European Challenge Cup: Bordeaux 23-14 Edinburgh - French side progress to last four

By Tom EnglishBBC Scotland
Bordeaux raced into a 14-0 lead and held off Edinburgh's fightback
Bordeaux raced into a 14-0 lead and held off Edinburgh's fightback
European Challenge Cup: Bordeaux-Begles v Edinburgh
Bordeaux-Begles 23 (14)
Tries: Cordero, Dubie Cons: Jalibert (2) Pens: Jalibert (2), Botica
Edinburgh: 14 (3)
Try: Hoyland Pens: Van der Walt (2), Kinghorn

Edinburgh's season ended in further disappointment as they were knocked out of the Challenge Cup at the quarter-final stage by Bordeaux.

The French hosts raced into a 14-0 lead after eight minutes thanks to tries from Santiago Cordero and Jean-Baptiste Dubie.

Edinburgh responded through two Jaco van der Walt penalties and Damien Hoyland's score.

But they failed to take further opportunities.

Despite closing to within six points, and with a man advantage after Ben Tameifuna's sin-binning with 11 minutes left, Richard Cockerill's side could not break down Bordeaux's defence.

The loss follows up the Pro14 semi-final collapse against Ulster and means they are yet to win a knockout tie with Cockerill in charge.

Bordeaux will face Bristol Bears in the semi-finals.

Edinburgh leave game on field again

This was always going to be a brutal examination of Edinburgh's worth and after a horrendous beginning you wouldn't have given tuppence for their chances.

The harsh truth, though, is that Edinburgh blew it. This was a game they should have won. They had the momentum, the chances and a numerical advantage in the last 10 minutes. This was a painful, painful exit.

What a bizarre game this was. Bordeaux were 14-0 clear in the relative blink of an eye. That early damage - how key it all was - started when James Johnstone tried to force a pass in attack. Bad idea. UJ Seuteni sacked him and offloaded to Cordero who ran away downfield to score a sucker-punch try. Jalibert made it 7-0 with the conversion.

Just like a fortnight ago in their demise against Ulster in the semi-final of the Pro14, Edinburgh only had themselves to blame.

It got worse. In need of every point, Van der Walt missed a kickable penalty just before Bordeaux struck once more. Again, Edinburgh were masters of their own downfall. Charlie Shiel dropped a ball that he should have taken and from there it was painfully simple for the French. Marco Tauleigne drove it up, drew in the Edinburgh defenders and popped it to Dubie who crashed over at the posts.

A second Jalibert conversion made it 14-0. Eight minutes had been played. Edinburgh now had this mountain to climb while carrying a list of injuries that saw Duhan van der Merwe, Mark Bennett, Henry Pyrgos, Nic Groom and WP Nel all ruled out.

In fairness to them, they had some moments immediately after Dubie's try. They got themselves into the Bordeaux half but coughed up a lineout. They returned to the Bordeaux 22 but slow ball and Ben Lam's work on the floor turned them over. Bill Mata pulled off a try-saving tackle - he was to retire hurt soon after - but Edinburgh went again.

Van der Walt's penalty made it 14-3. Things could have been healthier had they capitalised on breaks by George Taylor and Blair Kinghorn. When they sniffed a chance and spun it side, Watson spilled it. Chance gone.

Edinburgh had the momentum, though. Bordeaux had gone to sleep, perhaps confident of their place in the semi-final. Taylor once again punched a few holes, but once more a spillage cost Edinburgh. Van der Walt's penalty was some compensation for their good work early in the second half. Bizarrely, having looked like a scoring machine early on, Bordeaux had now gone 40 minutes without a point.

Jalibert brought that barren spell to an end to make it 17-6, but Edinburgh's spirit, and class, would soon be evident. Hoyland's score was a thing of wonder, a joy. Having barrelled up on the far side of the pitch, Edinburgh came steaming across the field, Johnstone finding Darcy Graham a few steps from the right touchline.

What Graham did next was sheer brilliance. He stepped one defender, then took the hit from two more, Dubie and Cordero, that put him on the floor. He was down, but he was not held or out. He sprang back up, was blasted into touch by Lam but not before delivering a sumptuous offload to Hoyland. The wing then finished despite the best efforts by Guido Petti, the open-side flanker. Sensational stuff.

How Edinburgh could have done with the extra points. Van der Walt should have put away the conversion. He missed. That error would have been all the more painful when Jalibert banged over a penalty to stretch the lead to nine points on the hour.

That gap should have narrowed again but Edinburgh's wastefulness was head-wrecking. Sustained pressure in Bordeaux's 22 saw space open up out wide but Kinghorn butchered the chance, going himself instead of passing to Graham outside him.

Bordeaux's verve and discipline had long gone. They were a sitting duck. Edinburgh had another chance to hurt them just after the hour, a five-metre line-out, more heat on a tiring defence, but another knock-on under pressure.

Kinghorn did at least keep the scoreboard ticking, his penalty soon after making it 20-14.

By then, Bordeaux were down to 14, Tameifuna seeing yellow after persistent Bordeaux infringing. Edinburgh needed to kick on, but couldn't. What Ulster did to them at Murrayfield, they couldn't repeat against the French.

Once more they had their opportunities to win a knockout tie. Once more they left it behind them.

Bordeaux: Ducuing, Cordero, Dubie, Seuteni, Lam, Jalibert, Lesgourgues; Poirot, Maynadier, Cobilas, Douglas, Marais, Diaby, Petti, Tauleigne.

Replacements: Dweba, Kaulashvili, Tameifuna, Cazeaux, Woki, Lucu, Botica, Uberti.

Edinburgh: Kinghorn, Graham, Johnstone, Taylor, Hoyland, van der Walt, Shiel; Schoeman, McInally, Berghan, Toolis, Gilchrist, Ritchie, Watson, Mata.

Replacements: Willemse, Sutherland, McCallum, Davidson, Bradbury, Haining, Nutton, Dean.

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