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Last Updated: Friday, 22 October, 2004, 20:18 GMT 21:18 UK
Perpignan 23-0 Edinburgh
Perpignan proved too powerful for Edinburgh
Perpignan (3) 23:
Tries: Edmonds, Penalty
Cons: Giannantonio 2
Pens: Giannantonio 3
Edinburgh (0) 0:
Att: 12,000

Edinburgh's Heineken Cup opener ended in defeat after a battling defensive display on French soil.

The visitors trailed just 3-0 at half-time but capitulated in the second period, following the sin-binning of Simon Cross for a high-tackle.

Australian stand-off Manny Edmonds followed his own chip for the breakthrough try and the powerful home side were then awarded a penalty try.

Argentine full-back Diego Giannantonio added the other points with the boot.

The French side raced out of the traps and pinned the visitors back right from the off.

Edinburgh were pressured into giving away three penalties in quick succession within the range of Giannantonio - but the Scots were reprieved as the full-back was off target on each occasion.

There was another let-off for the Scots when Ally Strokosch pulled off a magnificent double tackle to prevent what looked like a certain try.

Perpignan held a clear physical advantage, particularly in the scrum. But Edinburgh were compensating for their lack of bulk with sheer effort and application.

The home side earned another penalty chance to break the deadlock midway through the first half. Edmonds took over the boot duties, but he was also out of luck as the ball drifted wide from 40 metres.

They guys were under the cosh for virtually the whole game - and they refused to buckle
Frank Hadden
Edinburgh head coach
Edinburgh were on the back foot throughout and hooker Dougie Hall proved his versatility by covering on the wing to clear the peril in the wake of a crossfield kick from Edmonds.

The luck of the visitors held out until two minutes into first half stoppage time, when Giannantonio at last found his touch to slot a close-quarters penalty for illegal entry to a maul by skipper Chris Paterson.

Then came the catalogue of errors which ended the challenge of the Scots.

Cross was sent to the sin-bin by English referee Roy Maybank for a high tackle - Giannantonio banging over the penalty.

Brendan Laney sent the restart directly out of play, and from the scrummage Edmonds dashed into enemy territory and chipped to the line before following up to claim the touchdown.

Giannantonio slotted the easy conversion to leave Edinburgh with a mountain to climb.

He then completed his penalty hat-trick in the 58th minute after Ally Hogg wandered offside.

Edinburgh's misery was complete when referee Maybank awarded the Frenchmen a penalty try for a pushover offence on the line - goaled by Giannantonio.

Edinburgh coach Frank Hadden heaped praise on his side's defensive effort.

He said: "In the circumstances, the performance was absolutely heroic. They guys were under the cosh for virtually the whole game - and they refused to buckle.

"We had performed really bravely in the first half and it was a sickener to see then edge in front with virtually the last kick before the interval.

"The only lapse came when we handed them 10 points just after the restart and there was no way back."

Perpignan: Giannantonio, Bomati, Marty, Grandclaude, Luger, Edmonds, Durand, Debaty, Grelon, Mas, Gaston, Alvarez Kairelis, Tonita, Goutta, Robertson.
Replacements: Van Der Heever, Chobet, Porcu, O'Driscoll, Descons, Laharrague, Hume.

Edinburgh: D Lee, C Paterson, M Di Rollo, C Joiner, S Webster, B Laney, R Lawson, A Jacobsen, D Hall, C Smith, N Hines, A Kellock, T Blackadder (capt), S Cross, A Hogg.
Replacements: A Kelly, J Brannigan, F Pringle, A Strokosch, J Blackwood, P Godman, H Southwell.

Referee: Roy Maybank (Kent)

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