Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Edinburgh 45-10 Treviso

The first thing of note that happened in this encouraging performance at BT Murrayfield was a sharp break from Edinburgh standoff Jason Tovey, and the second was Rory Sutherland fumbling a short range pass; the first touch of his 50th appearance for Edinburgh.

It summed the game up quite nicely: Tovey was in a golden mood and almost everything he tried worked, while the Edinburgh front row had a torrid time.

Perhaps in danger of becoming the forgotten man of Scottish Rugby having just missed out on an Olympic place, Damien Hoyland returned from injury with an excellent performance and two first half tries. The first came when Treviso popped the ball out of their own ruck and Hoyland snatched it up before sprinting a good three quarters of the pitch for the opening score.

Hamish Watson – still keeping John Hardie out of the team – continued his strong run of form by battering through several despairing tackles for the second try. Whisper it: Edinburgh were half way to a bonus point inside 8 minutes of play.

Treviso’s Tommy Allan returned from a HIA, having been replaced by an Irishman wearing headgear and googles – parachuted into the side perhaps – and got Treviso on the board with a penalty after 20 minutes, but that was largely it in terms of rank indiscipline as Edinburgh made a very good account of themselves all night in terms of discipline and defence.

They also had spades of possession to play with and after some sustained rumbles from the pack led by captain Grant Gilchrist, a neat 1-2 by Hoyland and Michael Allen gave the Edinburgh winger his second of the night.

It was good hands from Hoyland (again) who put the ball in the control of the physical Magus Bradbury, allowing him a little space to rampage through the smallest gap – which was enough given the Italian side’s slack tackling. Tovey converted to make it 26-3 at the break, bonus point secure.

Half-time: Edinburgh 26-3 Treviso

Ewan McQuillin had been brought into the Edinburgh side as cover for the injured WP Nel and made a decent fist of things in the loose but Treviso came out in the second half holding the whip hand at the set scrum, and that continued to the end regardless of changes. For Edinburgh it was probably the big disappointment of the night, and for the Italians the sole source of comfort.

It gave them the platform for Marco Fuser’s try when the second row powered over from close range, forcing his way through the tackles of Sean Kennedy and Sutherland. Allan converted to make it 26-10 but a Treviso comeback looked distinctly unlikely even against a traditionally fragile Edinburgh side.

Instead, Edinburgh responded with intent, well marshalled by the lively Sean Kennedy while outside Jason Tovey was both a steadying hand when required or a source of inspiration when he saw an opportunity. A wobbly but expertly timed miss pass from the ex-Dragons man put Tom Brown in for their fifth try to take the scoreline back out of reach.

Watson went off looking a little unhappy with possibly a jaw injury but it allowed Hardie a full half hour to reclaim the starting shirt, and he set about it with typically high level of effort despite most of his first ten minutes being spent packing down in scrums.

Tovey then had a couple of magic moments, then a chip and chase that he regathered to give Edinburgh an attacking chance close in. Nathan Fowles fumbled that one, but when they came knocking the next time around the 70 minute mark, Tovey launched a superbly-judged kick pass that Tom Brown could take on the full for another easy winger’s finish.

The final act at the final whistle was Blair Kinghorn rounding off a fine night for the back three when a charging John Hardie flung a speculative pass over his head just before he was engulfed by green striped shirts. Kinghorn – a little taller than he is – snatched it out of the air and dotted down, visibly delighted.

You can only play what’s in front of you and Treviso were, to be frank, not very good. However better teams have been pulled to their level while Edinburgh managed a largely composed performance and held their discipline. Hodge will worry about the scrum till Nel (and possibly Dickinson) returns, but the game time was valuable for McQuillin and academy player Murray McCallum.

The spine of the team in Gilchrist, Bradbury, Kennedy and Tovey set the tone where usually it is just Watson who leads by example; heartening to see and a definite foundation to build on.

SRBlog Man of the Match: In the first half you’d pick Hoyland for his two tries, and in the second Brown had two but it was the man who created them, Jason Tovey, who earns the plaudits. Barely put a foot wrong all night, and at least three super bits of individual skill. You have to feel for a guy who, without such loyalty to the Dragons or perhaps a more visionary national coach – or indeed a Scottish granny – would have a bunch of caps by now.

Attendance: 3,154

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10 Responses

  1. He may be an Irishman in headgear and goggles but the story of Ian Mckinley’s journey from Leinster debut through serious injury to an almost unimaginable second pro rugby chance in Italy is one of the most inspiring rugby stories I have read.
    Look for it in Guardian 9th September 2016

    1. This is the link :

      Thought it was really odd to see him play in what looked like a ski mask rather than goggles, but good luck to him. As Don says, inspirational. Apparently the goggles are part of a formal World rugby trial.

      Curate’s egg from Embra against a poor team overall with what looked like a decent scrum, but take the 5 points and hope it is the start of better ( and more entertaining ) things to come

      1. It’s the day after their pre-Christmas beano – their journalists are still draining the last of the free champers and will file anything…..

  2. Inspiring story of McKinley, thanks for highlighting it Don. It’s here if anyone else wants to read it:

    Scary to think there were people in club games happy to target his eyes after what happened to him. I wish him plenty of success in the future, just not in his next pro12 game against Glasgow.

    As for Edinburgh, take the win, take confidence from it and work on the weak areas for when better teams come calling.

  3. A creditable performance from Edinburgh, and very pleasing to see them play right to the “final” whistle when in the past they may have settled for a try less just to get back in the changing rooms – and a very good try it was too.

    Treviso were woeful, but you play what is in front of you, and a 7 try win can only be good for the confidence. Hopefully the Romanian trip will provide a similar fillip next week for more strenuous tests ahead.

    The struggles of the front row were hardly surprising given that McQuillin and McCallum are new to the Pro game but you only have to look at the progress of guys like Bradbury and Ritchie at Edinburgh, and now Wynne, the Fagersons and Price et al at Glasgow to realise that there are good Scots around who are capable of getting up to speed in the Pro game if they are given the exposure. Obviously it helps if they are part of Toony’s successful rotation policy rather than being thrown in but I really think the depth is coming at both ends of the M8.

  4. Kinghorn made a huge difference. Whenever Treviso tried to play for territory KH was able to bang them back down to their own ten yard line and force them to attack from deep. Having a strong kicking game is an essential part of being a starting FB. Defences need to be wondering if you’re going to kick long, up ‘n’ under or counterattack and he can do all three.

    Hoyland again was superb – the 7s circuit has made him so much more than just a finisher. Glad to see Dean back in – his defensive work is much more effective than Tofilau and Rasolea. Would actually like to see Edinburgh bring Galbraith back from London Scottish (replace him with George Taylor who’s been great for Melrose) and give him some game time at 12. The more Scottish youngsters they introduce the more direction they get.

    McQuillin looked sorely outgunned unfortunately and offered fairly little around the park. Was impressed with McCallum when he came on – 2 dominant scrums and one reverse when they got the timing wrong on the opposition put in. Will be interesting to see how he stands up against a first choice loosehead, which he may well get the opportunity to do against Timisoara. For a guy who normally plays on the other side of the scrum, it was a good first appearance.

    Nel’s injury, if as bad as feared would be disastrous for Edinburgh and Scottish rugby and could set us back a couple years in terms of top tier competitiveness, and certainly opens up a crisis for the Autumn Internationals. Such has been Nel’s dominance that he’s basically cleared the decks as far as Scottish Qualified THs go – Murray’s retired, Low hasn’t been featuring for his club, Welsh hasn’t exactly set the world alight for Newcastle, Berghan’s injured and let’s face it, he’s not an international rugby player. We’re basically down to Fagerson (20), Rae (21), and now McCallum (20), which is pretty terrifying really. We have three extremely strong scrummaging sides in the AIs and they will target us mercilessly at scrum time if we’re without Nel.

    On the plus side we snuck back into the top 8 by default at the weekend when Argentina lost.

      1. We might be saved!

        “We are still waiting to find out [about Nel]. It shouldn’t be long term but this week could be too much.”

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion