Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Edinburgh 22- 27 Treviso

Tonight’s 4000-odd Edinburgh fans were greeted with a frustrating opening quarter against a stuffy Treviso side inside a very chilly Murrayfield Stadium. Unfazed by the unusually excitable crowd, the Italians brought a typical physicality which more than made up for their lack of flair. Things started brightly with a successful Greig Laidlaw penalty but quickly deteriorated with some questionable refereeing constantly disrupting the flow of the game. At one point Treviso were given four free kicks in a row in open play followed by a penalty for a squint feed, each decision not only questionable but also completely indecipherable as the Italian referee took it upon himself to develop his own set of hand signals. Looking increasingly like he was doing ‘the timewarp’ at every breakdown the only clear message he was giving was that most things were the fault of the Edinburgh players. Things took a decisive turn on the 25 minute mark with the sin binning of W P Nel for a foul in the scrum and went further south five minutes later with a soft looking penalty try, converted by Di Bernardo. Treviso were certainly making life difficult with some hard headed rugby and a barrel load of grunt.

Down to 14 men Edinburgh entered into a savvy kicking game with Italians in which Tonks quickly proved his worth. A lengthy stoppage and subsequent scrum was shipped left by David Denton through hands and out to the unstoppable Tim Visser who turned on the afterburners and scored his requisite try in the corner. Laidlaw converted and Nel returned to the field.  A penalty from a line out infringement saw Di Bernardo bring the score to 10-10. Then on the stroke half-time Edinburgh aimed the pistol firmly at their foot and pulled the trigger. A dropped pass to Laidlaw on the home 22 was scooped up by Treviso number eight Bardieri who thundered up the centre of the paddock to score under the posts. Once again Di Bernardo was on the mark to take Edinburgh into the changing rooms 17-10 down.

The second-half opened with the news that Tonks was injured and replaced by Dougie Fife. Immediately on the front foot, Treviso had Edinburgh in all sorts of bother in the opening exchanges with the majority of the first five minutes played inside the Edinburgh 22. The first piece of true fighting spirit from Edinburgh was just that, a punch up, following the award of a penalty to Treviso. As the steam rose from the players heads, Di Bernardo ignored the posturing and beautifully struck his kick between the posts to give the Italians a 20-10 lead. Looking rattled, Edinburgh invited Treviso onto them again and yet more Italian pressure led to another dust up and another penalty to the Italians. Going for territory Treviso forced a couple of five metre scrums whilst Edinburgh responded by calling in Welsh duo Richie Rees and John Yapp. Several resets some more questionable refereeing and Treviso are awarded a penalty which Di Bernardo uncharacteristically missed. If that was the let off to kickstart the Edinburgh revival then the players missed the opportunity. Shortly after, following some more Italian pressure a clearance kick was charged down, scored and converted by Di Bernardo.  The game seemed to be slipping away from Edinburgh at 27-10.

However, after a solid restart Edinburgh broke away and Lee Jones exposed the lack of width in the Treviso game plan to scorch in a try on the left wing. Laidlaw’s conversion rattled off the posts to leave the score at 27-15. Denton and Roddy Grant were replaced by Ross Rennie and Netani Talei and a huge Edinburgh scrummage was the immediate reward. Suddenly it was the men in black who looked dangerous. With Rees bossing things Laidlaw was able to thrive under good service and his running game was beginning to creep into the Edinburgh attack. Even the ref was impressed, as he awarded the home side a decision for once. Shrewdly opting for the scrum the Murrayfield forwards had the tired Benetton side well and truly mastered in the set piece. A series of front row infringements saw replacement prop De Marchi sent to the bin and more turning of the screw in the scrum. The pressure exerted on Treviso couldn’t continue and eventually (after five needless resets!) the referee inexplicably gave the decision to the reversing Italian pack.  Rees did well to snaffle their ball at the base of the scrum and the pressure from the Scots continued. Penalty in the 22 on 70 minutes and Laidlaw sent the ball to the stand. Somehow Treviso held firm and cleared their lines and time was quickly slipping away from Edinburgh. Another scrum, another Italian infringement and Laidlaw once again goes for the line out. This time Edinburg were more clinical with Titterall on at Hooker. Opting to move the ball from tramline to tramline Edinburgh patience was eventually rewarded with a Treviso scrum for another mystery aberration and the Italians cleared.  Some more pressure from Edinburgh after another scintillating Jones break led to a good finish from full-back Fife. Laidlaw converted for 27-22 to Treviso with two minutes left to play. A promising late kick chase by Visser wasn’t quite enough to grab anything from the game and the Italians deservedly left the pitch with all the points.

Whilst it cannot be understated how poor the referee was tonight, Edinburgh had all the weapons at their disposal on the pitch to take a team like Treviso apart and failed miserably to execute any of them. It was sadly indicative that Richie Rees was by far the best players in the Edinburgh ranks and he only played a mere 30 minutes. A result at home like this, with the strength of team selected by coach Michael Bradley is a huge disappointment and you begin to wonder how much longer it will take for this new look Edinburgh team to gel. On the basis of tonight, the men from Murrayfield still have a very long way to go

4 Responses

  1. It has to be said though, that despite Edinburgh not helping themselves at times, many a promising breakout from the 22 was frustrated by this referee. He literally strangled this match. And why an Italian referee?? Or a Scottish one for that matter? Why couldn’t this guy have gone to the Scarlet-Dragons game to learn his trade and the Welsh official for that match come up to Muurayfield? At times, the appointment of referees in the Rabo Pro is bizarre to say the least. OK, I’ll say it. I think he was biased as well as inept. The failure to award Edinburgh a penalty try in cicrumstances virtually identical (including the yellow card!) to the one he awarded to Treviso in the first half is just one example.

  2. The decision that really baffled me was when Laidlaw took the quick tap, got tackled by a player who hasnt retreated 10, tried to pass, only for another player who hadnt retreated from where the penalty was awarded to intercept it, and they got advantage for it?

  3. Suggested (in a friendly way) to one of the Treviso guys who wasn’t playing that having the ref on your team was a good tactic, he agreed with me.

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion