Celtic Challenge: Edinburgh v Irish Clovers: late Rhona Lloyd try snatches a draw

Capital outfit show resilience in final game of campaign

Rhona Lloyd scored a last minute try to snatch a draw for Edinburgh against Irish Clovers. Image: Edinburgh Rugby
Rhona Lloyd scored a last minute try to snatch a draw for Edinburgh against Irish Clovers. Image: Edinburgh Rugby

Edinburgh Rugby 12

Irish Clovers 12

by GARY HEATLY

A LAST gasp try from winger Rhona Lloyd gave Edinburgh a share of the spoils versus Irish Clovers in their final Celtic Challenge match of the season at Parc Y Scarlets in Llanelli this [Sunday] afternoon.

Edinburgh were on the back foot for much of the game and were 12-7 down with 15 seconds of the 80 minutes left. Then, after a number of patient phases, replacement Hannah Ramsay sent a long pass out to GB Sevens flyer Lloyd and she finished out wide to level things up. Full-back Nicole Marlow’s conversion attempt from near to the touchline missed before the referee blew for full-time.

While this was not a vintage performance by any means, the capital side showed resilience to stay in the fight to avoid a loss, and it all means that Edinburgh finish on 25 points, second in the standings behind champions Irish Wolfhounds, having won four, drawn two and lost one during their campaign.


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“It was a funny game overall, it was a bit ‘stop-start’ and neither team got fully into their rhythm, but I am proud of the way the girls kept battling away to get a draw in the end,” said Edinburgh head coach Claire Cruikshank.

“I think when we scored our try to go 7-0 up at half-time it was one of the first times we were in their half and it was certainly the first time in their 22, so for Briar McNamara to finish that so well was pleasing.

“We knew the Clovers would come back at us and they did, but even though things weren’t quite as fluid as we would have liked the team never let their heads go down.

“I thought that all of the subs that came on made a real impact and brought a freshness to things and it was great to get that try at the end. No one likes to draw games, but on this occasion with the way things went, we’ll take it.”

Reflecting on the campaign as a whole, she added:  “The players who have represented Edinburgh over the last couple of months can be very proud of what they have done.

“To only lose one game out of seven and finish second in the table is a great achievement and the growth and improvements made by a lot of the players from December until now has been there for all to see.

“We have all enjoyed being part of this group and representing Edinburgh Rugby and hopefully this kind of representative rugby can keep growing going forward as it will certainly help in producing Scotland players of the future and help our game to grow.”

 

 

Edinburgh had beaten Clovers 35-21 in early February at Hive Stadium, but this was a much cagier affair with the Irish side dominating much of the first half meaning the Scots had to put in a great defensive effort.

At one point, captain Sarah Denholm had to be alert to track back a neat kick through. She took it over her own try line, but from the resultant five metre scrum the defence stood firm.

Centre McNamara also won a very important turnover metres from her own line and, as the half hour mark came and went, it was amazing that the Irish side were not ahead.

Edinburgh had shown little in an attacking sense, but in the 39th minute, they opened the scoring, when a strong scrum on the Clovers 10 metre line gave the Scottish side good go-forward and from there scrum-half Leia Brebner-Holden, recently named in the Scotland training squad, fed McNamara.

The New Zealand-born midfielder did the rest, bursting through the middle and then gliding past the last defender to score. Marlow converted and Edinburgh had an unlikely 7-0 half-time advantage.

 

 

Clovers were clearly frustrated that they had not taken any chances in the first half because they started the second half flying. Replacement hooker Beth Buttimer went close in the corner before winger Claire Gorman did get their first points via a try in the 43rd minute. The conversion was missed, but soon after the Irish side nearly scored again only for the final pass to have been deemed to have gone forward.

In the 51st minute, the Clovers did get their second try when some big carries by their forwards set up sub Kate Flannery. She put in a cross field-kick which bounced awkwardly for Edinburgh winger Cieron Bell in the dead-ball area, and centre Clara Barrett pounced to score. Flannery nailed the tough conversion from out wide to make 12-7.

Try as they might, Edinburgh just could not really get their attacking game going as it had done at times earlier in the competition. With six minutes to go a couple of quick tap penalties got them good field position, but the Clovers defence stood firm and, a few phases later, won a turnover at the breakdown and that chance was gone.

But Edinburgh kept knocking at the door though and, to their credit, found a way to get over the line for their second try with the clock just about to go into the red.

 

Teams –

Edinburgh Rugby: N Marlow; R Lloyd, N Flynn, B McNamara, C Bell; S Denholm©, L Brebner-Holden; P Fletcher, A Ronald, M Poolman, A Ferrie, N Logan, M Gunderson, A Stewart, F Walker. Substitutes: N Haynes, A Wilson, K Lindsay, L Kidd, S Taganekurukuru, Z Turner, H Ramsay, H Walker.

Irish Clovers: A Corey; C Gorman, C Barrett, K Waldron, A McInerney; N Fowley, A Hughes; N O’Dowd, M O’Leary, M Collis, R Campbell, D Wall, J Clohessy, B Heylmann, I Kiripati. Subs: B Buttimer, G Burke, R Ormond, F Oviawe, C Bennett, M Wall, K Flannery, M O’Driscoll.

 

Scorers –

Edinburgh Rugby: Tries: McNamara, Lloyd; Con: Marlow.

Irish Clovers: Tries: Gorman, Barrett; Con: Flannery.

Scoring sequence (Edinburgh Rugby first): 5-0; 7-0 (h-t) 7-5; 7-10; 7-12, 12-12.


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About Gary Heatly 457 Articles
Gary has loved rugby ever since he can remember and since 2004 he has covered the sport and others in a professional capacity for many publications and websites and runs his own company, GH Media.

1 Comment

  1. Well done today, great resilience shown, a great team try at the end. I’m sure this tournament will help the Celtic nations try and close the gap with the top teams

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