Wiese’s try puts the final nail on the sad season in Edinburgh

The visitors took a 6-3 lead at the start of the second half thanks to two penalties from Emiliano Boffelli in quick succession.

But within two minutes that lead was fading thanks to that one truly magical moment in the game – substitute Jasper Wiese’s attempt to put the Tigers firmly under control again.

The defeat was Edinburgh’s ninth in their last 10 games and while it was far from their worst performance, they nonetheless displayed a number of blunders – notably mishandling and indiscipline – which have also made themselves felt in their most recent league games. They have two league games left – at home against the Ospreys and then away in Ulster – but their hopes of a place in the URC play-offs were finally dashed when they lost at Connacht last week.

Mike Blair’s side started the first half here the way they played that game in Galway, making far too many mistakes and giving away too many penalties. Tiger defender Handre Pollard punished that indiscipline after five minutes of play, opening the scoring with a 25-metre penalty.

After that, the hosts kept up the pressure for a good quarter of an hour. But then, midway through the half, the normally dependable Pollard missed a shot from longer range.

The only good thing about the game so far has been that, despite all the mistakes and indiscipline, Edinburgh were still just three points behind. And as half-time approached they began to put some pressure on the home side when Henry Pyrgos fired in a free-kick just yards from the Leicester goal-line.

Then came a shootable penalty chance, but instead of going for goal, Edinburgh went for goal and again the Tigers were able to deal with the threat.

The game improved after a poor start and there were chances for both sides in the last minute of the half. First Darcy Graham just stepped too far forward as he won the race into the Tigers’ goal, then a lightning-fast counter-attack looked like Leicester full-back gave Freddie Steward a scoring chance, only for Boffelli to come back just in time to clean up.

After a good start for his team in the second half, Boffelli scored a penalty to equalize 3:3. Then, after Duhan Van der Merwe was tackled from an offside position, the Argentina full-back scored again to put his team ahead.

But the lead lasted less than two minutes. Van der Merwe lost the ball forward when he ran out from behind his own goal line, Tigers substitute Jasper Wiese rallied and the substitute bounced past three would-be tacklers before only ending up in the corner. Pollard added the conversion to make it 10-6.

Boffelli could have closed the gap with a third penalty a few minutes later, but this time his shot went wide of a post. And that was best for the Scots. Exactly on the hour, Pollard hit the post with a penalty and extended his team’s lead to 13:6. The No 10 added another penalty ten minutes from time and with the time remaining Leicester looked far more likely to extend their lead than Edinburgh did to eat them up.

The Tigers now face a round of 16 meeting with the winners of tonight’s all-Ireland game between Leinster and Ulster. They will visit Dublin if Leinster wins and be back home should Ulster upset the odds.

Edinburgh, meanwhile, has a free weekend. They look like a side that can’t end the season fast enough and seem in need of a mental recovery as much as a physical one.

https://www.heraldscotland.com/sport/23428037.wiese-try-puts-final-nail-edinburghs-sorry-season/?ref=rss Wiese’s try puts the final nail on the sad season in Edinburgh

Russell Falcon

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