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Hunter hands Edinburgh first win

Guinness PRO12 Editor 16 Sep 2011

Gregor Hunter went some way to making a name for himself in Edinburgh colours as his try handed the Scots their first win of the new RaboDirect Pro12 season, seeing off previously unbeaten Connacht 19-14 at Murrayfield.

Most of the talk in the build up to the game concerned the coaches with Edinburgh’s Michael Bradley going up against his former side and Eric Elwood aiming to lead Connacht to three successive wins at the start of the season for the first time since the new format was introduced in 2003.

But it was teenager Hunter who grabbed the headlines with the hosts' only try of the game late on, deciding an otherwise error-strewn clash that saw Greig Laidlaw and Matthew Jarvis trade penalties throughout.

There was a cagey atmosphere to the opening exchanges with both sides’ penalties counts climbing early on with neither able to stamp their authority on proceedings.

Connacht scrum-half Frank Murphy made the first clean break of the night in the tenth minute with an incisive step and go but after being awarded a penalty fly-half Jarvis was wide with his kick.

The first half hour was riddled with errors and when Edinburgh were again penalised, this time for crossing, Jarvis again failed to add the three points.

And he was nearly made to pay immediately but in keeping with the tone of the half, Edinburgh fly-half Laidlaw’s penalty attempt fell short of the posts.

Laidlaw, who normally starts at scrum-half, then tried to atone for his error with a clean break of his own but a knock-on halted the Gunners’ momentum.

He soon made up for it as a he kicked a regulation penalty to put the home side 3-0 up four minutes before the interval.

And on the stroke of half-time Edinburgh made it a somewhat flattering 6-0 as Laidlaw slotted home after yet more indiscipline from the Irish side with Gavin Duffy being sent to the sin bin.

Connacht came out of the break looking to get on the scoresheet as soon as possible and it didn’t take them long, Jarvis finally finding the posts with an easy penalty four minutes in.

Laidlaw and Jarvis then traded penalties before the Scot re-established the host’s six-point lead with another kick on 54 minutes.

Replacement Niall O’Connor took over the kicking duties for Connacht and struck a penalty of his own two minutes later.

Being pegged back again seemed to wake Edinburgh up, Tim Visser going close to scoring the first try of the match.

But where Visser fell just short, replacement Hunter succeeded, the youngster capitalising on a charged-down O’Connor kick to go over on 70 minutes, Laidlaw adding the extras.

O’Connor, who was Connacht's matchwinner against the Scarlets last week, looked to make amends straight away, going over for a try of his own just four minutes later following some good Connacht territory, only to miss his own conversion.

And despite some late Connacht pressure, Edinburgh held on to pick up their first win of the season and exact a first defeat on their Irish visitors.