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Leonard boots Edinburgh to victory

Harry Leonard's last-gasp penalty gave Edinburgh's new coach Alan Solomons a much-needed 16-13 win over a Newport Gwent Dragons side that have been a bogey team for them in recent seasons.

The Dragons looked on course to build on their opening day RaboDirect Pro12 win over Ulster with a draw at Murrayfield, but Leonard's penalty at the death broke their hearts.

It was a key victory for Edinburgh, who were beaten by Munster last week and were grateful for Tim Visser's converted try and Leonard's three penalties.

On his return to Dragons colours after an unhappy season at Edinburgh, scrum-half Richie Rees picked up his side's try. Jason Tovey kicked the conversion and a penalty, while substitute Kris Burton equalised five minutes before the end with his boot.

As the teams squared up in an early kicking-from-hand duel, Leonard and Tovey shared a couple of penalties and then each missed with a kick before the game heated up as the first quarter ended.

Successive kickable penalties to Edinburgh were put to touch, producing successive lineout drives. When the second was stopped on the goal-line referee Dudley Phillips, on awarding a penalty, thought hard before leaving the card in his pocket. Leonard put Edinburgh ahead with the simple kick.

The game's direction suddenly changed on the half-hour mark when Rees took a quick tap penalty on half way and shot to the home 22. The ball was moved left but full-back Dan Evans lost possession 10 metres out .

The Edinburgh backs produced some sparkle as the half finished but the scoreboard was untroubled meaning Edinburgh went in leading by just three points.

When Dragons gave away a penalty under the posts - earning flanker Lewis Evans a yellow card - home captain Ross Ford chose to turn down three easy points only for Edinburgh to be penalised in the scrum.

However, Edinburgh made a focused re-start that saw Nick De Luca brought down five metres out before, in the 48th minute, Dave Denton sent Visser over in the left corner for his 49th league try, which Leonard converted from touch.

Back to full-strength, however, the Dragons hit back driving a lineout and then scrum-half Rees nipped over for a try converted by Tovey to cut Edinburgh's lead to 13-10.

As the fourth quarter wore on, the Dragons were on the front foot in Edinburgh territory and substitute Burton kicked the equalising penalty in the 75th minute.

However, when Burton dropped the ball on 80 minutes Edinburgh gained a penalty from the scrum that Leonard kicked home to win the game.


From Belfast Telegraph