Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Edinburgh 20-33 Leinster

Hamish Watson - pic © Al Ross
Hamish Watson - pic © Al Ross

It seemed like the best possible start, but the clues were there. Edinburgh came flying out of the blocks, and after Phil Burleigh threaded a well weighted grubber kick in behind Leinster on almost their first attack, Michael Allen dove on to the ball to score. In the act of doing so, he managed to perform a neck roll on himself and was unsettled for the remaining time he was on the pitch.

They don’t make things easy on themselves, Edinburgh.

The try was swiftly followed by a Weir penalty and it was 8-0 after five and a half minutes. Murrayfield’s small crowd could scarcely believe it.

When Leinster did respond – and they did – it was an innocuous push off the defensive line from Grant Gilchrist that left a gaping hole for Leinster’s 7 Dan Leavy to jog through for an all too easy try. Edinburgh’s first mistake, punished harshly. It wouldn’t be their last.

Leinster’s second try was patiently worked by the pack from an attacking lineout before Garry Ringrose skirted round the defence to put the visitors in the lead.

After 20 minutes, Allen succumbed to his scoring somersault and Blair Kinghorn came on, pushing Bryce to the wing. Viliami Fihaki was providing what Edinburgh have lacked this season: front foot ball. But there were too many mistakes and Leinster were too clinical, coming away with a try on almost every incursion into Edinburgh’s 22; there was another try from Nacewa after 25 minutes.

Edinburgh had started better than they had all season but Leinster’s defensive line was more than capable of handling it, up fast every time and denying Fowles and Weir any time to control things or find the holes that Glasgow did last weekend.

It was frustrating stuff from Edinburgh, especially as one foul play from Tom Brown put both teams on a warning despite the majority of the iffy tackles to that point having been made by the boys in neon yellow.

Leinster came back on with the pressure and again it was patient play from the forwards until Jamie Gibson Park spurted through Nathan Fowles’ tackle for the 4th try and the bonus.

Gilchrist was yellow carded just before half time and Leinster had a sniff at a 5th try with a scrum in Edinburgh’s half, but a seven man shove led by WP Nel held firm to take them into half time.

HT: Edinburgh 8-26 Leinster

Nobody told Hamish Watson he was participating in a drubbing and he came out charging in the second half with a carry almost half the length of the pitch, handing off Leinster tacklers left right and centre. Weir kicked for the corner but the pack were unable to break the line. A Leinster penalty handed them a second chance but once again Edinburgh were too ponderous, too ineffectual and too easily pushed off their own ball.

The referee assisted by yellow carding Leavy for a pretty innocuous tip tackle on Fowles and Edinburgh persisted attacking the Leinster line until Hamish Watson earned a reward for his hard work with Edinburgh’s second try. The home side had another good attacking chance with Watson again to the fore and Glenn Bryce denied by a foot in touch. The pressure was expected with a man advantage but Edinburgh would have wanted more from 4 penalties, all kicked to the corner. 12 points would have put them in the lead.

They had far more attacking chances in a much improved second half but again the last pass let them down. A smart break from Blair Kinghorn who once again impressed in attack almost cut Leinster open, but the visitors scramble defence was equally smart and the best Edinburgh earned was a scrum.

All that second half pressure finally paid off with a Magnus Bradbury try, which brought Edinburgh within 6 points even as Duncan Weir missed a conversion in front of the posts.

Given the first half, the possibility of a bonus point seemed like almost a miracle and sadly the cruel mirage that gave Edinburgh hope was snatched away o the final moments of the game, Dan Leavy crashing over for a try as Leinster woke up for just the bare minimum amount of time required to leave Edinburgh with nothing.

The players will be gutted to come away with nothing, but Edinburgh’s lapses cost them and they still look like individuals in attack. Cut out the lapses and they will at least be hard to beat, which would be a start.

SRBlog Man of the Match: Hamish Watson emerged head and shoulders above the other Edinburgh players. Strong efforts from Ben Toolis, Kinghorn and Weir while Kevin Bryce and Sttuart McInally battled hard when they came off the bench.

17 Responses

  1. I’m sorry, but it really is time for Alan Solomons to go. Edinburgh have been bumbling around in the mid/lower league table for too long now. The SRU are providing more than adequate support for Edinburgh Rugby and the players aren’t responding to an adequate level.

    1. I doubt there’s anyone who disagrees that Solomons time is up. The key is to find the right person to replace him, not just a knee jerk. I know it needs team building, and obviously at the moment not as attractive as Glasgow, but a bit of patience now (we are already 3 games into the season and I can’t see a newbie turning these guys into a top 4 side) in terms of getting the right candidate will pay dividends.

      I’m sure the SRU are looking, and for sure they got lucky that Toonie had connections with Rennie. Nonetheless it does show that top coaches will think about coming to Scotland, even though it might want a big stretch of the imagination.

  2. No doubt this’ll be Solomons last in charge. Edinburgh mixed the hopeless with some very good stuff but they don’t look like a side who’ve had a coach for three full seasons already. Regardless of our shortcomings, Watson was a joy to watch and I hope he makes an appearance in Scotland colours this season. Kinghorn looked class too.

  3. Get the new coaching team signed up and in the door now. Solomons is a dead man walking as far as the squad are concerned judging by this display. A few individuals are trying but rugby is a team game and Edinburgh have not been a functioning team for many years. The move to Myreside is an opportunity to build a distinct identity and grow the club, something Glasgow have done successfully.

  4. Agree re Watson, definately upped his game – looks like this could be the season he pushes hard for a move to Glasgow. Also think Bradbury might be ready for the step up as well.

  5. There was something all too familiar about this performance, particularly missing the bonus point in the final moment. It did feel that this was a game that Edinburgh had the pressure and opportunities to win, but were lacking the composure and clinical mindset to ever do so. It feels like the group of players are ready to step up, but the coaching isn’t in place to take them to the next level. The great positive was indeed Hamish Watson, who is a delight to watch and plays like a possessed dervish. I don’t really fancy him moving along the road personally… He does have an x-factor that Fusaro does not though, so I can see the logic in not having Scotland’s potential 1st and 2nd choice (if Hamish can establish himself at that level) playing in the same team.

    1. With Smith and Fagerson coming through at 7 for Glasgow and Hardie likely to move on at the end of the year, Watson is better off with Edinburgh.

      1. Cheers bud. I had no idea he had a younger brother. Smith looks a tasty prospect. If only we had another pro side to give a pathway for the youngsters the academies will produce. Anybody got a spare 5 mil to start up a team?

      2. Aside from the money not being there, I don’t want another pro team; at least not yet. In my eyes it makes more sense to invest all available funding to make both of our current teams more competetive. In truth Glasgow are doing very well, but Edinburgh are majorly underachieving. The key to improving Scottish rugby is firstly to get more public interest, and nothing will be more conducive to that than success on the pitch. See how Glasgow’s attendances have exploded over the past few years; Edinburgh has an even greater potential fanbase considering the demographics. Second, making our players accustomed to winning is desirable. I don’t think spreading our resources too thinly by establishing another team to be the league whipping-boys is a good idea.

        Dodson and co are going about it the right way; now we just need to get a coach with a similar philosophy to Townsend and Rennie for Edinburgh…

  6. Good coaches get a team to exceed the sum of their individual parts. This team seems to demonstrate the absolute opposite. A few exceptional individual performances ( Watson, Kinghorn the stand outs ) , but I despaired at some of the basic skills. A lot of the passing was so woeful, and the amount of possession Embra had and failed to convert into points was criminal. Tom Brown will be on the phone to Visser shortly. On pitch leadership is lacking and desperately needed. And SHC -what on earth has gone wrong there ?

  7. Hamish Watson was in a class of his own on Friday. For all Edinburgh are not fulfilling their potential , the Watson inspred second half was encouraging despite the howlers.

    Edinburgh were a banana skin for Glasgow last season and have the capability to pull off a big scalp.

    I notice the last fixture of the season is Edinburgh v Glasgow moving away from the mid winter back to back.

    I for one am pleased Glasgow will know what they have to do by the time they Play Edinburgh away.

    1. The last couple of seasons Edinburgh have collapsed in the second half of the calendar. Last year they were in play off positions after new year and 8th by the end. Playing them last is perfect for Glasgow as if Edinburgh are true to form they will have run out of steam by then.

      1. That is sort of what I mean. Last season Glasgow lost twice at Murrayfield. The last game against the Edinburgh bench will be even better.

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion