Pro12: Edinburgh 24-20 Newport Gwent Dragons

By Tom EnglishBBC Scotland at Myreside
Pro12 highlights: Edinburgh 24-20 Newport Gwent Dragons
Pro12: Edinburgh v NG Dragons
Edinburgh (3) 24
Tries: Kinghorn, Hoyland, Gilchrist Cons: Tovey 3 Pen: Tovey
Dragons (10) 20
Tries: Howard, Meyer Cons: O'Brien 2 Pens: O'Brien 2

A dramatic late comeback saw Edinburgh snatch victory from the jaws of a potential 10th straight defeat to deny Newport Gwent Dragons at Myreside.

The visitors built a 20-3 lead with 10 minutes left after tries from Pat Howard and Carl Meyer and two penalties from Angus O'Brien.

Edinburgh's Blair Kinghorn had a try disallowed for an Allan Dell offence but crossed with seven minutes left.

Damian Hoyland added a second before Grant Gilchrist plunged over late on.

Referee Dan Jones referred the try to the television match official, but it was belatedly confirmed to end a wretched run stretching back to Edinburgh's only other victory since moving to Myreside - against Romanian minnows Timisoara Saracens in the European Challenge Cup back in January.

For the Dragons, it was an agonising finale as they slipped to an eighth straight Pro12 defeat, and 11th in a row in all competitions.

Edinburgh had made a bright start, going ahead with an early penalty from Jason Tovey and dominating possession and territory, not that they could do anything with the ball they had.

For the first 20 minutes they had 70% of the ball against one of the Pro12's worst defences, a side that conceded six penalties in the opening quarter and who had not won a match away from home in a year. The Dragons had lost 18 in a row on the road before coming to Myreside.

Edinburgh, once again, proved the most obliging of hosts. They created some good opportunities but did not have the wit to break the Dragons down. Edinburgh had not won in nine games and the Dragons had not won in 10. The opening half-hour reflected that. It was wretched stuff.

Edinburgh captain Grant Gilchrist (centre) Edinburgh captain Grant Gilchrist (centre
Edinburgh captain Grant Gilchrist (centre) receives the congratulations for his late winning try

The Dragons had more about them, though. When Tovey and Glenn Bryce collided trying to gather the same ball, the visitors went downfield and eventually scored when Howard went through weak Edinburgh defence. O'Brien put over a fine conversion to make 7-3 to the Welsh side.

The Dragons are living in troubling times but O'Brien boomed over a penalty just before the break to stretch their lead to seven points. Edinburgh's ownership of the ball had long gone at that point. What few attacks they mustered, the Dragons dealt with comfortably.

The visitors struck out again. A drive into the Edinburgh 22 by Nic Cudd was the beginning of it, then Junior Rasolea shot out of the line into no-man's land and the Dragons took advantage. Sam Beard put Meyer away and O'Brien lashed over the conversion.

Edinburgh's capacity to load the gun and empty both barrels into their own feet was seen again when they looked to have scored through replacement Kinghorn just after the hour. No. Instead, the try was ruled out, correctly, for a Dell shoulder-charge on Meyer, who was competing for the ball at the pivotal breakdown. No points and no Edinburgh loose-head prop either. Dell was binned.

O'Brien's unerring boot landed another penalty to make it 20-3, but it did not last. Charlie Davies, the Dragons scrum-half, was binned and Kinghorn crashed over just after. Tovey's conversion made it 20-10.

Edinburgh wing Damian Hoyland is denied a try
Edinburgh wing Damian Hoyland was denied an earlier try but crossed with two minutes left

Edinburgh drove on. They had life about them at last. Six minutes after scoring their first try, they scored again, Hoyland taking Tovey's lovely inside pass and going over at the posts. The conversion was good and, suddenly, its was a three-point game at 20-17.

Only a couple of minutes remained and things got utterly frenetic. Cudd was binned as Edinburgh went for broke. They won a penalty under the Dragons posts, tapped it in search for a try instead of kicking it for a draw. Gilchrist ploughed over in a dramatic endgame.

Tovey's conversion completed a remarkable comeback - from 20-3 down after 70 minutes to 24-20 at the end. Not pretty, but remarkable all the same.

Edinburgh interim head coach Duncan Hodge: "It is fantastic. The first four league games here we have lost by a score, so it is nice to win one by a score.

"We started brightly but couldn't quite score, made a couple of mistakes and then we nose-dived. We just needed a bit of a shot in the arm to give us confidence and as soon as we scored, we scored three in 10 minutes.

"We probably worked harder in that last 15 minutes than we had for most of the game, and that is what we will take from this. We had to work that hard for the whole game.

"Some of the intensity wasn't there for most of the game. It was there for 20 minutes and then it nose-dived until the final 15 minutes. To be honest we were probably a bit desperate at the end.

"It's probably not been easy for our fans to watch but it is great to get the win in front of them at Myreside. Hopefully that will give us some confidence for next season and we can have a real crack at Glasgow next week now."


Edinburgh: Glenn Bryce; Damien Hoyland, Chris Dean, Junior Rasolea, Rory Scholes, Jason Tovey, Nathan Fowles; Allan Dell, George Turner, Simon Berghan, Grant Gilchrist (capt), Ben Toolis, Viliame Mata, Hamish Watson, Cornell du Preez.

Replacements: Ross Ford (for Turner, 55), Murray McCallum (for Mata, 68), John Hardie (for Dell, 76), Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (for Fowles, 50), Blair Kinghorn (for Rasolea, 61).

Not Used: Kevin Bryce, Fraser McKenzie, Duncan Weir.

Yellow card: Dell (65)

Newport Gwent Dragons: Carl Meyer; Adam Hughes, Sam Beard, Jack Dixon, Pat Howard, Angus O'Brien; Charlie Davies; Thomas Davies, Thomas Rhys Thomas, Brok Harris, Matthew Screech, Cory Hill, Lewis Evans (capt)), Nic Cudd, Ollie Griffiths.

Replacements: Craig Mitchell (for B. Harris, 66), Rynard Landman (for Screech (66), Harrison Keddie (for Evans, 70), Geraint Rhys Jones (for Meyer, 68).

Not Used: Rhys Buckley, Phil Price, Owain Leonard, Tom Prydie.

Yellow cards: C Davies (72), Cudd (80)

Referee: Dan Jones (Wales)

Assistant referees: Wayne Davies (Wales), Cammy Rudkin (Scotland)

TMO: Jon Mason (Wales)