Edinburgh finish second in Celtic Challenge

Edinburgh finish second in Celtic Challenge

A dramatic last-minute Rhona Lloyd saw Edinburgh share the spoils in a 12-12 with the Irish Clovers at Parc y Scarlets, as the capital side finished their Celtic Challenge campaign.

The result cemented Edinburgh’s second place finish in their inaugural season, during which the side only lost one game, winning four, and drawing two.

The Clovers made much of the early running, with defensive efforts crucial in keeping the capital in the game. Briar McNamara somehow held up an Irish attacker over the line, while captain Sarah Denholm showed some last-ditch desperation to stop another attack.

Having soaked up much of the early pressure, it was Edinburgh that scored first. On the stroke of half-time, McNamara burst through the midfield after a strong scrum in the Clovers half gave front foot ball. Scrum half Leia-Brebner Holden broke free from the base to feed the onrushing centre, who powered through before rounding the final defender to score.

The try gave Edinburgh a 7-0 lead at half-time after Nicole Marlow had added the extras, however the Clovers raced into the second-half with a newfound intensity. A brace of tries out wide in quick succession to take the lead, once after a period of sustained pressure, and once after a cross-field kick caused havoc in the Edinburgh defence.

12-7 down, Edinburgh went about chasing the game, battering away at the Irish defence. The pressure finally told, after a looping pass from Hannah Walker put Lloyd into space – the Scotland speedster showing pace to finish in the corner. Marlow was unlucky to not convert the try with a difficult conversion attempt, however the last-minute drama meant the team finished their first season on a high.

On the side’s first-ever season, Head Coach Claire Cruikshank said: “The players who have represented Edinburgh over the last couple of months can be very proud of what they have done.

“To only lose one game out of seven and finish second in the table is a great achievement and the growth and improvements made by a lot of the players from December until now has been there for all to see.

“We have all enjoyed being part of this group and representing Edinburgh Rugby and hopefully this kind of representative rugby can keep growing going forward as it will certainly help in producing Scotland players of the future and help our game to grow.”

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