Edinburgh were edged out by Emirates Lions this evening as the visitors struck a late penalty to claim a 19-22 victory in the Scottish capital.
Both teams scored three tries in a bruising battle that burst into life in the second-half after a largely uneventful opening 40 which saw the two sides head into the dressing rooms all square at 5-5.
Darcy Graham and Ben Muncaster both went over for Mike Blair’s side in the second period, but the visitors hit back through Henco Van Wyk and Franke Horn before Gianni Lombardi hit a late winner from the tee.
After stand-off Lombard was off target with a penalty attempt and then a drop-goal effort, the stalemate was broken midway through the first half after Blair Kinghorn sent a penalty to touch.
Lineout ball was cleanly won and the Edinburgh maul eventually got over the line, with Bill Mata finishing off.
Kinghorn curled his conversion attempt wide, and Lombard then missed another attempt to get the Lions off the mark with a penalty.
The visitors drew level five minutes before the break following their one sustained attack in the first half.
Some powerful carries forced Edinburgh to funnel in towards the posts, and eventually enough space was created for full-back Andries Coetzee to finish off. Lombard’s conversion came back off a post.
Edinburgh regained the lead 10 minutes into the second half after a move down the line ended with Emiliano Boffelli passing to Darcy Graham.
The winger beat the first man then dived over the line as two more defenders leapt in to try to force him into touch. Boffelli, who had crucially come off his wing to provide the extra man, converted to give Edinburgh a 12-5 lead.
The Lions quickly hit back, however. A move in midfield appeared innocuous enough when Henco van Wyk collected a pass, however the outside centre was able to beat a number of defenders before space opened up in front of him and he raced clear to the line. Lombard’s conversion levelled the scores.
Right on the hour mark Edinburgh went in front again when Ben Muncaster finished off a lineout maul. Boffelli added the two points again.
There was still a lot of fight left in the Lions, though, and they got their own third try five minutes later when number eight Francke Horn finished off from close range. Lombard’s conversion drew the Lions level once more.
Seven minutes from time a hack ahead deep into Edinburgh territory ended with Graham being penalised for not releasing. Lombard scored to make it 22-19 to the Lions, and that was enough.
Kick-off 7:35 pm