Edinburgh finally reversed the losing streak that has dogged them since the end of last season, and did so in some style against a Leinster team that boasted most of its all-star Lions (save for Nathan Hines) returning to action just in time for the start of the season, I mean um, the Heineken Cup. Oh, and Tim Visser scored. Again.The only significant changes were Ross Rennie and David Blair coming into the team and while Rennie was beavering away in the back row, I think it might have been David Blair that was the difference. For starters his older brother finally showed up, with several little breaks and a nifty Toony Flip (there is no Gaelic for “Toony Flip”) to put Geoff Cross in under the posts for Edinburgh’s first try. He would still need to improve a bit to oust Rory Lawson from the starters berth IMHO (although see Injury Update below) for Scotland, but it is heartening to see him with a bit of confidence to try things.
His younger brother David – safe in the knowledge that if he plays well, World Class Phil’s injury could serve to reboot his rugby career – put in a man of the match performance with some accurate kicking, and organised his attack well. The final bonus point try for Edinburgh saw the Blair brothers combine on a quick tap penalty close to the line (of the sort that almost never works), Mike sending David over the whitewash after Leinster bought the fly-half’s dummy. That may be the best possible indicator that David Blair aims to take his chances this season.
New fullback Tom Brown (cue jokes about his schooldays) got on to the pitch for a spell after Chris Paterson limped off (see below) but didn’t have much to do in attack. His only notable bit of defence was a late slide on Rob Kearney during the last play of the game which earned a bit of shoving. With Thompson still out, I suspect we will see more of him this weekend.
It was mostly the sense of direction that Edinburgh had – that has been missing these last few weeks – that was the most welcome returnee, however. Chunk, Ross Ford and Scott Macleod battered away the same as always but there were fewer rash offloads than usual and the Edinburgh backs found themselves with a bit more space to play in out wide, even against such a distinguished defensive line as Leinster’s. This Edinburgh side has always been fairly reasonable at scoring tries given sensible possession and they reminded us of this at the weekend. By the time Leinster staged a late charge for a bonus point – only just missing out – Edinburgh had the victory.
More of the same, please.
Injury Update: Rory Lawson has a fracture in his hand, which may put him in doubt for the Autumn tests. He suffered the injury in his Man of the Match captain’s performance against Wasps at the weekend, which they scraped 22-20 thanks to a mammoth penalty kick from Nicky Robinson. With Cusiter out till January, we need Lawson fit! A four week layoff is expected. Chris Paterson has a foot injury, and is uncertain to make the trip to play Aironi this weekend.