Bril­liant Mata adds gloss to epic Ed­in­burgh win

The Rugby Paper - - European Champions Cup - By ROB COLE

RICHARD Cock­er­ill re­fused to get car­ried away with his side’s his­toric win at Stade Felix Mayol and pledged his play­ers would be back in work on Mon­day morn­ing ready to pre­pare for Fri­day night’s Pool 5 de­cider against Mont­pel­lier.

In be­com­ing the first Scot­tish team to win in Toulon, and only the third in Cham­pi­ons Cup his­tory af­ter Sara­cens and New­cas­tle, Ed­in­burgh moved back top of their pool to be on course for their first quar­ter-fi­nal since 2012.

“We’ll en­joy tonight and the feel­ing of win­ning here, but we still have a lot to do and need to keep on im­prov­ing,” said Cock­er­ill.

“We haven’t qual­i­fied yet and I want to win on Fri­day and try to get a home quar­ter-fi­nal. We’ve got a good work ethic and credit to the play­ers, they should take a huge amount of pride out of what they’ve done.”

While Ed­in­burgh are on the rise, Toulon are on the wane. Hav­ing lit­er­ally shoved Guil­hem Guirado over to take the lead within two min­utes they should have done bet­ter.

A se­cond try from one of their few suc­cesses, Ar­gen­tine back row Fa­cundo Isa, be­fore the break meant they led 12-8. D’Arcy Gra­ham replied to that early Guirado score with a cor­ner ef­fort that owed much to James Ritchie’s bril­liant off­load.

Out­side half Jaco van der Walt warmed up for the se­cond half with a penalty from in front of the posts with the last kick of the half to cut the home lead to a mere four points. If it was any­one’s game at the restart, by the end of the third quar­ter it was in the bag for the vis­i­tors.

A neat kick through by cen­tre James John­stone into the home 22 bounced into the grate­ful arms of Blair Kinghorn and the full back romped over within three min­utes of the se­cond half start­ing. Van der Walt added the ex­tras and then kicked two penal­ties.

But the coup de grace came in the 65th minute when Fi­jian No.8 Bill Mata pro­duced a mo­ment of bril­liant magic. The move be­gan in the Ed­in­burgh 22 af­ter Rhys Webb had taken a quick tap and led a charge up­field that broke down when Ma­muka Gor­godze knocked on.

Kinghorn used the turnover to open up and found Mata. The Fi­jian pow­ered to half­way be­fore throw­ing an in­cred­i­ble off­load over his shoul­der to find the sup­port­ing John­stone, who raced in for one of the tries of the sea­son.

Van der Walt con­verted and it mat­tered lit­tle that for­mer All Black wing Julian Savea touched down for his first Euro­pean try.

Star man: Bill Mata

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