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Delaney down as Edinburgh rejoice

Published 05/04/2015

Edinburgh's Fraser McKenzie goes over for a try at the Madejski Stadium
Edinburgh's Fraser McKenzie goes over for a try at the Madejski Stadium

London Irish head coach Glenn Delaney was left to rue what might have been after his side lost a dramatic Challenge Cup quarter-final to Edinburgh at the Madejski Stadium.

Trailing 23-18 and with time up on the clock, Delaney's side launched one final attack at the Edinburgh line that saw hooker David Paice drive over from close range.

But referee Pascal Gauzere could not see the grounding and, after numerous replays from the television match official, the try was not awarded, handing Edinburgh the victory.

"I thought we were going to score," said Delaney of his side's final flourish.

"I was very confident. We hadn't given up the ghost at all. We applied a lot of pressure and we had several opportunities and there were a couple of errors in there as well. But I felt we were going to get the score because we were on top in that period.

"It was a close contest in the end but it didn't go our way.

"Looking at how they got over the line, I'm pretty confident. Again, you can't see that can you? There's bodies all around the ball. There's no camera angle available to show it otherwise so you trust in the officials to get it right."

The Exiles made an awful start to the game and were 16-0 down after 20 minutes, with WP Nel powering over for the visitors while scrum-half Sam Hidalgo-Clyne fired over three penalties.

London Irish then staged a remarkable comeback, scoring 18 unanswered points to lead with half an hour of the match remaining thanks to tries from Conor Gilsenan and Scott Steele with Shane Geraghty adding eight points from the boot.

"It was a massive comeback," Delaney said. "I think we gave ourselves a huge amount to do. A massive mountain to climb and we climbed it.

"I felt that we were probably strong enough to finish the job but it took it another effort in the 80th minute to give us a second chance which, unfortunately has not gone our way."

Edinburgh head coach Alan Solomons was immensely proud of his troops as they booked their place in the semi-finals.

Replacement lock Fraser McKenzie's try on the hour mark proved the match-winning score, with the men from the Scottish capital set to face Newport Gwent Dragons in a last-four clash at Murrayfield on April 17.

"To come away with the win was massive and having a home semi-final at Murrayfield is massive," said Solomons.

"It was an interesting game because for the first 20 minutes, we dominated.

"Then between the 32nd and the 52nd minute, they completed dominated. I think it was a tremendous effort from the team."

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