Bonus point win takes Edinburgh to top of European Champions Cup pool

Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill

Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill

Richard Cockerill got the better of former boss at Leicester Tigers Dean Richards, Edinburgh's bonus-point win meant they went top of their Heineken Champions Cup pool. David Wilson was originally selected at tighthead prop, with Trevor Davison a replacement.

You can only beat the team which appears in front of you, and Edinburgh head coach Cockerill was satisfied with what his players had achieved - although he was not entirely enthused by the performance.

"In the Premiership, you have the ability to register somebody say for a Saturday game up to midday on Friday", Richards told BBC Radio 5 live. "But regs are regs and we're at where we're at".

The visitors, cheered on by a sizeable Geordie support who had made the short trip up the A1, took the lead in the eighth minute with Brett Connon penalty.

The problems for Newcastle Falcons had been flagged up well in advance. Van der Walt slotted the easy conversion.

When Edinburgh did eventually try to drive their scrum, it brought a penalty and although van de Walt hit the upright again, he was on target when Darcy Graham retrieved possession and Newcastle were penalised again.

In swirling wind and rain, Edinburgh kept things conservative as they patiently worked their way back into the game and were rewarded in the 14th minute when Henry Pyrgos fed flanker Watson to crash over, and Jaco van der Walt added the extras off the post.

Edinburgh had a chance to square matters but Van Der Walt's penalty attempt rattled back of a post.

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Edinburgh started the stronger in the second half, winning a line-out and driving towards the line, before a simple inside pass to Chris Dean opened a hole in the Newcastle line at the posts, which Dean flew through and dotted down.

Edinburgh extended that lead by turning the screw on the depleted Falcons scrum ten metres out in the left-hand corner.

Edinburgh were dominant at this stage and their sustained pressure paid off when a string of attacks within sight of the line ended with referee Marius Mitrea running round behind the posts to signal a penalty try.

Newcastle continued to battle gamely and any home hopes that they would start to wilt were not forthcoming as the game entered the last 15 minutes.

The decision had, though, seemed indicative of their mindset, this match representing a chance to secure a four try bonus point win even in treacherous conditions and they registered their first a quarter of an hour into proceedings when they earned another chance to set up a lineout drive in their opponents' 22 and this time got it right.

With that scare negotiated, Edinburgh resumed the hunt for what could be a potentially crucial bonus point and when the fourth try came in the 71st it was a cracker created by a piece of offloading magic from Bill Mata.

Edinburgh: B Kinghorn (S Hickey 73); D Graham, J Johnstone (J Socino 61), C Dean, D van der Merwe; J van der Walt, H Pyrgos (N Fowles 68); P Schoeman (A Dell 61), S McInally (D Cherry 61-67), W Nel (S Berghan 61), B Toolis (C Hunter-Hill 60), G Gilchrist, J Ritchie (L Hamilton 61), H Watson, V Mata.

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