Schoeman stars as Edinburgh dismantle Connacht
PRO14 REPORT: Edinburgh stretched their lead at the top of the Pro14 Conference B after decisively defeating Connacht 41-14 at Murrayfield.
In a hard-fought and physically-draining contest it was Richard Cockerill’s men who prevailed, claiming a bonus-point success over the Irish province to tighten their grip at the top.
Connacht were hindered early on when a serious-looking injury to Finlay Bealham halted proceedings, with the prop replaced by Dominic Robertson-McCoy after only four minutes.
A pair of long-range kicks from Simon Hickey gave Edinburgh an early lead, before the hosts were awarded a penalty try after a sensational solo break by Matt Scott ended in a high tackle on the centre as he crossed the tryline. As a result, Jack Carty was sent to the sin bin.
From there Edinburgh took advantage of the extra man when Simon Berghan scored from short range to extend their lead.
However, Connacht’s relentless phase-play was awarded when Tiernan O’Halloran powered over on the stroke of half-time to reduce the deficit for the visitors.
And once play got back under way, O’Halloran used his strength once again to good use as he registered both his and Connacht’s second try with a pick-and-go underneath the sticks.
With Connacht beginning to look more threatening Edinburgh hit back through prop Pierre Schoeman’s score, before Duhan van der Merwe claimed the all-important bonus-point try for the Scottish club.
A flurry of yellow cards towards the end to Edinburgh’s Eroni Sau and Nick Haining and Ulster’s Eoghan Masteron and Conor Fitzgerald ensured a frenetic finish with Cockerill’s men closing the game out with their second penalty try.
Play of the day
He may not have received the credit but Scott’s break for Edinburgh’s first try of the evening was a display of sheer pace and wonderful execution from the Scotland international.
His initial burst through the line left Connacht’s defence on the back foot and despite having the option to shift it, Scott shrugged off the tacklers and persevered his way over the try line before being tackled high.
Man of the Match
Pierre Schoeman was an unstoppable force from start to finish at Murrayfield, capping his performance off with a try.
His work at the scrum provided Edinburgh with a solid platform but it was his play in the loose which caught the eye.
Tries: Penalty try 2; Berghan, Schoeman, Van der Merwe
Cons: Hickey 3
Pens: Hickey 2
Tries: O’Halloran 2
Cons: Carty 2
Edinburgh: 15 Damien Hoyland, 14 Eroni Sau, 13 Mark Bennett, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Simon Hickey, 9 Nic Groom (captain), 8 Viliame Mata, 7 Luke Crosbie, 6 Nick Haining, 5 Lewis Carmichael, 4 Stan South, 3 Simon Berghan, 2 Mike Willemse, 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Cameron Fenton, 17 Murray McCallum, 18 Dan Winning, 19 Jamie Hodgson, 20 John Barclay, 21 Charlie Shiel, 22 Jaco van der Walt, 23 George Taylor.
Connacht: 15 Tiernan O’Halloran, 14 Niyi Adeolokun, 13 Kyle Godwin, 12 Peter Robb, 11 John Porch, 10 Jack Carty, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 Jarrad Butler (captain), 7 Colby Fainga’a, 6 Paul Boyle, 5 Joe Maksymiw, 4 Niall Murray, 3 Finlay Bealham, 2 Shane Delahunt, 1 Denis Buckley.
Replacements: 16 Jonny Murphy, 17 Paddy McAllister, 18 Dominic Robertson-McCoy, 19 Eoghan Masterson, 20 Eoin McKeon, 21 Caolin Blade, 22 Conor Fitzgerald, 23 Tom Daly.
Referee: Marius Mitrea (Italy)
Assistant referees: Sam Grove-White (Scotland), Matteo Liperini (Italy)
TMO: Stefano Pennè (Italy)