European Rugby Champions Cup: Edinburgh 31-13 Newcastle Falcons
|European Rugby Champions Cup: Newcastle v Falcons|
|Edinburgh (10) 31|
|Tries: Watson, Dean, Penalty try, Kinghorn Cons: Van der Walt 4 Pen: Van der Walt|
|Newcastle (13) 13|
|Try: Radwan Con: Connon Pens: Connon 2|
Edinburgh secured a bonus-point win over Newcastle Falcons at Murrayfield to go top of Champions Cup Pool 5.
Hamish Watson and Adam Radwan traded first-half tries as the visitors went in 13-10 up at half-time.
Chris Dean's score, a penalty try and a touchdown from Blair Kinghorn were just reward for Edinburgh's superiority after the break.
Toulon host Montpellier on Saturday in the other pool match, with the reverse fixtures taking place next weekend.
And Montpellier will go above Newcastle into second if they record any sort of win at Stade Mayol.
Edinburgh wrest control from resolute Newcastle
Having won one and lost one of their two matches, Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill said only a win would do here if his side are to make it out of the pool.
Newcastle counterpart Dean Richards appeared to take a different view, having banked two wins from two. He rested several key players, his priority perhaps moving his side off the foot of the Premiership.
On the type of foul evening that might make one consider indoor sports, the opening minutes saw the ball squirting out of hands before fly-half Brett Connon kicked Newcastle into an early lead.
With handling proving so difficult the best option was to stick it up the jumper, and Watson finished off a series off short carries to go over.
What little ball Falcons had they looked dangerous with, and they made a little space on the short side go a long way to suck in the Edinburgh defence and send Radwan scampering over in the corner.
Jaco van der Walt and Connon traded penalties as Newcastle took a three-point lead into the break, but it was the home side who re-emerged with greater purpose.
In similar vein to their first try, Edinburgh chipped away at the Newcastle line until Dean arrived on a short line to steam through from close range to score.
An injury crisis in the build-up depleted Falcons' prop options. The scrum held up well in the first half, but the powerful Edinburgh pack began to take control after the break.
With the Newcastle scrum creaking time and again, referee Marius Mitrea was left with no option but to award a penalty try. At 24-13, for the first time, there was some breathing space for the home side.
Still the visitors would not relent. Radwan set off on an exhilarating individual run from his own half that would have resulted in a try of the season contender but for a brilliant cover tackle from Dave Cherry.
Bill Mata, the towering Fijian number eight, had been well marshalled by the Newcastle defence, but one moment of class illustrated his importance. A stunning offload set Darcy Graham free and his kick ahead was gathered by Kinghorn to score.
Victory - for the first time in five European matches against Falcons - and bonus point sealed for Edinburgh.
Edinburgh: Kinghorn; Graham, Johnstone, Dean, Van der Merwe; Van der Walt, Pyrgos; Schoeman, McInally (c), Nel, Toolis, Gilchrist, Ritchie, Watson, Mata
Replacements: Cherry, Dell, Berghan, Hunter-Hill, Hamilton, Fowles, Hickey, Socino
Newcastle: Tait; Arscott, Harris, Bettencourt, Radwan; Connon, Takulua; Brocklebank, McGuigan, Wilson, Cavubati, Young, Burrows (c), Graham, Chick.
Replacements: Socino, Davison, Mavinga, Green, Uzokwe, Stuart, Flood, Williams