that lead and Heathcote's last-gasp penalty meant the margin of victory was greater than seven points, thereby denying Lyon a losing bonus point.

Edinburgh: Tonks, Cuthbert, Beard, Burleigh, Visser, Heathcote, Hidalgo-Clyne; Dell, Ford, Nel, Bresler, Gilchrist (capt), Grant, Watson, Leonardi. Replacements: Hilterbrand, Sutherland, Andress, Toolis, Denton, Kennedy, Dominguez, McLennan.

Lyon: Porical, Romanet, Bonnefond, Sukanaveita, Regard, Loursac, Loree; Mavinga, Fitzpatrick, Tui, De Marco, Basson (capt), Puricelli, Derrien, Matadigo. Replacements: Colliat, Felsina, Pungea, Tuineau, Cerqueira, Bau, Tison, Martin.

Attendance: 4,651

Referee: Matthew Carley