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Edinburgh fall short of South African double

By PA
James Lang of Edinburgh with the ball during the United Rugby Championship match between Emirates Lions and Edinburgh (Photo by Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Edinburgh failed to complete a South African double as they slipped to a 15-9 defeat by the Lions in Johannesburg.

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Mike Blair’s men had become the first northern hemisphere side to win on South African soil this season when they triumphed over the Sharks in Durban last weekend.

However, they came up short at Emirates Airline Park as the Lions maintained their resurgence with a fourth consecutive United Rugby Championship triumph.

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RFU Belonging – Back in the Game
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RFU Belonging – Back in the Game

Jordan Hendrikse and Vincent Tshituka touched down for the hosts, while Edinburgh were limited to nine points from the boots of Henry Immelman and Emiliano Boffelli.

Immelman opened the scoring with a monster drop goal in the 12th minute, making the most of the thin Johannesburg air to split the posts from around halfway after collecting Hendrikse’s goal-line drop-out.

The effort produced the only points of a tight opening quarter and Hendrikse was off target with a penalty from similar range in the 21st minute.

Boffelli doubled Edinburgh’s advantage from a penalty after 28 minutes, but that lead was reduced to one point soon after.

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Morne Van Den Berg made decent ground before getting an excellent offload to Edwill Van Der Merwe, who charged down the wing and passed back inside for Hendrikse to finish.

The fly-half could not convert and the Lions trailed at the break after Van Den Berg failed to chase down his own kick having broken Edinburgh’s defensive line.

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Blair Kinghorn had a try disallowed for a Ben Vellacott knock-on in the build-up eight minutes into the second half, before Edinburgh lost Magnus Bradbury to the sin bin for tackling his man without the ball.

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The Lions quickly punished their visitors when a tidy exchange of passes following a line-out drive sent Tshituka over, with Hendrikse adding the extras – his first successful kick in three attempts.

A Boffelli penalty pulled Edinburgh back within three, but Hendrikse followed it up with one of his own to keep the visitors at arm’s length.

The Lions defence held firm to see out the closing minutes and a debatable knock-on call against Boffelli thwarted Edinburgh’s last real chance to put the home side under pressure.

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