MIKE Blair admitted his Edinburgh side had to be more ruthless after they went down to their third defeat in as many games last night.

The capital club were in the match almost all of the way, and matched the Lions’ three tries. In the end, however, they were undone by a late penalty from the South Africans’ stand-off Gianni Lombard.

“The last eight or nine minutes went a little bit differently than we would have wanted,” Blair said. “There is definitely a need for us to be ruthless and play through teams a little more when we get on top of them.

“The nine, ten pass and the next wide pass allows them to recover. I am a glass-half-full type of guy over what we are trying to get out of things. Although I am very conscious there is stuff we need to work on as Benetton are a strong side next week.”

A rib injury forced Stuart McInally into an early departure, and Hamish Watson and Darcy Graham were among the latter casualties in a high-energy battle. After a scoreless first quarter-hour, the stalemate was broken midway after Blair Kinghorn dispatched a penalty to touch. Lineout ball was cleanly won, and the Edinburgh maul eventually got over the line, with Bill Mata being credited with the score. Kinghorn curled his conversion attempt wide.

The visitors’ defence began to buckle a bit at the breakdown around the half-hour mark, but then they drew level following their one sustained attack in the first half. Some powerful carries forced Edinburgh to funnel in towards the posts, and eventually enough space was created for full-back Andries Coetzee to finish off. Lombard’s conversion came back off a post.

Edinburgh regained the lead 10 minutes into the second half with the best score of the match. A move down the line ended with Emiliano Boffelli passing to Darcy Graham. The winger stood his man up and raced outside him, then dived over the line as two more defenders leapt in to try to force him into touch. Boffelli converted to give Edinburgh a 12-5 lead.

The Lions quickly hit back. A move in midfield appeared innocuous enough when Henco van Wyk collected a pass, but when Matt Currie and James Lang both failed to put him down, space opened up in front of him and he raced clear to the line. Lombard’s conversion levelled the scores.

Right on the hour mark Edinburgh went in front again when Ben Muncaster

finished off a lineout maul, with Boffelli adding the two points. But there was still a lot of fight left in the Lions, and they got their own third try five minutes later when No 8 Franke Horn finished off from close range. Lombard’s conversion drew the Lions level once more.

Seven minutes from time a hack ahead deep into Edinburgh territory ended with Graham being penalised for not releasing - and also limping off injured. Lombard scored to make it 22-19 for the Lions.

- Edinburgh’s first Champions Cup Pool A game of the season away to Saracens will be on Sunday 11 December, kicking off at 3.15pm. They are at home to Castres on Saturday 17, with a 1pm start, then head to France for the reverse fixture on Sunday 15 January, when kick-off is also at 1pm British time (2pm local). The pool stage concludes with the home game against Saracens on Sunday 22 at 5.30pm.


Scorers: Edinburgh: Tries: Mata, Graham, Muncaster. Cons: Boffelli 2.

Lions: Tries: Coetzee, Van Wyk, F Horn. Cons: Lombard 2. Pen: Lombard.

Edinburgh: H Immelman; D Graham (C Savala 74), M Currie (C Dean 61), J Lang, E Boffelli; B Kinghorn, H Pyrgos; B Venter (P Schoeman 47), S McInally (D Cherry 6), L de Bruin (W Nel 38), G Young (M Sykes 24-34, 60), G Gilchrist (captain), L Crosbie, H Watson (B Muncaster 47), V Mata.

Lions: A Coetzee; S Pienaar, H van Wyk, M Louw, Q Horn; G Lombard (J Hendrikse 74), S Nohamba (M van den Berg 50); S Sithole (JP Smith 55), PJ Botha (J Visagie 47), R Dreyer (R Smith 55), P Jansen van Vuren (E Tshituka 78), R Nothnagel (captain), S Sangweni (R Straeuli 56), R Venter, F Horn.

Referee: A Piardi (Italy).

Attendance: 5,860.