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 Friday, 10 January, 2003, 21:15 GMT
Edinburgh comeback foils Irish
There's no way through for Edinburgh's Nathan Hines
Edinburgh finished the Murrayfield match strongly
Heineken Cup - Pool 5
Edinburgh 32-25 London Irish



Edinburgh produced a superb Friday night comeback to warm a shivering Murrayfield crowd and gain a measure of Heineken Cup revenge against London Irish.

The Scots looked to be dead and buried, trailing by 12 points and with a man in the sin-bin 15 minutes from time.

But the fired-up home side found their feet to score three tries in the closing five minutes.

Stand-off Brendan Laney, winger Conan Sharman and skipper Todd Blackadder all notched touchdowns as the match was turned on its head.

Before then it had looked as if the Scots would pay the price for conceding a string of penalties which allowed Mark Mapletoft to keep the Exiles ahead.

Mapletoft notched his first after just 90 seconds while Laney looked set for a disappointing night as he was woefully wide with a similar chance at the other end.

Mapletoft showed how it should be done as Irish doubled their lead moments later, while only some desperate defending in the home ranks prevented the visitors scoring the game's first try.

There was some respite from the London Irish pressure when Laney atoned for his earlier miss by posting Edinburgh's first points.

Stirring fightback

However, Mapletoft responded with his third successful strike before Taylor thrilled the crowd with a sizzling try after 35 minutes.

The former Lion started the move in his own half and was on hand to finish it following an eight-man drive which featured crucial work from Sharman and Nathan Hines.

Mapletoft was again on target with the boot on the restart as Irish stretched their lead again but within minutes the Scots had surged upfield to forge ahead for the first time.

Skipper Blackadder boldly decided to run a penalty in front of the posts and was rewarded as he plunged over the line himself.

However, sloppy Laney was again wayward with the conversion attempt and Mapletoft quickly put the visitors back in charge with two quickfire penalties.

It looked even better for Irish when Hines was sin-binned for foul play and Chris Sheasby landed the visitors' only try of the night, inevitably converted by Mapletoft.

But then came the Gunners' stirring fightback.


Edinburgh: D Lee, C Sharman, C Joiner, A Dickson, C Paterson, B Laney, G Burns, A Jacobsen, C Di Ciacca, J Brannigan, N Hines, S Murray, T Blackadder (captain), S Taylor, M Leslie.
Reps: D Hall, C Smith, A Kellock, A Dall, A Hogg, M Blair, T Philip.

London Irish: M Horak, P Sackey, N Burrows, G Appleford, J Bishop, M Mapletoft, D Edwards, M Worsley, N Drotske, S Halford, G Delaney, B Casey, P Gustard (captain), D Danaher, C Sheasby.
Reps: H Martens, B Everitt, K Dawson, R Kirke, J Cockle, N Hatley, R Hardwick.


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