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Solomons revels in courageous and crucial win

Alan Solomons, the Edinburgh head coach, last night praised the courage and determination of his players after they had kept the club's Heineken Cup hopes alive with a shock 16-10 win over Gloucester.

Ben Atiga is congratulated after scoring a try against Gloucester yesterday. Picture: Getty Images
Ben Atiga is congratulated after scoring a try against Gloucester yesterday. Picture: Getty Images

Solomons had rested a number of his Scotland Test players for the game, but their replacements delivered a sensational performance, avenging last week's 12-23 defeat by the English side at Murrayfield with a try by Ben Atiga and a conversion and three penalties by Jack Cuthbert.

The result was all the more remarkable as fly-half Harry Leonard had succumbed to a thigh strain on the morning of the game. Greig Tonks was pressed into service in his place, despite the fact he had not played in the position for two years and never at anything close to this level.

"Greig is mature and reasonably experienced, and he felt comfortable that he could come in and do it," said Solomons. "It was a big call but I think he was outstanding."

However, Solomons' tributes were mostly for his team as a whole, especially after their setback seven days earlier. "We felt that we let ourselves down last week," added the South African. "We were flat in the first half. We could have won that game and we let some opportunities slip and we were determined to put things right this weekend. And we did.

"Gloucester is a famous club and Kingsholm has an incredible reputation. Winning on the road is never easy. We talked about producing a performance of character and heart, and they certainly did that. They played with courage, commitment and determination."

The result moves Edinburgh from the bottom of Pool 6 to third place. Their remaining pool games next month are at home to Perpignan and away to Munster, the side they beat in the opening round of games. If they can rise even one further place in the group they will be in with a chance of making the knockout stages of either the Heineken or second-tier Amlin Cup competitions. Solomons pointed out, though, that Edinburgh must concentrate on domestic matters for the time being. "We are pleased that we are at least back in the frame. But we have a five-day turnaround before we play Leinster on Friday and then we play Glasgow twice. Those games are massive for us and we need to keep our focus on a game at a time."

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