Rugby can be a silly game sometimes. Months of training, coaching and analysis, games plans formed, key players identified, opposition weaknesses highlighted and set pieces honed. 35 seconds from kick off and that all goes out the window – you end up with 30 grown men playing British Bulldogs with the addition of a ball.
Friday night at Murrayfield was a phenomenal game of rugby, a great advert for free flowing, heads up attaching rugby. I hope our cousins in the Southern Hemisphere got longer highlights of this game than we did (shame on you Sky!) as it was a game that matched the best the Super 15 can offer.
First try after 35 seconds. 8 minutes it was 17–3 to Edinburgh. Half Time it was 20-31 to Racing. Minutes into the second half Racing had put on another 16 points. At the final whistle Edinburgh had reversed all this to bring the tally of points to a total of 95, Edinburgh 48 Racing Metro 47. This was an out of control steam train, starting fast and only getting faster.
Speaking after the game Edinburgh winger Tim Visser described the game as “an emotional rollercoaster” adding that the comeback was “stunning, just incredible”.
As sporting drama goes this is a game that will live long in the memory. Edinburgh had clawed their way back into the game through hard work and a will to attack from anywhere. With just a couple of minutes to go Tim Visser scored his second try of the evening, touching down in the corner to bring the game back to 46-47. With Greig Laidlaw facing a difficult conversion the victory was far from sealed. Visser said “I didn’t even want to look on the way back, I walked back to our half and I didn’t dare turn around. He (Laidlaw) has shown he can do it over the last couple of months, kicking conversions like that. It shows what type of player he is, his composure is incredible and he doesn’t seem to feel the pressure at all”.
Credit has to be given to both teams; they played with flair and with a total disregard for simple things like defending. I doubt many of the 5000 plus attending will ever has seen a better game and it can only be hoped that most will make the effort to come back for future games. The atmosphere was, generally, electric. The French fans turned up in decent numbers, all with flags to bring a bit of colour and a sense of occasion. The move to allow fans around the sidelines has been, in my opinion, a complete success. It allows a more traditional pitch side view of the game and helps to spread the atmosphere around.
When asked whether this was the best atmosphere he has played in at Murrayfield, Visser said “Definitely. It’s great to have supporters around and we can’t thank them enough”. The big winger added “when we got back into contention the noise helped us a lot”. It can only be hoped that the fans will continue to turn out and provide this support at future games. Game’s like Friday’s will certainly help encourage old fans to return and new fans to come and see what the fuss is about!