Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Gloucester 10-16 Edinburgh

Greig Tonks
Greig Tonks - pic © Al Ross

As Glasgow sunk to another defeat, faint hope turned to Edinburgh to salvage some sort of good feeling from the last two weekends of Heineken Cup action. And it was faint indeed, with Edinburgh’s recent record in Europe miserable save for a snatched victory over Munster and their away record in all competitions equally poor this season.

Alan Solomons sent out a team to play Gloucester at Kingsholm almost unrecognisable from the one that flourished two seasons ago in this competition. Goal kicker? Jack Cuthbert. Standoff? Greig Tonks. Other Scots? Not too many.

Didn’t fill you with confidence.

Edinburgh though, had clearly worked on their defence since last weekend’s defeat to the same opposition, and for once their tactical approach was spot on.

They may be Scottish only in small parts, but today they played with the heart we expect from a Scottish team.

The conditions were wet and miserable as the game kicked off, and they kept their defensive shape, kicking plenty of high balls to the talented Gloucester backs and playing the territory. When the high balls came back, Cuthbert fielded them excellently; his Two Stooges moment with Tonks last week long forgotten. His goal kicking too was excellent in the conditions, save for one comical scuff caused by a slipping ball – and even that ended up in an Edinburgh scrum.

As conditions improved later in the game, Edinburgh opened up a bit and their effort to retain possession and careful offloading made Gloucester’s attempts to chase the game very difficult in front of an abrasive Shed crowd. Meanwhile the home team didn’t play to their strengths; their driving maul blew Edinburgh apart for their try, but they tried the running game too often instead.

So it wasn’t the Gloucester of old, but this was an important win for Edinburgh nonetheless. They’ve been criticised for the amount of imported players, and it was one of those men Ben Atiga who took his try well, while another in Grayson Hart was the heartbeat (geddit) of the Edinburgh performance. He tackled like (late withdrawl) Laidlaw would, but his slightly extra size allows him that extra bit of power in the tackle and he was a constant presence in all areas of the pitch. He looked totally assured behind the ruck too, rather than stuttering to decide which way to take play next.

Cornell Du Preez was also excellent, as were Scots Roddy Grant, Cuthbert, Tonks and Dougie Fife who was unlucky not to get on the scoreboard on a couple of occasions.

The set-piece was still a worry with Ford and the props still unable to exert influence, despite Ford having generally one of his better games in the loose and even up for a bit of niggle.

Gilchrist carried well, and WP Nel almost got a try that might have denied Gloucester the bonus. With Munster ahead but the remaining three teams in Pool 6 between 7-9 points, that could have been an important knock on for someone come the closing stages.

Perhaps even for Edinburgh?

SRBlog Man of the Match: Grayson Hart

5 Responses

  1. ‘Twas a good game (though I was only able to watch till just after Atiga’s – sorry did I say Atiga? – well-taken try). Rory, do you think the team should stick with the 9, 10 and 15 from this game? Though it’s early days, they looked good and comfortable. Leonard and lately Laidlaw have really disappointed.

  2. I think Cuthbert played well enough to keep his place and if Leonard is still injured Tonks looks a viable alternative. I also agree while Laidlaw had a blinder vs Munster he’s not been amazing otherwise and Hart played well enough to retain his place, if only to reward form and performance. Vs Leinster though they really could use a bit more firepower in the backline and are missing Scott and De Luca in the centre. Where is Nikki Walker?

    1. I think Walker might have done a Fraser Thomson and dropped out of pro to focus on the club game. He’s played two (?) games for Edinburgh and then disappeared. Bit weird considering his try scoring reputation in the league and the amount of experience he has

  3. Du Preez has been a great addition to the team. Good to see Ford with a bit of fire in his belly. Cuthbert looked fairly comfortable at 15 and kicked pretty well.
    Hope Fife is considered for the scotland set up for the 6 nations with lamont and visser injured

  4. Whilst I admit the scrum was a mess I do not think you can take the props to task. As Ford himself was quite clearly heard saying to the ref the Gloucester props were not driving straight. At one scrum where Edinburgh conceded a penalty I was flabbergasted by the decision. IIRC Blaauw was off his feet but at least he was going straight and forward where as the Gloucester prop opposite ended up on the deck at 90 degrees to the rest of the scrum.

    The way the scrum is officiated (and how all the pundits who have never had a squad number lower than 10 commentate on it) is laughable. There’s no easy solution…well actually there is one. Applying the letter of the law to all aspects of the game and not concentrating on the IRB’s latest this week we want you to make sure {insert random nitpick that top level coaches are complaining about here}.

    Anyhoo, great defensive effort by Edinburgh and I honestly thought the try machine that is Nel had done it again.

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion