Jump to main content


Impressive Bonus Point Win Sees Wolfhounds Topple Edinburgh

Impressive Bonus Point Win Sees Wolfhounds Topple Edinburgh

Number 8 Brittany Hogan dives over to score the Wolfhounds' bonus point try against Edinburgh Rugby at the Hive Stadium ©Ewan Bootman/SNS Group

The five-try Wolfhounds knocked Edinburgh Rugby off the top of the Celtic Challenge table, with Aoife Wafer touching down twice in a 27-17 bonus point victory for Neill Alcorn’s side.


Saturday, January 6 –

Scorers: Edinburgh Rugby: Tries: Emma Orr 2, Cieron Bell; Con: Briar McNamara
Wolfhounds: Tries: Sarah Delaney, Natasja Behan, Aoife Wafer 2, Brittany Hogan; Con: Dannah O’Brien
HT: Edinburgh Rugby 7 Wolfhounds 15

Match Photo Gallery: Edinburgh Rugby 17 Wolfhounds 27

Having gone behind to an Emma Orr score, the Wolfhounds patiently hit back with three tries between the 17th and 37th minutes to lead 15-7 at half-time at the Hive Stadium.

Maul efforts from Sarah Delaney and Wafer sandwiched a Natasja Behan try in the right corner, as the visitors turned the tables on the fast-starting Scots in terms of possession and territory.

Buoyed by last week’s 28-12 triumph over Glasgow Warriors, Edinburgh failed to curb the influence of player-of-the-match Dannah O’Brien and the powerful Wolfhounds pack. Captain Hannah O’Connor and Linda Djougang left a big physical imprint on the game.

Brittany Hogan barrelled over for a 43rd-minute bonus point try, which O’Brien converted, and her tireless back row colleague Wafer added her second of the afternoon, just entering the final quarter.

Edinburgh did muster a strong finish, with the elusive Cieron Bell and Orr both scoring late on, but the Wolfhounds made it back-to-back wins ahead of next Saturday’s return trip to Scotland to play Glasgow.

Edinburgh mounted an early onslaught in front of their home crowd, with their maul doing some damage before a quickly-taken penalty was foiled by a counter ruck and a Leah Tarpey turnover.

Lively prop Djougang also showed her breakdown skills to break up another pacy Scottish attack, and although O’Brien missed touch twice, the visitors emerged unscathed from a breathless opening eight minutes.

The Wolfhounds made inroads from their first serious attack, with Wafer breaking away from a maul and fellow Wexford woman Katie Whelan sniping in behind from a ruck to send Edinburgh scrambling backwards.

However, it was the home side who grabbed the lead in the 13th minute. Briar McNamara used scrum possession to tear downfield and offload superbly for her centre partner Orr to outpace the chasers from 35 metres out. McNamara also converted.

Despite a Wolfhounds lineout not working out after successive penalties, they made sure that their next maul opportunity ended in their opening score.

A well-controlled 18th-minute drive, from 12 metres out, saw teenage hooker Delaney pick up her second try of the tournament. It went unconverted, but the Wolfhounds were soon making ground again through Aimee Clarke, out wide and through midfield.

Wafer charged into open space from a ruck and Djougang was held up from close range. With O’Brien orchestrating things, Alcorn’s charges soon came hunting again.

Djougang went close but there was no denying winger Behan in the right corner, following quick passes from O’Brien and Ella Durkan. The Wolfhounds were in double figures, leading 10-7.

Edinburgh’s centres threatened soon after, with McNamara carving through but Orr knocked on the pass this time with Wafer giving chase. A booming kick from O’Brien caused trouble for Rachel Philipps, allowing Durkan to snatch up the loose ball.

A late bout of pressure saw Delaney, having seen her last lineout stolen, force a turnover penalty. She connected with Eimear Corri with her next throw, setting up Wafer to power over for a deserved try. O’Brien missed her third conversion from out wide.

When play resumed, Hogan displayed her Sevens pace to strike for the bonus point try. Good hands put replacement Éadaoin Murtagh into space, another penalty landed Edinburgh back near their own line, and Whelan released the Ulster back rower to crash over.

The left-footed O’Brien was pinpoint accurate with the conversion from the left, opening up a 22-7 advantage, Djougang continued to impress in the loose, hoovering up another turnover and being first to a scrappy ball as Edinburgh’s attack stuttered.

A Wolfhounds pass unfortunately went to ground, meaning Aoife Dalton was unable to turn an overlap into a fifth try. As the Scots attempted to fire back, the newly-introduced Niamh Marley had to react quickly to prevent a breakout.

Nearing the hour mark, Hogan and Whelan combined off a scrum to send the Wolfhounds roaring back into the opposition 22. Behan and Djougang got on the ball again, but McNamara snapped up a crucial turnover for Edinburgh who then won a clearing penalty.

However, the Scottish outfit conceded in the 61st minute when Behan fought hard to regain possession, Dalton exploited some space on the left, and the forwards took over, chipping away with carries before Wafer barged over to complete her brace.

Lifting the tempo in response, Edinburgh were thwarted twice when Fiona McIntosh was held up past the try-line, and then Marley brilliantly forced Nicole Flynn into touch to deny her a certain try.

The hosts’ lineout let them down twice – Wolfhounds replacement Keelin Brady stole the second throw – but speedy winger Bell took advantage of some missed tackles to score in the left corner.

A clever kick from O’Brien almost created an opportunist try for Marley, who was closed down by Edinburgh captain Sarah Denholm. Indeed, it was the Scots who scored in the final minute when Orr used a burst of pace and a fend to go over in the right corner.

EDINBURGH RUGBY: Rachel Philipps (Watsonian FC); Hannah Walker (Edinburgh University), Emma Orr (Heriot’s Blues/Biggar RFC), Briar McNamara (Watsonian FC), Cieron Bell (Edinburgh University); Sarah Denholm (Edinburgh University) (capt), Jenny Maxwell (Loughborough Lightning); Panashe Muzambe (Exeter Chiefs), Nicola Haynes (Saracens), Molly Poolman (Watonian FC), Fiona McIntosh (Saracens), Natasha Logan (Edinburgh University), Gemma Bell (Hartpury University), Alex Stewart (Corstorphine Cougars), Merryn Gunderson (Corstorphine Cougars).

Replacements: Millie Whitehouse (Edinburgh University), Poppy Fletcher (Edinburgh University), Katie Lindsay (Corstorphine Cougars), Adelle Ferrie (Corstorphine Cougars), Freya Walker (Watsonian FC), Leia Brebner-Holden (Gloucester-Hartpury/Cheltenham Tigers), Nicole Marlow (Cardiff Met), Nicole Flynn (Edinburgh University).

WOLFHOUNDS: Ella Durkan (Blackrock College RFC/Ulster); Natasja Behan (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster), Aoife Dalton (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster), Leah Tarpey (Railway Union RFC/Leinster), Aimee Clarke (Railway Union RFC/Leinster); Dannah O’Brien (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster), Katie Whelan (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster); Linda Djougang (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster), Sarah Delaney (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster), Sophie Barrett (Enniskillen RFC/Railway Union RFC/Ulster), Fiona Tuite (Old Belvedere RFC/Ulster), Eimear Corri (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster), Hannah O’Connor (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster) (capt), Aoife Wafer (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster), Brittany Hogan (Old Belvedere RFC/Ulster).

Replacements: Maebh Clenaghan (Queen’s University Belfast RFC/Ulster), Aoife Moore (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster), Hannah Wilson (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster), Keelin Brady (Railway Union RFC/Ulster), Éadaoin Murtagh (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster), Erin McConnell (Wicklow RFC/Leinster), Nikki Caughey (Railway Union RFC/Leinster), Niamh Marley (Dungannon RFC/Cooke RFC/Ulster).

Referee: Michael Todd (SRU)