Edinburgh 6-20 Cardiff Blues: Home side pay for errors in Challenge Cup
Last Updated: 31/03/18 9:36pm
Two defensive lapses cost Edinburgh dear as they crashed out of the European Challenge Cup in a 20-6 defeat to Cardiff Blues.
Nathan Fowles and Blair Kinghorn each misjudged kicks to hand the Blues two simple first-half tries and send them through to the semi-finals following a scrappy contest at Murrayfield.
Danny Wilson's side did not have to be at their best, but their kicking game caused all sorts of problems for the Edinburgh defence and proved enough to seal a spot in the final four of the competition, while Edinburgh's attentions will quickly turn back to the domestic scene where they are looking to seal a play-off spot in the Guinness PRO14.
On a cold Easter weekend in the Scottish capital, it was no surprise it took a while for the game to warm up with both sides struggling for fluency.
It was a scrappy opening with neither side able to mount any serious pressure, though Jarrod Evans missed the chance to take an early lead by scuffing a long-range penalty.
Jaco van der Walt eventually broke the deadlock after 19 minutes of play before the Blues got their afternoon up and running courtesy of a bizarre try in the right corner.
Evans attempted a cross-field kick that Fowles looked to have under control, but after turning his back to the ball his misjudgement saw the ball bounce off the back of his head and into the path of Ellis Jenkins, who dived on it before Evans kicked the conversion to make it 7-3.
It was another defensive lapse that saw them extend that lead, although Kinghorn would have legitimate reason to blame the greasy surface after failing to hold onto a low kick from Gareth Anscombe.
The ball bounced kindly for Rey Lee-Lo and he fed Blaine Scully, who drove over from close range to give the visitors a deserved 14-3 lead after half an hour.
The errors were clearly playing on the minds of the Edinburgh players as they went into the break 11 points down, but they emerged from the tunnel with more intent for the second half as the two sides traded penalties.
A stunning break from Kinghorn from inside his own half could have revived Edinburgh hopes, especially when Jenkins was shown a yellow card for a deliberate knock-on near the try line.
However the hosts were unable to make their advantage count as they wasted a two-on-one after a sustained period of pressure.
That was as good as it got for Edinburgh as the Blues defence stuck to their task and maintained their 14-point lead that puts them into the final four with Gloucester, Newcastle and Pau.