Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Edinburgh 16-31 Leinster

R12-Edinburgh v Leinster

Edinburgh took to a chilly Murrayfield to face off with the European Champions Leinster low in confidence and low on wins. The visitors had obviously done their homework on Edinburgh’s habit of sleepy starts, and came blasting out of the blocks with the full bag of handling tricks played at what for Scotland fans would appear to be a frightening pace.

They obviously fancied a bonus point in the first half hour and then a relaxing run through some backline moves ahead of the Heineken Cup pool deciders in coming weeks. As it was Edinburgh finally started a game at full pace, although for them that still involves the odd knock on, silly penalties and a scrum blowing hot and cold – although much of that could be put down to oblivious refereeing.

Still, it was only 3-3 after half an hour, and the next score was a dubious penalty try for a maul offence that also put David Denton in the sin-bin. Leinster put their foot on the pedal briefly and Gordon D’Arcy grabbed another try. Ten minutes just before half time, and that would ultimately be their undoing.

Edinburgh came out much the same in the second half, trying hard but getting nowhere as Leinster were comfortable in their defence.

Tim Visser has been having to look for work of late in the absence of his partner in crime Nick De Luca, and he went seeking a big hit to set the crowd buzzing, which it did. Despite the tackle’s textbook appearance he did himself a mischief and went off. Hopefully nothing too serious, from a Scotland point of view. This time last year the Scotland team would have been all Edinburgh. Now they’ll be lucky to get Visser and Laidlaw in, never mind that Ford hasn’t played for a few weeks and a guy the size of Denton seems to get bullied backwards.

Shane Jennings samba danced through the Edinburgh defence and made the simplest of passes to put Jonny Sexton over the line. Leinster were chasing the bonus but it just took them a little longer to achieve it, Ian Madigan going over on 67 minutes after Edinburgh had turned it over in attack despite being a man to the good.

The home side put together some spirited attack as Laidlaw, Scott and Piers Francis found some gaps to attack. The try of the match was probably WP Nel selling a dummy and coasting over from 40 metres which at least gave the crowd something to cheer as Edinburgh had their tails up from then until the final whistle – as usual a bit too late.

It was ultimately not enough to trouble a Leinster side who may be struggling on the league table but are still mighty confident in their own abilities, come the big game or small.

Man of the Match: Sean O Brien. As usual, tackled anything that moved. Gordon D’Arcy had a surprisingly good game too, as did WP Nel for Edinburgh.

1 Response

  1. Terrible game to watch.

    Can a law be passed by parliament banning kicking in Scottish rugby at all levels. To have Lee Jones on the sideline passing on what was obviously the team tactics – not going to get through them on the first couple of phases because Leinster don’t commit to the breakdown therefore retain it for a few then look to exploit gaps – yet what happened? – kick kick kick.

    Now there is a certainly a place for kicking in the game but pick up the phone and ask Matt Taylor when you should kick and why. 1) when you can compete for the ball in the air and have at least a 50/50 chance of getting it back. 2) For position to put the ball into touch in their red zone. 3) when you are trying to entice them to kick back and you are set up to counter attack

    To my recollection there were only two instances of situation 1 and one of them involved Visser win the ball unopposed in the air but instead of catching it he bats it down into touch??

    One instance of 3 but it was more by accident than design that there were so many players back or retiring into a counter attack formation but what happened? Instead of looking to run the ball it was hoofed straight back down the field by the person who caught it

    Defence – The role of the pillar (the man next to the breakdown) is a zone defence. He is responsible for the area in front of him even after the ball has left it. He is responsible for covering the inside pass yet where was the huge hole that Leinster exploited at will with the inside pass? That is a coaching and defensive system problem that Leinster obviously saw from game film

    Phase attack – same old same old Scottish rugby with forwards littered through the backline and no options to take the ball flat and break or even bend the gain line and no unobstructed path to backs to attack wide if that is the option – end result forwards getting the ball flat footed – Denton was a classic – miles from the gain line and next to no backline runs with more than 2 passes between backs

    On the subject of Denton who is a superb athlete but sadly has not appeared to have learnt from his experience v the ABs, that if you run straight at a man they are going to put you on your backside and that you have to run at branches not the trunk if you are to break the line and then have a chance of getting an offload away

    Offloads – this was something Leinster did very well with some slick short passing especially to the inside but in the second half when Edinburgh started to make some line breaks it was invariably the man who made the break who ended up on the deck with the ball despite there being at least 1 support runner available for the offload every time

    To sum up, on that performance Edinburgh would struggle against a Brisbane Premier Grade side. Sad but true

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion