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Edinburgh 22 Cardiff Blues 29: Champions Cup hopes slipping away for hosts

Alan Solomons, the Edinburgh head coach, is refusing to give up on hopes of leading his side in Champions Cup rugby next season despite going down to a bonus point defeatin a game he had admitted earlier was "critical" to his team's ambition.

Edinburgh lost by seven points to Cardiff last night. "Cardiff won the collisions," said Solomons. "They were full value for their win. You never want to say [the Champions Cup] is gone while there is a mathematical chance but we came up short here.

"The spirit in the side is excellent but in this game they were up against a side that played better than them on the night. They are a good side and will finish the season strongly."

Perhaps the most important development of the night was a reminder that a small crowd in a small ground makes for a far better supporter experience than losing a few thousand people in a cavernous Murrayfield. The return of Tim Visser, the wing often at the heart of the club's most impressive try-scoring feats, from the bench was also welcomed by fans.

After breaking his ankle back in October, Visser had not been expected back until early next month, but an injury to Sam Hidalgo-Clyne caused the wing to be named on the bench. His side would still struggle to get going in the game, though, as Edinburgh's faint hopes of catching Scarlets - the side which occupy the final place for Champions Cup rugby next season - faded badly.

An early exchange of penalties between Jack Cuthbert of Edinburgh and Gareth Davies of the Blues did little to settle the teams and Matt Scott then scythed through to open the try scoring. Cardiff squandered chances after that but made amends through Corey Allen. Filo Paulo and Dan Fish then added to that try as the Blues extended the lead.

Edinburgh did improve after the break and Tom Brown was able to force his way over, but Dafydd Hewitt earned Cardiff the bonus point. Cornell Du Preez scored in the final seconds to give Edinburgh a losing bonus point.

Scorers Edinburgh Tries: Scott (11mins), Brown (47), Du Preez (79). Conversions: Cuthbert 2. Penalty goal: Cuthbert (4) Cardiff Blues Tries: Allen (19mins), Paulo (31), Fish (41), Hewitt (75). Conversions: G Davies 3. Penalty goal: G Davies (3) Scoring sequence (Edinburgh first): 0-3, 3-3, 10-3, 10-10, 10-17 (half time), 10-24, 17-24, 17-29. 22-29.

Edinburgh J Cuthbert; S Beard (T Visser, 76), M Scott, A Strauss, T Brown; H Leonard (C Bezuidenhout, 76), G Hart (S Kennedy, 63); A Dickinson (W Blaauw, 75), R Ford (J Hilterbrand, 65), W Nel, G Gilchrist, I van der Westhuizen (O Atkins, 52), M Coman (C), C Preez, D Denton (R Grant, 60)

Cardiff Blues D Fish; A Cuthbert, C Allen, I Tuifua (D Hewitt, 27), C Czekaj; G Davies, L Jones (L Williams, 69); G Jenkins (C), K Dacey (M Rees, 51), T Filise (S Andrews, 51), L Reed (B Davies, 12), F Paulo, M Cook, J Navidi (E Jenkins, 76), R Copeland.

Referee D Phillips (Ireland)

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