Edinburgh claim famous victory against Castres
Edinburgh secured their place in the last 16 of the Heineken Champions Cup with a famous bonus-point away win against Castres Olympique.
The visitors produced a resilient second half performance to keep the hosts scoreless, before running away with proceedings to win 21-34.
The afternoon started in the worst possible manner, with four changes being made before a ball had been kicked. Luan de Bruin, Boan Venter, Paddy Harrison and Emiliano Boffelli were all sidelined through injury. WP Nel and Jack Blain came into start, with Lee-Roy Atalifo, Nick Auterac, Tom Cruse and Nathan Sweeney getting a place on the bench.
The changes didn’t stop Edinburgh, with the visitors roaring into an early lead through Dave Cherry. The forwards combined well to put the capital men on the front foot, with Cherry burrowing over the line after a strong lineout drive.
The try sparked the Top14 side into life, replying in style after only 5 minutes. The home side burst through from deep to put Edinburgh under immense pressure. Kinghorn was shown yellow for killing the ball at the ruck illegally, and Castres made the extra man count. Urdapilleta grubbered through, and Raisuque won the race to level the scores.
It didn’t take long for the French side to claim the lead through centre Seguret. With the defence under pressure, the big midfielder cut against the grain to find a gap and power over.
A topsy turvy half continued though, with Edinburgh squaring the scores again shortly afterwards. This time it was Bill Mata, who powered over from close range, with Kinghorn adding a tricky conversion to tie the game.
With half-time looming the hosts once again took the lead, again with a man advantage. Cherry was shown a yellow card by Wayne Barnes this time, and again the Frenchmen made the advantage count. Tighthead prop Hounkpatin crashed over the line from close to bring an end to a breathless half.
With the wind in their sails, Castres restarted with intent, putting Edinburgh under immense pressure in an attempt to extend their lead. The visitors weathered the storm and levelled the scores with their first attacking effort of the half.
The impressive Cammy Hutchison displayed all of his power and rugby intellect to cross the whitewash. The North Berwick man crashed across the gainline, released the ball when tackled, before regathering to scramble across the line.
Now in the ascendancy, the visitors struck again to claim the try bonus point, and move into the lead for the first time in the second half. Vellacott scored a near carbon copy of Hutchison’s try, darting clear from the base of the ruck before releasing and regathering the ball to score.
The momentum was now firmly with the capital side, and two late penalties from Blair Kinghorn put the result beyond doubt.
With the win, Edinburgh have secured their place in the last 16 of the Champions Cup, and will gain home advantage with a win against Saracens next weekend.