Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


PRO14 Round 9: Dragons 18-12 Edinburgh

At a point when most people would be tucking in to their Sunday roast, Edinburgh took to the field in Newport to take on conference B’s bottom side Dragons.

Both sides were still short of a few internationals: Edinburgh were nine international players light with another bundle on the injured list. Ben Toolis was listed at wing forward with his inclusion in that position described by Richard Cockerill as he was the “last man standing”.

Edinburgh old boy Jason Tovey opened the scoring in the 9th minute with an easy penalty after a period of Dragons possession and territory.

The game then remained very cagey until the 25th minute when Dragons extended their lead further. A missed tackle in the midfield by Chris Dean gave Dragons a little space on the wing and despite a despairing tackle from Henry Pyrgos they crossed in the corner through Jared Rosser.  Jason Tovey added the extras to make it Dragons 10 Edinburgh 0.

That try seemed to spark Edinburgh into life, and they went close through a good break from Callum Hunter-Hill which led to a penalty and they opted for a scrum. Nothing came from that but Edinburgh kept up the pressure and forced Dragons into yet another scrum penalty. This time the scrum stayed steady and the backs were released by Pyrgos. Dean thought he had scored but referee Stuart Berry, after an interminable consultation with the TMO, adjudged the centre’s stretch for the line to be a double movement and chalked it off. In hindsight the decision to scrum rather than take the three easy points at this stage of the game looked like a poor choice.

They finally got their reward with the clock in the red at the end of the first half. Chris Dean took advantage of the Dragons rushing up to step outside and into a gap before he released Dougie Fife to score in the corner. Hickey was unable to kick the conversion.

Half-time: Dragons 10-5 Edinburgh

The second half started as the first half did with the possession and the territory all with the home side.  The Edinburgh defence stood firm until the 53rd minute when eventually Dragons managed to engineer an overlap to score in the corner through Rosser again. Tovey missed the kick, but extended their lead with a penalty in the 65th minute.

The next score was Edinburgh’s. Pyrgos fed Van Der Walt from a lineout in the midfield and he made a great break before offloading to Darcy Graham. Dragons did manage to get a hold of the Hawick man as he crossed the line but after a lengthy TMO intervention the try was awarded. Van Der Walt added the two to make it Dragons 18 Edinburgh 12 and drawing the visitors within a converted try.

And that was all she wrote despite series of 25 phases on the Dragons try line with the clock in the red, that fizzled out when Edinburgh surrendered possession to allow Dragons to kick it dead.

Yet another defeat on the road for Edinburgh with the bonus point barely being worth the trouble of the travel. There were lots of issues with this game, chief among them being the scheduling but I will deal with that in a separate post. Suffice to say at this juncture that it was a contributing factor in the way this one turned out.

Putting scheduling to one side you would like to think that the prospect of the win and going third would have been enough to motivate the team to put in another Scarlets-type performance but although I can’t fault the effort the team were really flat and their decision making left a bit to be desired. They did come to life in the first half after they got their first try but that energy seemed to dissipate with the half time oranges. Dragons were then allowed to dictate the play in the second half until Van Der Walt was brought into the action which gave Edinburgh some more impetus. Although his arrival did give the team some creativity that was previously lacking, they reverted to type in the dying seconds with repeated rucks on the Dragons line which I don’t expect anyone thought were going to be successful.

So another miserable bus journey home from the principality before trying to regroup quickly for the trip to Cork with probably the same group of players. The fixtures god is not an Edinburgh Rugby fan.

Referee: Stuart Berry (SA RFU)

SRBlog Man of the Match: The second Edinburgh score was a brief high spot in the match with both Van Der Walt and Darcy Graham being instrumental in that and I was tempted to give it to Van Der Walt even though he was only on for the last 25, but instead I have opted for Chris Dean. He had a mixed game but was instrumental in Edinburgh’s  first try, and only the TMO’s intervention denied him one for himself.

17 Responses

  1. Pretty dire, and defo a close call as to whether Berry or Embra stank the place out more. But Berry, who is so bad it’s laughable, wasn’t short of 20 players.
    And if Premier Sports are just showing Dragons TV, they should remember people outside Gwent are watching. The bias – and ignorance – was shocking even by Scrum 5 standards.

      1. I have.
        There is no more I have to say on this, but apparently just saying “I have” is too short a reply for the Blog system ! :)

  2. That was one of the worst refereeing performances I have ever seen , and I have watched Clancy and Lacey many times.
    Edinburgh were bad no doubt , but given a decent ref they would probably have won.

  3. I really wish Cockeril would stop whinging in public – it’s pathetic at times.

    If you have a problem with poor refs – use the proper channels to complain. Sour faced losers is not a good look – especially when your side put in such a lamentable performance.

    1. I think his point is he has and is using the proper channels, yet the same thing keeps happening. His comments after this match were that he would submit his report, get a reply from the ref adjudicator agreeing with him, and then be in the same position next week complaining about decisions going against Edinburgh.

      Edinburgh are currently 4 points behind Ulster – there have been at least that many lost points this season through poor refereeing.

      1. IF you are in charge.
        IF the same thing happens week in week out.
        IF it is something you don’t like…
        then YOU need to change your ways.

        Who’s right and who’s wrong doesn’t really matter…Cockers job is to find ways to win and “winning” the ref is part of that.

      2. Yeh whinging in public about refs is going to get them to change (rolly eye emoji)

        Cockerill should focus on his underperforming team.

      3. Cockers can fry more than one fish. Berry’s performance was gutless and incompetent. Good on Cockers for saying so.

      4. Yeh, let’s just replicate the behaviour of other sports, destroying one of things that set us apart.

  4. The insistence of the co-commentator to call Darcy Graham Darcy Rae was particularly ridiculous, as Butler was using his correct name throughout.

    The commentary was very bias though, with both Butler and co-commentator referring to Dragons as ‘we’ throughout.

    1. Spot on David, I was annoyed when watching so tweeted Premier Sports to tell them to tell Martyn Williams to get it right.

  5. Just a heads up. If anyone has put off getting a premier sports subscription, they are doing a Black Friday sale – 1 year for £59 (normally £99).
    Makes it much better value!

  6. What’s the verdict on Hunter-Hill, Hodgson and Miller?

    I thought both the second row boys look pretty solid considering their inexperience which bodes well for the future.

    Hodgson looks like another in the Carmichael mould who will need to bulk up considerably to stay at lock as he doesn’t seem to have the mobility of say Crosbie (who is the same height) to maybe play 6 but looks a prospect.

    Hunter-Hill definitely a lock and hopefully the snarling tighthead ballast of a lock we perhaps lack a bit.

    Miller looks really mobile given he’s currently a 7s player but I think he’s got a bit about him similar to Ritchie with that tall, rangy build and looks like he could fit in anywhere across the backrow depending on how he develops.

  7. Lets be honest. Embra were ponging! I realise Jackman’s jeckit is on a shaky & as a result the Dragons were better than normal but come on. The good teams in either Conference would have expected & got a BP win from this game.

    Van der Walt’s poor touchline kicking when Embra were gaining momentum was shocking. Imagine where a Biggar or Sexton kick would have taken the line out to.

    I can see why Cockers is spitting blood (& that’s before speaking about the referee, scheduling etc). Come on Embra. You’re better than this performance!

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion