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Friday, 25 October, 2002, 20:11 GMT 21:11 UK
Edinburgh subdue Neath
Todd Blackadder takes on the Neath defence
Todd Blackadder takes on the Neath defence
Edinburgh 27-13 Neath

Edinburgh bounced back from their Heineken Cup defeat against London Irish to claim top spot in Pool A of the Celtic League.

And their commanding win over Neath at Meadowbank Stadium made sure of a home draw in the quarter-finals.

A try by Derrick Lee just before the break finally broke Welsh resistance, while quickfire touchdowns from Craig Joiner and Brendan Laney after the restart put the issue beyond doubt.

A scrappy opening period saw Laney score with a drop goal and penalty, while Shaun Connor responded with two penalties for the visitors.

Gareth Morris is about to be caught by Edinburgh's Brendan Laney
Brendan Laney (back) scored 17 points
Sustained Edinburgh pressure looked like being resisted by the rock solid Welsh All Blacks until Lee turned on the style seconds before the interval.

The full-back was at his twinkle-toed best in wrong-footing two Neath players before nipping in under the posts to give Laney an easy conversion.

It proved a crucial breakthrough as the Gunners came storming out on the restart to completely seize the initiative with two stunning scores.

Forwards and backs combined brilliantly after 42 minutes for Craig Joiner to burst through two despairing tackles and complete a move that seemed to come straight from the training ground.

Joiner was involved again three minutes later when he exchanged passes with the inspirational Lee, who then gave a perfectly timed delivery for Laney to score under the posts.

Craig Joiner is held up by Neath's Andrew Milward
Edinburgh's Craig Joiner (left) scored a try
Both scores were converted by the powerful centre as Edinburgh opened up a 21-point advantage.

The home side were guilty of easing off in the latter stages and Neath cashed-in to grab a try when prop Duncan Jones plunged over and replacement stand-off Matthew Jones converted.

However, it was no more than a consolation for the visitors.

Home coach Frank Hadden said: "A sloppy last quarter should not hide the outstanding rugby which went before, considering the conditions."


Edinburgh: Lee, Sharman, Laney, Dickson, Joiner, Hodge, Burns, Jacobsen, Hall.., Smith, Hines, Murray, Blackadder, Leslie, Taylor.
Not Used: Di Ciacca, Brannigan, Perrett, A. Dall, Blair, Shiel, Philip.

Tries: Lee, Laney, Joiner.

Conversions: Laney 3.

Penalty: Laney.

Drop Goal: Laney.

Neath: G. Morris, K. James, A. Bateman, Tiueti, S. Williams, S. Connor, Horgan, D. Jones, S. Jones, Millward, A. Newman, G. Llewellyn, Jenkins, Mocelutu, Bonner-Evans.
Not Used: P. Jones, Storey, P. James, B. Williams, A. Jones, Martin, Tandy.

Try: D. Jones.

Conversion: M. Jones.

Penalties: S. Connor 2.

Attendance: 3,171

Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland).

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Five Live's Andy Gillies
"Neath offered little but a stubborn defence"
Edinburgh manager Ian Rankin
"Mission accomplished and looking forward to this quarter-final at home"
Neath coach Lyn Jones
"We have a lot of work to do in our attacking game"

The final

SEASON STATS

AUDIO VIDEO

TALKING RUGBY
Links to more Celtic stories are at the foot of the page.


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