Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Edinburgh 37-7 Southern Kings

Mark Bennett
Mark Bennett made his long awaited debut for Edinburgh Rugby vs Southern Kings - pic © Alastair Ross / Novantae Photography

Distinctly un-African weather conditions (or to put it locally, manky) at Myreside saw Edinburgh welcome the Southern Kings.

In the opening stages of this soggy encounter, the hosts were a little too hospitable and early penalties allowed the visitors attacking set pieces. Perhaps they should have taken some of the points on offer, as they wouldn’t actually score any until the dying minutes.

It was a solid ten minutes before Edinburgh had any ball to speak of, and by the quarter of an hour mark they were on a warning for ill-discipline at the breakdown. On a night when it was very difficult to keep your feet, referee Lloyd Linton didn’t have much sympathy with the whistle.

Hamish Watson
Hamish Watson was difficult to bring down even in wet conditions -pic © Alastair Ross / Novantae Photography

Mark Bennett still hadn’t had any ball to speak of save for a Blair Kinghorn pass inside the 22 that he dropped. A few little half breaks later in the half showed flashes of what we’ve been missing.

Grant Gilchrist has had a fine season and he continued it with a chargedown and some nice footballing for the game’s first try just before the half hour had elapsed. The second try came only minutes later as Edinburgh attacked straight from the restart, Kinghorn feeding Chris Dean who kicked it through for the lanky fullback to pounce on.

Half-time: Edinburgh 15-0 Southern Kings

Edinburgh’s objective was now a bonus point and to prevent the Kings from somehow finding a way back into the game. A Jaco Van der Walt penalty opened the second half scoring as the tricky conditions continued to hamper efforts to make some entertainment out of it.

That settled things down, and Edinburgh put the foot down as much as they could. Hard carries from Bennett, McInally and Jordan Lay got Edinburgh well into the 22 before a well-weighted floating pass from Van der Walt allowed Duhan Van der Merwe to dot down unopposed over the line.

With an hour on the clock and the rain and hail hammering down, Edinburgh had control of the game as the skill and experience of players like McInally and the outstanding Hamish Watson came to the fore.

An early injury to Phil Burleigh meant that Bennett had to play the full 80 and although his fitness might have been pushed he’ll be all the better for it. Even as others were sent to warm up in the stands, replacement hooker Cameron Fenton secured the try bonus point with ten minutes to play at the back of a maul the Kings players looked only half interested in stopping.

Cammy Fenton
Cameron Fenton celebrates scoring for Edinburgh – pic © Alastair Ross / Novantae Photography

The Kings finally got some points on the board with 6 minutes to play, Sean Kennedy failing to deal with a grubber kick and Ntabeni Dukisa touching it down. Dougie Fife had the last laugh for Edinburgh when something similar happened up at the other end and he pounced.

But by then almost everyone on the pitch had a hot shower on their mind, perhaps except Richard Cockerill who would have been satisfied with a job done and the gap closed on Ulster in the conference table.

Referee: Lloyd Linton (SRU)

SRBlog Man of the Match: The sponsors kindly gave it to Mark Bennett on his comeback, but Hamish Watson was the best player on the park by a good distance. Stuart McInally was once again excellent, while Blair Kinghorn and replacement Chris Dean were the pick of the backs.

21 Responses

  1. A good victory. Watson, Toolis, McInally, Dean, McCallum impressive but my MOM was Blair Kinghorn, he has the ability to open up a defence, throwing the opposition into turmoil & creating tries scoring chances.

    Scrum did well but Kings the worst team in the league & likely didn’t enjoy the somewhat balmy Myreside conditions

    1. Totally agree, I was really surprised that Kinghorn didn’t get it. Who knew that Wee Duncy Weir was such a softie? Glad Edinburgh won, but I’m feeling a little bad for teams like Kings and Dragons – they both should have beaten Ulster, at least.

      1. Think Dunc gave Bennett that MoM at Mates’ Rates :0)

        Thought Bennett did very well though given his lengthy lay off. Some nice show and goes, and he still looked like he has his pace. He will only get better with more game time.

        I also thought Chris Dean had a good game. Up front Watson and McInally were excellent, and McCallum did well at scrum time. Is he ready for the step up to the big stage given ZF injury?

        One thing that was really pleasing was Edinburgh still tried to play through hands where possible, even in the rather damp conditions. Cockerill is definitely making a positive imprint at the club.

  2. Was it just me that thought some of wee Duncs commentary was a bit snide and condescending towards his team mates?

    1. On a typical scottish night, a mockett pitch , at home, with a bunch of blokes that have felt cold temperatures but never cold and damp, I think Edinburgh made a slow start.

      However , a good win to get on top of last weeks defeat is a good start. Bennett was not man of the match , however he has made a good recovery and was not out of his depth.

      I did hear Weir being a bit frustrated that he was not out there enjoying the success of Edinburgh. All in all an honest commentary. For me it feels like his injurys mean he is a bit stuck in the middle of the M8 rather than being totally immersed in salt and sauce. Not easy, you have got to feel for him.

      There is a shortage of props if he fancys converting :)

    1. Also a neutral, but I wouldn’t go that far. Cockers deserves huge credit. I suspect not only has he given the players a boot as needed, the other boot has been applied to the coaching staff.

      I’m almost starting to think they can reel in Ulster and get a play off position. Now, THAT would be an achievement.

      For me with Glasgow the big positive is the amount of game time the fringe players have had – and the number of them that have stepped up to the plate. It’s unrealistic to expect Rennie to change direction at this stage, and there’s a lot of experience in the rehab room, so a hard look at the squad beckons at season’s end. The one area I am a bit disappointed in is not seeing more of Hastings. On the other hand, Rennie sees him day in, day out on the training ground – and he’s been happy to start plenty of other youngsters. I particularly like how he is bringing Horne jnr along, so….h’mmmm.

      1. I think the interesting thing about Glasgow is the age of the squad. Other than the marquee players the squad is very young. I presume this is a plan from the SRU and hopefully is a good one.

        The pack in particular contains a lot of callow youths. I think the problem this season has been the loss of Reid, Puafisi and Strauss plus the injuries leaving Glasgow short of experience.

        My view has changed from concerned to optimistic for the future for Glasgow and also Edinburgh.

      2. I think we look back and perhaps give Strauss a bit much credit.

        He was a big wage and was not always available due to injury. He could like the rest of them, be inconsistent. It was notable when he was on a bad day, he did have days when he was outstanding. Often he made up the numbers IMO, which is no bad thing, but not worthy of bemoaning.

        Right now we are missing Gibbons and Wilson. Ashe is improving by the game and Vunisa looks capable but I feel we are yet to see the best of him.

  3. Right now Glasgow look a bit dull. Edinburgh are an improved side.

    Both are playing below standard,both grinding out wins despite having more players in the infirmary than in training.

    The table only considers facts. Fans from every side in the Pro 14 would be overjoyed to be sitting where Glasgow are and nobody is looking forward to meeting Edinburgh in their current form.

    We are right to be demanding. We are paying them to enjoy themselves however I do not think Glasgow look happy on the job right now. This is a new experience for them. This time last year the playoff was slipping away, this year we have a different pressure at Glasgow, namely , coping with success.

  4. Bulldog

    Despite of his size I dont think Ashe looks like an international 8 player. Similar to Gilchrist where age is now getting on and where he has been overhyped without proving anything and seemed to get away with it. Denton, Strauss in my opinion are still the men for that role.

    1. I agree with this. Denton has his faults namely occasionally poor hands but if we need someone to take the ball and smash the defensive line into next week then he’s the man. Strauss and Du Preez have better hands but I don’t think either has the smashability that Denton has. Bradbury and the younger Fagerson are both big carriers though so may offer that option as they develop.

    2. Andy : You must be winding me up. I was referring to the Glasgow backrow not Scotland, check the context.

      Check your ages again Ashe is only 24. Denton 27, Gilchrist 27 and Strauss is 31.The only one in that lot that is not ‘getting on a bit’ is Ashe.

      David Denton getting a regular game at Worcester (pleased for him). He was overlooked at Bath, Worcester are 11th in the Aviva premiership and were beaten by Connaught (who are 2nd bottom of Glasgow’s PRO14 conference ) in the EPCR in October.

      I think you may be comparing apples with pears. Big fish in small pond.

  5. Magic to see Bennett back in action, if he’s still got his pace and footwork, and he should, he’s a real contender for test spots. I don’t think his defense is great and he probably looks for the intercept a bit too much, but to be honest I don’t think Huw Jones is a great tackler either. In fact I don’t think Dunbar is as good defensively as it made out. I’d happily see Taylor and Bennett in the center for scotland.

    1. Agree about Dunbar, he will miss a crucial tackle in every game that normally allows big yardage or a try.

      Granted he is great over the ball but he doesn’t have international quality tackling or pace. Taylor should play 12 if fit. Or Jones 12 and Taylor 13.

    2. Have you been watching the same Dunbar as I have he is easily Scotland’s best defender and organiser ok he had a off day against England but he was not alone.I thought when he was rested against Fiji in the summer it proved how important he is to the team he doesn’t do anything fancy but makes the hard yards turnovers and tackles.

  6. Can’t actually see it being of huge interest, but if anyone is going to be near Reading on Saturday afternoon and wants to see a lot of points in Edinburgh’s group, London Irish have announced a deal that anyone who calls their ticket office ( 0118 968 1016 ) and quotes ”KrasnyEPRC” can have 2 free tickets.

    I suspect anyone interested could probably get more than 2 if they asked nicely.

    No strings attached, although you may have to provide an email address for print at home. Nice idea, but obviously reflects the lack of interest in the fixture.

      1. Depends where in the crowd Reid and Cowan are sitting . . . . and probably Coman too.
        Tonks and Steele are maybe better bets :) :)

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion