Most people fancied Edinburgh were in with a chance of beating an Ospreys team that has been the wrong side of stumbling for most of this season, but the Myreside crowd were delighted to see them comprehensively outplay the Welsh region for the full 5 league points.
It probably counts as Edinburgh’s best win under Cockerill and caps off a nice little winning run going into the international break.
They might not be on a streak quite as hot as counterparts Glasgow but despite off-field issues in recent weeks, Edinburgh are certainly now playing like a team and have been winning in both competitions, unlike Glasgow.
The game started quite differently for Edinburgh with Ospreys prop Dmitri Arhip barrelling over the line for the opening try after 11 miuntes. Edinburgh’s defence had been frantic but held out for as long as it could under repeated strain.
The try came on the heels of three penalties awarded by referee Andrew Brace, none of which the Ospreys kicked for goal. That overconfidence was perhaps unfounded as they only scored another three points all night through a Sam Davies penalty, after Jason Tovey had slotted one of his own to get Edinburgh on the board.
The home side, on the other hand, looked confident with the ball in hand and Blair Kinghorn was once again providing the creative impulse close to the line, with a line break creating space for Tom Brown to gain ground and set up the attacking position. The fullback stayed in support and made himself available for Cornell du Preez to offload and put him in at the corner on the next phase. He may have been left out this time round but if Kinghorn keeps this form up all season, Townsend will have to start thinking – is there a way to put Kinghorn and Hogg in the same team?
Tovey took another penalty before half time to give Edinburgh a decent lead, but not a comfortable one.
Half-time: Edinburgh 16-10 Ospreys
Edinburgh kept the pace up in the second half and there were further tries to come. The first was for Nathan Fowles but was a superb team effort created largely through the attacking instincts of James Johnstone (and Kinghorn again), and the second was an individual effort by Tovey who jinked through a tiring Ospreys defence to dot down.
Edinburgh settled then, but despite their control of the game it looked like they might not achieve the bonus point they deserved.
There was a nice note of redemption for Magnus Bradbury who appeared off the bench to score the final try with a short range batter to the posts and put that matter to bed.
In part the success is due to consistency of selection and while it is undoubted that Jason Tovey playing at ten is bad for Scottish standoffs, Jason Tovey playing at ten seems to be good for Edinburgh as they’ve played their best rugby when he is at the helm. The Welsh man took a try himself as well as a 17 points with the boot, up against another long-overlooked Welsh fly-half James Hook who was playing at centre.
Cockerill not always picking the established international names for Edinburgh has also helped the transition into this period when a lot of them will be away; you don’t miss what you haven’t been relying on all that much.
Like Glasgow, injuries have bitten Edinburgh this week with the news that Ross Ford (who has rarely featured anyway) has a pectoral injury set to keep him out of the Scotland tests and beyond. With front row players thin on the ground, he has been replaced in the Scotland squad by Neil Cochrane.
The main challengers for the hooker’s shirt are all now Edinburgh players – Cochrane, Stuart McInally and George Turner, who ironically wouldn’t be if he wasn’t on loan at Glasgow amassing bucketloads of game time. At 33, Cochrane might seem unlikely for a cap this late in his career but in all honesty he has done little but be impressive since he pitched up at Edinburgh. He’s not the youngest, but wouldn’t let anyone down. As an old-school hooker whether he suits Toony’s high-speed plan is another matter.
Bradbury and Rory Sutherland have also been drafted into the Scotland squad this week by Gregor Townsend.
SRBlog Man of the Match: A big points haul from the boot and a well-taken individual try against his countrymen mean Jason Tovey gets the honours. As usual, Cornell du Preez and Blair Kinghorn were close.
Referee: Andrew Brace (IRFU)