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PREVIEW: Watson dreaming of another final

Wednesday 9th December 2015

12:00 am (GMT)

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Respectivement deuxièmes et premiers

Respectivement deuxièmes et premiers

Edinburgh Rugby flanker Hamish Watson is determined to reach the Challenge Cup final once again to right the wrongs of last season’s second placed finish.

That mission will be boosted if they can secure a victory at Pool Five qualification rivals London Irish on Saturday in a repeat of last season’s quarter-final. Alan Solomons’ Edinburgh triumphed 23-18 the last time they travelled to the Madjeski and got off to a flying start this season with two victories over French sides Grenoble and Agen.

The Exiles are yet to pickup a win from their six Premiership games so far, but they began their Challenge Cup campaign with a comprehensive 48-10 triumph over Agen before a narrow defeat to Grenoble. But Watson, who was part of the side beaten by Gloucester at the Twickenham Stoop, will not be taking Edinburgh’s wounded opponents lightly.
He said: “After the run we had last year we have high hopes in this competition and we want to get to the final again. We are not prioritising one above the other in terms of the Pro 12 and the Challenge Cup, we’re trying to do the best we can in both competitions.

“London Irish have to watch out for that relegation battle but they can’t afford to put out a weakened side and lose these two games because they will want to build confidence. I’m pretty confident they’ll field a pretty strong team and look to have a real crack at the Challenge Cup.”

London Irish coach Tom Coventry said: “We need to keep focused on the things that we have been working on and continue to work hard. Picking the guys up is important, after a number of losses confidence can be down so we need to try and find a way to get them up and then focus on Edinburgh and see what we can do there.”

Match Facts

  • The only previous clash between these clubs in the Challenge Cup was a 23-18 victory for Edinburgh in last season’s quarter finals.
  • London Irish have won eight of their last nine home games in the Challenge Cup, including a 48-10 win against Agen in their first home fixture of this season’s tournament.
  • Edinburgh Rugby have won 10 of their last 12 matches in the Challenge Cup without conceding more than 21 points in any match during that period.
  • Edinburgh have won their last two away games in the Challenge Cup but have never won three consecutive away games in the competition.


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REPORT: Irish go top with six try salvo

Saturday 12th December 2015

12:00 am (GMT)

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Passés à la moulinette londonienne le week-end dernier (38-6)

Passés à la moulinette londonienne le week-end dernier (38-6)

London Irish may be struggling for form in their domestic league, but in Europe they are certainly finding their feet this season as this six try demolition of Edinburgh proved.

This was their second bonus point win in Pool 5 of the Challenge Cup at the Madejski Stadium and they now lead Grenoble by two points and hold a three point advantage over last season’s beaten finalists, Edinburgh, ahead of their return fixture at Murrayfield in round four.

The Scottish capital club came into the game with 11 changes from their defeat in Ulster last weekend and despite taking an early lead through two penalties from Greig Tonks were never in the hunt. Now sooner had they hit the front than they found themselves trailing to two tries in three minutes from Andrew Fenby.

The Welsh wing raced the length of the Edinburgh 22 for his first score immediately after the re-start following Tonks’ second kick and then he squeezed over in the left corner for another try which Shane Geraghty converted of the touchline.

Once they had their noses in front the home side went for the jugular and they had picked up their bonus point by half-time. The third try came from right wing Alex Lewington, who spotted a huge hole in the Edinburgh defence and gleefully raced 35 metres to the line and then centre Johnn Williams touched down on the other flank.

The Wiliams try came in the final move of the half moments after Edinburgh had lost Tonks to a yellow card. With another superb Geraghty conversion it meant the visitors were trailing by 20 points at the break.

That gap rose throughout the second period as Irish added two more back line tries through Fijian centre Aseli Tikiorotuma and Fenby, who bagged his hat-trick just in time to be named as the Heineken Man of the Match.

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