1. Good on the SRU and the Daily Record
After helping broadcast one of the less “desirable” tour matches in the summer, the Daily Record’s involvement in bringing hidden games to light by way of live streaming on YouTube is unequivocally a good thing. Sure, the Greenyards could have been busier on Saturday but it’s unlikely that there were spots on the grassy banks vacant because people knew they could watch it at home on the Record website. Conversely, those of us a bit further afield were able to catch it live or delayed and watch some action we would otherwise have missed – I believe this is the first pre-season friendly to have any sort of coverage. Not only that, but coverage with Bill Johnston commentating; proper old school. Credit also to Melrose and the SRU for the special double-header match.
2. If you must go down under, go to NZ…
Nick McLennan illustrates perhaps why if the Alan Solomons and the SRU absolutely have to go rooting about in the Southern hemisphere for Scots qualified (or otherwise) players, New Zealand should really be the only hunting ground of choice. The fullback made a few good wee breaks, tackled hard and looked to take the ball on plenty of times.
3. …But on the other hand
Sean Kennedy and debutant prop Rory Sutherland went well. Sutherland and ex-Worcester Warriors man John Andress gave Leicester a few troubles in the scrum in particular in the first half, which was refreshing to see as Sutherland is now one of Edinburgh’s few remaining Scottish-produced props. It was also great to see Fraser Mackenzie offering himself up with the same physicality that was his hallmark before he left Edinburgh previously and he could potentially form a very competitive second row with Grant Gilchrist this season.
4. Competition for places may be on the up
Particularly at 10, and in the back row. Cornell Du Preez is still a machine, Roddy Grant still tackles everything (and grabbed a very popular try) but young Hamish Watson could be looking at a breakthrough season, showing the same level of enthusiasm for the nitty-gritty as his counterparts and giving a good account of himself against international players such as Tom Croft, Julian Salvi and Roberto Barbieri. With Tom Heathcote and Greig Tonks also giving us a genuine chance that Bezuidenhout won’t hold down the 10 shirt all season we could finally see an Edinburgh challenger rise to compete the Jackson-Weir-Russell dominance of the short at International level.
5. We probably didn’t learn all that much
It was a friendly after all. This Leicester – despite the presence of Freddie Burns, Croft, Manu Tuilagi, Ben Youngs and Geoff Parling – were some way off the pace of what Tigers fans would expect come the business end of the season. Nonetheless they were constantly trying things, keeping the Edinburgh defence honest and for the most part they kept their shape and made their tackles.
With any luck, at least our hopes for Edinburgh might be brighter than the schizophrenic and at times utterly depressing scenes of last season.