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Last Updated: Friday, 27 February, 2004, 22:25 GMT
Edinburgh 40-34 Leinster
CELTIC LEAGUE
Simon Cross was back in action for Edinburgh
Edinburgh (27) 40
Tries: Lee 2, Southwell, Hines, McGee 
Cons: Monro 3
Pens:  Southwell, Monro 2
Leinster (6) 34
Tries: Norton, Warner, Dillon, Ronan
Cons: Contepomi 4
Pens: Contepomi 2
Edinburgh staved off a Leinster rally to kick start their Celtic League challenge with a tense bonus-point victory at Murrayfield.

The Scots seemed to be cruising to victory as they led 30-13 going into the final stages only for the Irish side to battle back strongly.

Christian Warner and James Norton notched converted tries to put Edinburgh under real pressure.

But stand-in skipper Nathan Hines ensured a home win with a late try.

The Gunners made a storming start and were eight points in front with the same number of minutes on the clock.

Stand-off Ander Monro opened the scoring with a crisply struck long-range penalty - then Derrick Lee bagged the first touchdown.

Edinburgh secured a line-out turnover before Monro stretched the Leinster defence with a superb long pass.

Lee raced into the line and cut infield to leave the markers for dead with a sudden change of direction.

Argentina star Felipe Contepomi eased the Leinster jitters with a confidently struck penalty - only to watch Lee complete his try double after fine work by Mike Blair and Hines.

Leinster's Christian Warner
Christian Warner scored one of Leinster's tries

Monro clipped over the conversion, with Contepomi again replying with a penalty to keep the Irish side in the hunt.

But they fell further behind on the half-hour mark as Matt Dey dodged his way over from 15 metres for his first pro-game try.

Gunners enjoyed a let-off when Brendan Burke crossed for Leinster, only to be ruled offside as he chased Contepomi's lob.

And they made the most of their luck as Hugo Southwell grabbed the all-important fourth try on the stroke of the break with Monro converting.

Leinster gave themselves a glimmer of hope after the restart when flanker Neil Ronan capitalised on a missed touch-kick by Lee. His try was converted by Contepomi.

Monro's penalty should have killed off the Irish challenge, but they produced a stirring fightback to narrow the gap to just three - thanks to touchdowns by Christian Warner and James Norton, converted by Contepomi.

Then came the Hines clincher, with Monro adding the kick to make sure.

The frantic action continued as Des Dillon pulled back another try for Leinster, converted by Contepomi, but Southwell had the last word with a penalty for Edinburgh in the 10th minute of stoppage time.


Edinburgh: Derrick Lee, Hugo Southwell, Marcus Di Rollo, Matt Dey, Craig Joiner, Ander Monro, Mike Blair, Craig Smith, Dougie Hall, Joel Brannigan, Nathan Hines (captain), Alastair Kellock, Alasdair Strokosch, Simon Cross, Andrew Dall. Replacements: Andrew Kelly, Tom McGee, Nathan Pike, Craig Harrison, Rory Lawson, Malcolm Clapperton, Conan Sharman.

Leinster: James Norton, John McWeeney, Christian Warner, Felipe Contepomi, Brendan Burke, Matthew Leek, Brian O'Meara, Peter Coyle, Gavin Hickie, Sean Brophy, Ciaran Potts, Ben Gissing, Des Dillon (capt), Niall Ronan, Victor Costello. Replacements: Jason Moran, David Blaney, Aidan Kearney, Simon Crawford, Brian O¿Riordan, James Downey, Gary Brown


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