Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Edinburgh 27-24 Leinster

[Edinburgh, UK. February 09, 2018] Dougie Fife in action for Edinburgh Rugby vs Leinster in the Guinness Pro14 at Myreside, Edinburgh. (c) ALASTAIR ROSS | Novantae Photography Photo Credit: ALASTAIR ROSS | Novantae Photography

A last-minute try from Scotland centre Mark Bennett secured a valuable Pro14 win for Edinburgh over Leinster at Myreside.

Bennett scored after Glenn Bryce’s tap-down on a Sam Hidalgo-Clyne kick to give Richard Cockerill’s side victory, sealed with Hidalgo-Clyne’s conversion.

They were slow out the blocks, though, with the Irishmen opening the scoring inside five minutes through number eight Max Deegan, who powered over from close range. Ross Byrne converted to give Leo Cullen’s side a 7-0 lead.

In a scrappy opening 40 minutes, Jaco Van Der Walt was wayward with a penalty before the hosts got back into the match, scoring from a loose Leinster pass.

Luke Crosbie, outstanding in a youthful Edinburgh pack, picked up a sloppy pass and sprinted 60 metres to touch down under the posts. Van Der Walt tied the game with the conversion.

And the game swung on its head when, just moments later, Nathan Fowles scampered down the blindside to dive over – the Scotland squad man showing good pace to touch down. The conversion was wide, and that proved costly when Leinster hit back with a two-try flurry of their own.

First, Australian Scott Fardy crossed in the corner before wing Barry Daly outmuscled Darcy Graham to score.

Edinburgh were seven points (12-19) down when they were awarded a penalty with the clock having passed 40 minutes, but skipper Fraser McKenzie turned down the shot at goal and went to the corner.

Man of the match Lewis Carmichael went close, as did the impressive ‘Bill’ Mata, before recent Scotland cap Murray McCallum barged over – what a week it’s been for the Strathallan man!

Mark Bennett took over the kicking duties but fared no better, pushing his attempt wide, Edinburgh turning round two points down at the break.

While the opening 40 was an open affair, both sides tightened up after the break and it took until the hour for Duhan Van Der Merwe to capitalise on a lovely chip from Hidalgo-Clyne to touch down.

The Myreside faithful, all 3,000-odd of them, must have sensed an upset was on the cards – and Edinburgh had the impact of their bench to thank – the returning John Hardie, Hidalgo-Clyne and Magnus Bradbury all gave the hosts’ a lift when they came on.

Leinster are no slouches, though, and hit back when Daly once more overpowered Graham to go over in the corner to give Leinster the lead (22-24).

And just as Edinburgh appeared to be beaten, their new-found resolve under Cockerill was evident as the pack carried deep into the visitors’ half.

They won a penalty, but on a night of missed opportunities from the tee, the kick was a gamble. So Hidalgo-Clyne rolled the dice, chipped the Leinster defence, Glenn Bryce tapped it downwards and Bennett scampered under the sticks.

A brief discussion with the TMO followed, but the score was good and Hidalgo-Clyne converted to seal victory.

Edinburgh have long talked about chasing down Ulster for third spot, and wins like this evening’s will give them every chance of doing just that. A game they would have lost a season ago, Cockerill has instilled confidence in his charges and they produced an impressive display to down the albeit depleted three-time European champions.

SRBlog Man of the Match: While Lewis Carmichael and Luke Crosbie were impressive among a young band of forwards, and both South Africans – Van Der Walt and Van Der Merwe – caught the eye behind the pack, Edinburgh’s outstanding man on the night was Fijian Viliame Mata. As well as ridiculously good offloads, big ‘Bill’ proved he can do the hard yards and gave his side a valuable platform.

21 Responses

  1. Fantastic evenings entertainment at Myreside. It was actually hard to believe that at HT Leinster were only 2 points in front given that they had enjoyed 64% possession but Edinburgh made the most of what they got and an ‘in your face’ defence pretty much led to the first two Edinburgh tries. I’m sure Crosbie’s was as a result of a charge down which he gathered himself and Fowles got his after Kearney was caught and stripped of the ball by Mark Bennett.

    Totally agree about Bill Mata, thought he carried really well and no disrespect intended to Carmichael but MOM should have gone to him. Also continue to be impressed by Van Der Merwe, the guy is a unit, always makes ground and is a hard man to put down.

    I am starting to have some concerns for Darcy Graham. There is no doubt he is quick, brave and talented but as Daly’s try would suggest, i’m just not sure he has the physical presence required. Would van Der Merwe have put Daly into touch? Fairly sure he would have. Think Dougie Fife would have too.

    Game on for Ulster. You would suspect they expected to go onto next week’s’ game with a cushion of a comfortable bonus point win against Kings but now the pressure is all on them.

    1. Mata is a find standout player. I dont get the Darcy Graham fan club at all. It is a bit like I was a boy , I had a friend that supported all the new bands in the hope that one would become a supergroup and he could say he spotted them first. I am a here and now sort of bloke and right now he is adequate IMO.

      1. Darcy Graham is in his first year as a pro (alot of it spent injured), playing in a team finding its feet after being completely mismanaged for years. Hes the same height and a couple of pounds lighter than Damian McKenzie. He will be a star for Scotland and Edinburgh just don’t expect miracles straight away, I actually thought he handled himself pretty well physically.

      2. Graham has the wheels but like a fair few of our youn players at Glasgow and Edinburgh he’s lacking a bit of bulk. I hope to see Fagerson, Smith, Ashe, Crosbie, Bradbury and Ritchie improve physically over the next couple of years or they’ll be left behind by the behemoths who seem to dominate the game. If they do, Scotland will have a bloody good set of loosies to pick from. Add in Carmichael, Cummings, Hunter-Hill and we’ve got a helluva lot of potential in the pack.

      3. Absolutely Allan, we have a large number of young players who should be able to add a fair amount of additional bulk as their bodies continue to mature. I wouldn’t expect them to reach peak bulk until they are 23/24, possibly older. I would also add McCallum and Fagerson to your list; they are both already absolute units, but if they could achieve a physique like Furlong, our scrum could be set at TH for a decade!

    2. Although I am a fan of Van der Merve, he didn’t even attempt to use his “physical presence” to stop the try in the corner, whereas Graham ran from the posts and put his body on the line to try and stop the try. The young lad has only had a handful of games and will come on under Cockerill. Not too long ago, fans were making negative comments about Kinghorn and look where he is now!

      1. Also, we’ve seen the likes of Kinghorn progress dramatically in his defence this year as both his positional play and his physique develop. Hopefully we will see the same with Graham, but it may be next season before it becomes apparent.

  2. Great result. Cockerill certainly looks to be building something there. No surprise that the pack look gritty, strong and hard working with some cracking young players like McCallum and Crosbie coming to the fore. But Bennett looks to be adding an x-factor to that backline that they’ve lacked for a while. Add in the brute power of VDM on the wing with Kinghorn going from strength to strength and it’s looking good.

  3. Incredible that Leinster were able to put out such a strong side and come close to beating a side who will likely finish 3rd/4th in their group despite missing 16 international players. Yes Edinburgh were missing McInally, Gilchrist, Toolis, Watson, Du Preez and Kinghorn who are on international duty as well as Marfo and Nel who are injured but all the same Leinster’s squad depth is just unreal. To have 16 of your best players not available through international duty and run Edinburgh close is quite remarkable

    1. Blake : Why is it ‘incredible’ that Leinster are able to field a strong side with so many players missing! What this post might be missing is understanding is the scale of Leinster who are ex European challenge cup winners and pro 12 winners. They have a culture of success. Edinburgh on the other hand do not have such a history. Ireland has 153K registered players and 4 pro sides . Scotland has 35K registered players and 2 pro sides. Ireland have 4 times more registered players than the whole of Scotland. Just in terms of ratio analysis that is a resource pond of c39K players per pro side in Ireland versus c17K in Scotland. The volume of players results in a high degree of infrastructure and training , we do not have the ecomomy of scale to match in Scotland. There is many more PRO 12 ‘ready’ players in Ireland.

      What is remarkable for me is exact opposite, what is remarkable is Edinburgh beating Leinster regardless of both sides missing regulars. Well done Edinburgh.Regardless of whom we support , this is a proud moment and one to be enjoyed by all scots.

  4. Great result. Get VDM capped for Sco as soon as is possible…it’ll be a while however exactly type of powerful & finisher winger we need. Crosbie will be a full Sco cap before long….looks superb to me.

    1. I don’t see why, after seeing the stones they showed against Glasgow at xmas I back them to give any team a game

      1. Apologies. I did think the praise for Leinster was a tad OTT. Both sides missing large numbers of players and I didn’t see Leinster as being significantly superior to Edinburgh anywhere on the pitch. Possibly the front row but a lot of the difference could be down to refs interpretation as opposed to clear superiority

  5. Edinburgh are now in a position that they could challenge any team in the Pro14. Anyone that says Richard Cockerill hasn’t had an impact must not be watching the same team, my only concern is that he signed a two year deal in 2017 meaning that his exit would be in the summer of 2019, I wouldn’t be shocked if there is interest from south of the border. I heard someone mentioning a theory in conversation that should Townsend continue down the current road that he’s on that Cockers may take over the Scotland job for the 2019 RWC. I for one wouldn’t be in favour of this though!!

  6. If Cockerill wants to build a better quality team, why is he keeping Nathan Fowles over SHC? Nothing against Fowles, but he’s pretty pedestrian, whereas SHC is exciting and passionate. Presumably they’ve another 9 lined up, and a NSQ one at that.

  7. Just read on bbc that Fagerson AND Nel are back in training and could be available for the England match which is great. Apparently Brown is back training too and Richie Gray could be as well. Scotland could be in the remarkable position of being stronger at the end of the tournament than at the start as we’ve hardly had any injuries so far! Even if neither are ready they should be available for Edinburgh and Glasgow and ready for the Ireland match in three weeks time. Cracking.

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