Edinburgh 19-10 Montpellier

If not wholly a cagey opening ten minutes, this crucial European fixture at BT Murrayfield started with Edinburgh seeming a little unsure of themselves.

Perhaps they were awed a bit by a big crowd and the possibility of not only securing a quarter final, but possibly also doing their mates at Glasgow a favour for a historic double. Bill Mata even fumbled a high ball – it was tense.

Still, things settled as Jaco Van Der Walt slotted an opening penalty after 12 minutes and another after 16, after several offences had been committed by Vern’s team (specialist coach: N. Hines) and whistled up by referee JP Doyle.

Doyle seemed also to tire of Henry Pyrgos’s overly-telegraphed box kicks and called the ball “out” on one occasion that saw the scrum-half clattered. So Montpellier were able to exert more pressure in the narrow channels around the ruck, but at scrum-time the Edinburgh pack had them on toast.

At the half-hour mark, there were two substitutions that neither player would have been happy about. Jannie du Plessis was hooked by the coaches – after Montpellier conceded another scrum penalty – and was replaced with a hefty Georgian proposition, while Edinburgh and Scotland openside Hamish Watson was taken off with an arm injury that left him looking none too pleased. Gregor Townsend wouldn’t have been too chuffed either.

The du Plessis gang had another poor moment when lock Jacques du Plessis caught WP Nel high and Van Der Walt kicked a further three points, but the rangy South African lock redeemed himself right at the end of the half as Montpellier rammed themselves straight back into contention with a close range try. Ruan Pienaar tapped a rare Edinburgh penalty and with a further penalty advantage in their favour, the hulking pack did the rest.

Ruan Pienaar
Ruan Pienaar in action at the breakdown during Edinburgh Rugby vs Montpellier Hérault Rugby in the European Rugby Heineken Champions Cup- pic © Alastair Ross / Novantae Photography

Half-time: Edinburgh 9-7 Montpellier

Momentum had indeed shifted around half-time, with Edinburgh dropping balls while Ruan Pienaar put the visitors in the lead for the first time after 47 minutes. Kinghorn kicked the restart dead and players like Frans Steyn suddenly remembered they were on the pitch.


Duhan Van Der Merwe and Bill Mata never gave up though, with bludgeoning and mazy runs respectively giving the home fans voice and making some metres. Edinburgh eventually made the Montpellier 22 but could not breach the defence. Another 3 points from Van Der Walt’s boot was a consolation of sorts, but you sensed that a try might just rock Montpellier back on their heels.

Duhan Van Der Merwe
Duhan van der Merwe stretches his legs- pic © Alastair Ross / Novantae Photography

Kinghorn and even the superb WP Nel were heavily involved in the attacking play but it was Darcy Graham who got the try following a sustained barrage by the Edinburgh pack, Pyrgos flicking a pass from the base out to the winger who dove over unopposed.

Montpellier came straight back at them but Edinburgh produced a huge shift in defence – without offending, during a game in which they conceded very few penalties – to repel a French incursion into their 22 that saw them safely into the last ten minutes retaining their 9 point lead.

Edinburgh played “keep ball” for a big chunk of that remaining time, and even after a puzzling garryowen from Van Der Walt that gave Montpellier a final chance with the ball, they were unable to capitalise on it.

Edinburgh go on to a home quarter final, and for the first time there will be two Scottish sides in the knockout stages regardless of Glasgow’s result tomorrow.

SRBlog Man of the Match: it’s too close to call which shows the closeness of this team as a unit. Gilchrist, Dean and Kinghorn were very good, Mata was tireless but I’m giving it to the entire front row. Schoeman saw off his man at scrum time and put in his usual flying carries, McInally continues to ascend the heights of world hookerdom (that should be a thing) with another titanic shift and as for WP Nel, he may be playing the best rugby of his career. On a day where the Pinball suffered a potentially serious hand/arm injury, the return to form of our favourite project prop at least, is great news for Scotland fans.

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33 comments on “Edinburgh 19-10 Montpellier

    • TeamCam on

      What a win for Edinburgh! Absolutely annihilated their scrum, smothered in defence and deserved to win by more. JP Doyle was an utter wet wipe (how did he not YC at least one Montpellier player? Or award a clear penalty try?!), but Edinburgh did enough to remove his incompetence as a factor. Thought a load of the Saffas were great – WP, vdM, vdW, Schoeman – as well as Graham, Pyrgos, McInally and young Luke Crosbie. As a bonus, Warriors are through too! Very concerned about losing Watson to injury, though.

    • The Chiel on

      I believe the phrase used in current times is “pure filth”. In my day there would have been fines and Chinese burns from team mates.

  1. JohnMc on

    Just got the job done tonight, Edinburgh. Well done, against a good side who had something to play for. We’ve stacked crunch games before so it’s brilliant to get through tonight.
    Hope the suspected broken Watson hand isn’t broken.
    So, how do three Embra born brothers living 400 miles away and married to English wives find an excuse to get back home weekend of 29/31 March? Recommendations, please!

  2. Sotonsaltire on

    Awesome from Edinburgh, well done. That front five should be feared by anyone. Exter or Munster at Murrayfield- pretty it won’t be out certainly compelling!

    As an aside, if all results pan out as expected then it seems to me that if Glasgow win with a BP they get Sarries, if they lose, they get Sarries; and if they win without a bonus point they get Sarries….

    So really regardless of our game if we don’t want Sarries then a Leicester, Bath, Exeter treble is what we are after! Or at least one of those results so we are not 8th seed (I am discounting my other two scenarios re Glasgow winning!).

    Happy to be corrected if my perms are wrong!

  3. Not rocket science on

    F ing, well done Edinburgh. Glasgow fan no longer bricking it about the pack tomorrow. Roll on Saracens and the 6 nations!

  4. Not rocket science on

    Drunken ramblings:
    1. How much credit does the new logo take for Edinburgh’s season? Discuss.
    2. Has anyone seen a better sporting WINNING photo than Gilchrist and Kinghorn hugging? There’s Hendry at the Crucible at 21 or James Hunt smoking a fag with a lovely blonde on his knee, but she looks less thrilled than Blair. Combine this with the Greig / Finn video and Scotland clearly WINNING social media.
    3. Did big Vern do HIS boys a solid?
    4. Cockerill – English arrogance turning the unfulfilled talent of Scotland into something more substantial. National coach, Lions – whats the price?
    5. Glasgow SURELY now turning over Saracens by 20 points with a bonus and a casual wink….

    • James on

      1) being coloured like a can of irn bru has obviously benefited the Edinburgh boys!

      2) you’re showing your age with that Hendry comment! At least it didn’t end up in injury al la Joe Ansbro and Strockosh.

      3) perhaps we’re seeing that Dtern Vern really had taken Scotland as far as he could and the SRU made the right call?

      4) anyone but ‘Gats’ for the Lions please!

      5) You should stick a tenner on that it’s almost definitely going to happen that way…

  5. Andy Render on

    What a great win by Embra, undoubtedly the best team on the night although there were spells either side of half time when this Glasgow fan was a wee bit concerned. I thought the pack was superb in the tight exchanges especially nullifying the Mont attempts for turnover ball after Watson left – very impressed after my first proper look at Crosbie.
    I thought the backs were a little conservative with the only option seeming to be get it wide to vdMerve or Graham with some hairy moments in the centres. It would have been nice to see them use BBM as a decoy sometimes as that might free some space but I guess Cockers and Hodge are aware of this and will be working on these things going forwards.

  6. Newhaven_Boy on

    Delighted with the result and the defence. I really noticed we went low on the big lads a lot which was good. Even Picamole was being chopped down. On which I am sure Picamole was made in a vat at some secret French laboratory.

    Biggest issue I had was the box kicking. Not far enough to get us out of trouble and don’t remember us even competing in the air. Especially in the second 20 of the first half we just seemed to invite them on. I’d rather we got de Walt or Kinghorn to boot the leather off the ball to touch at halfway and go after the lineout.

    But seeded teams for the quarters likely to be Leinster, Racing, Saracens ….. and us. Amazing.

  7. Scott M on

    As a Glasgow fan, Duhan Van Der Merwe was never a player who impressed me that much in the past… he was big and fast but didn’t have much in the way of an X factor. I was more impressed last night, he makes yards when he has no right too, impressive the way he skirts the touchline and beats his first man.

    Darcey looks good aswell but would still like him to get another season under his belt before he starts making regular starts for Scotland.

    Was it Johnstone or Dean who put the kick in that forced Pienaar to take the ball into touch…. it was a really good awareness of the space and a perfectly executed kick. Bennett and Scott are going to have competition when they get back fit.

    I support the Burghers as long as they’re not playing us! Glad Glasgow are qualified going into today’s game.

  8. Ńéíł on

    Edinburgh confirmed at home against Munster.

    Think we will be favourites for that one but its tight. Defenses are both incredible so it might come down to who can attack better and provide those one-two moments of xfactor.

    Glasgow away to Saracens .. Very tough but never know, If a full strength glasgow side is available id put that at 55/45 in Saracens favour but it is possible.

    Would i be correct in saying that if both scottish teams win there QF games that they would play each other in the Semi-finals ?

      • Ńéíł on

        Whats wrong with playing Saracens again ? i reckon there are at least 2-3 teams who would be a harder challenge than saracens atm.

      • FF on

        I think only Leinster are at Sarries level. Racing are a little flaky and Toulouse are improving but a long way from their previous status as European royalty.

        I didn’t think Munster were impressive against Exeter and with home advantage Edinburgh have a decent shot of turning them over.

  9. Ńèíł on


    3 Irish
    2 Scottish
    2 French
    1 English
    0 Italian
    0 Welsh

    Just goes to show that good coaching and Academys will trump Money clubs. (Dai Young) ?

    • Daihard on

      I disagree emphatically, nothing to do with academy players and everything to do with money. Every one of your pictures shows a SA born player. The European Cup should be for European born players. It is in the name , european, it is the european cup.

      Rygbi is everything to Cymru, we dont need an academy , the valleys is learning enough for a rugby genius. .I know I am biased and bitter, but so would you, if you felt cheated. Cymru are nowhere, not a single team in the last eight, despite being the Rygbi gods. That tells you something is wrong . We should not feel cheated, we play it by the book.

      Our attitude to home grown talent has been a disaster for the cup.We will need to get streetwise. Our nations will settle this in March , but for now, enjoy the moment.

      Cymru am byth.


      • TeamCam on

        Well the Welsh sides’ budgets are equal to or greater than the Scottish sides’, and the French and English sides have larger budgets than the Irish sides, so presumably money isn’t the key factor here.

    • Ńéíł on

      The Welsh clubs have terrible coaches DaiHard, The english think money is the answer.

      In my humble opinion, Wales should reduce there clubs from 4 to 3 and spend the extra cash on academy/coaching development, newport is a waste.

      • Daihard on

        Having a 4th team that can beat the below par senior sides when they have injury crisis after the AI and 6N. It can disrupt the other nations in the pro 14. It could mess us up as well, but the Dragons get the Ospreys in March and Scarletts in April, both will be back to strength by then, just in time to take a full 5 points from the Ospreys who will be resting their best side.

        With Glasgow finding form again , both scottish sides could be in the pro14 final as well.

      • Daihard on

        Opps – I mean in time to take a full 5 points from the Dragons (Not Ospreys)who will be resting their best players when playimg Ospreys and Scarletts. You know what I mean , dont you ! We need to rotate and rest players as well.

        Cymru am byth


  10. Andy Render on

    Where would the semi final be played if Edinburgh get through – presumably BTM is out of the question as a home ground despite Leinster getting past that rule rather dubiously last season. Options would probably be Tyncastle or Parkhead unless anyone knows any different. I cant’t think of any rugby ground that would have the necessary capacity

    • Fraser on

      I believe highest seed in the semi-final stage gets home advantage.
      So if it’s Saracens or Glasgow they would get in the semi’s – Saracens would be away and Glasgow would be at home.

      • FF on

        Nope as Glasgow are lowest seeded team in QFs.

        EPCR website has each eventuality and if Edinburgh and Glasgow go through it just a days it will be played in Scotland – think this is to leave open possibility of BTM even though supposed to be neutral venue.

      • Fraser on

        My comment was from Edinburgh’s point of view – ie if they play Saracens, Edinburgh will be away, if they play Glasgow, Edinburgh will be at home

  11. JohnMc on

    Edinburgh v Munster attendance could well beat the Edinburgh v Toulouse crowd record for a Scottish club game set in 2012. Munster fans will be there in huge numbers. Unlike Toulouse, who turned up in handfuls on the day for that QF.
    Glasgow overpowered second half yesterday, but who’s to say what the team line ups will be after a typically attritional Six Nations?
    Warriors still in with a big chance there if they can find a way to match or better Sarries up front. Think J Gray if he’d stayed on the pitch after half time would have helped to stop some of that incessant go forward from Sarries, who are an excellent side. The Warriors supporters were in good voice. Would love to join them in London, but have just got permission from Mrs Mc to go home that weekend for the Embra QF!

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