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PREVIEW: Something will have to give in Grenoble

Friday 22nd January 2016

12:00 am (GMT)

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Con Gloucester e Harlequins già qualificate al pari dei Dragons

Con Gloucester e Harlequins già qualificate al pari dei Dragons

Everything will be on the line at Stade des Alpes when last season’s European Challenge Cup runners-up Edinburgh attempt to do the double over Pool 5 leaders Grenoble.

The Top 14 side, who last visited the knock-out stage in 2005 when the competition had a different set-up, have a one point advantage going into the sixth round and know that whichever team wins on the day will enjoy a home tie in April in the last eight.

Grenoble have won four of their six matches at home in their domestic league this season, including a notable 33-29 triumph over the three-time Champions Cup winners RC Toulon, and are unbeaten at Stade des Alpes in their two Challenge Cup ties to date, against London Irish and Agen. Their only defeat in Europe this season was their 28-10 defeat in round one at BT Murrayfield.

Having become the first Scottish team to reach a European final last season – they lost to Gloucester Rugby at the Twickenham Stoop in the final – Edinburgh started the season hoping to go one better in 2015/16.

Another win on French soil – they have won in Bordeaux, Biarritz and Agen in this tournament in the past – will set them on their way into the quarter-finals, although they could creep in as a runner-up if they can pick up one or two points in a defeat.

“Last year was a great run but we came up just short. Backing up reaching the final last year by getting back into the quarter-final is a tough thing to do, so for us to qualify again would be huge,” said Edinburgh’s Scottish international prop Alasdair Dickinson.

“They sent a real mixed bag to Edinburgh when we played them in round one, but this will be a different story. You saw what they did to London Irish at home, winning 28-18, and they will come at us all guns blazing.”

Dickinson made his 100th appearance for Edinburgh in the opening game of the campaign against Grenoble and since then has confirmed a new three year contract. What he hasn’t achieved with the Scottish capital side yet is a trophy.

It will be the fourth time the two sides have met in Europe and on each occasion the home team has come out on top. The worry for Alan Solomons and his side is that should Edinburgh lose without a bonus point, and pool rivals London Irish defeat Agen with a bonus point, then the English Premiership side will move into second place in the pool table (with a better head-to-head record in the two games between the clubs).

Match Facts

  • This will be just the second meeting between these sides in the Challenge Cup with Edinburgh winning the only other encounter in the tournament. 
  • However this will be the fourth meeting overall between the two in Europe, with the home side on the day winning all three meetings (Edinburgh two wins, Grenoble one win).
  • Grenoble have won their last two home matches in the Challenge Cup, a win against Edinburgh would see them extend that streak to a club-record three games in this tournament.
  • Edinburgh Rugby have won three of their last four matches away from home against teams from France in the Challenge Cup, though this will be their first away match against Grenoble in the competition.

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REPORT: Grenoble dump Edinburgh out

Saturday 23rd January 2016

12:00 am (GMT)

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Gli irlandesi vincono il girone 1 grazie alla meta subita allo scadere da Brive a Newcastle e nei quarti troveranno il Grenoble

Gli irlandesi vincono il girone 1 grazie alla meta subita allo scadere da Brive a Newcastle e nei quarti troveranno il Grenoble

A late double from Gio Aplon dumped Edinburgh Rugby out of the Challenge Cup, as the Scottish side failed to hold-on to a vital losing bonus-point in a heartbreaking 34-23 defeat.

First-half scores from John Hardie and Will Helu looked to have put Alan Solomons’ side top of the pool, but Aplon’s late double meant London Irish advanced as runners-up in the pool.

Edinburgh got off to a dream start after four minutes, when they bulldozed their way over the line.
Hardie was at the back of a powerful rolling maul to score, with Sam Hidalgo-Clyne landing the conversion for a 7-0 lead.

Grenoble kicked their way back into it with two penalties from fly-half Jonathan Wisniewski, before Hidalgo-Clyne landed one of his own. But the Scottish side got a taste of their own medicine after half-an-hour. The French side drove a lineout from close range for hooker hooker Arnaud Heguy to score.

Wisniewski converted, but minutes later he dropped a high-ball right into the hands of Will Helu, who cruised over unopposed to snatch a 17-13 lead at half-time. The match descended into a kicking battle after the break.

Wisniewski landed another tricky penalty before the game swung back the way of Edinburgh with a second penalty from Hidalgo-Clyne. But Edinburgh again failed to build on their lead and the accurate Wisniewski was successful with another three-pointer, as Grenoble refused to give up top spot in Pool 5.

Hidalgo-Clyne landed a penalty before Aplon first claimed a high-ball to score, before racing clear at the death.


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