Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


PRO14 Round 1: Edinburgh 10 – 25 Ospreys

Jaco Van Der Walt
Jaco van der Walt shouts instructions - pic © Alastair Ross / Novantae Photography

On a typically dreich Scottish evening Edinburgh got their league campaign under way. The weather didn’t bode well for open expansive running rugby.

The home side looked nervous in the opening exchanges. A couple of missed touch finders, a ball allowed to bounce, some poor handling and the early loss of Luke Crosbie all interrupted the flow.

The first excitement came in the 12th minute. Jaco van Der Walt released Jamie Farndale wide on the left and he made serious yardage before offloading to Chris Dean in the tackle. He tried to find Mark Bennett running an inside line but Justin Tipuric tracking back, reached out and knocked it on. Referee Andrew Brace judged it to be a deliberate knock on and yellow carded the Ospreys Skipper. After a rather lengthy TMO review, he also gave a penalty try. Edinburgh 7 – 0 Ospreys.

Advantage Edinburgh, but almost immediately from the kick off Grant Gilchrist joined Tipuric in the bin for lifting a player above the horizontal in a ruck. Ospreys kicked to the corner, won the line out and after another line out and a few phases, were able to force their way over through prop Nicky Smith. All square at 7-7 after Stephen Myler kicked the easy conversion.

At this point Edinburgh seemed determined to press the self-destruct. Haining missed a high ball, Dean had the ball dislodged in the tackle, and Ospreys were definitely in the ascendancy. To add injury to this Magnus Bradbury was off for an HIA and never returned.

As Justin Tipuric returned to the field Ospreys also gained an edge in the scrum and won a penalty. Stephen Myler stroked it over from distance to give the Welsh province the lead. Edinburgh 7 Ospreys 10.

A few minutes later Edinburgh had a reasonable chance to draw level from the boot of Van Der Walt but his kick went wide.

Poor Edinburgh hands led to Ospreys next try only moments later. A high ball from Charlie Shiel was returned with interest. Nick Haining failed to gather, and in broken field, Ospreys were able to spin it wide to winger Mat Protheroe to run it in under the posts. Myler converted to extend Ospreys lead. Edinburgh 7 Ospreys 17.

From the restart Edinburgh looked to maul but the ball was stolen by Justin Tipuric and inevitably at this point Ospreys then won a penalty for Edinburgh not rolling away. Myler maintained his 100% record from the tee to make it Edinburgh 7 Ospreys 20

Another 3 pts went awry when van Der Walt missed an even more straightforward kick a few minutes later.

As the half time loomed Van Der Walt launched yet another high ball, pointedly asking Graham to chase. He did so with relish, winning the ball high in the air defying his diminutive stature. In the aftermath of that Edinburgh won a penalty. This time van Der Walt made sure of the kick to give Edinburgh the last points of the half.

HT: Edinburgh 10 – 20 Ospreys

The first half trend of the side from the sunny climes of Wales being able to deal with the conditions better continued into the second half, whilst Edinburgh looked like even tying their shoelaces may have been beyond them.

It did take Ospreys 15 minutes of the half to extend their lead but eventually did so after prolonged pressure deep in Edinburgh’s half led to Mat Protheroe going over in the corner for his second of the night. This time Myler was unable to make the kick, but the scoreboard read: Edinburgh 10 Ospreys 25

And that was all she wrote.  Ultimately the most positive thing for Edinburgh was that there was no further scoring when it looked like at one point if the margin could have been much greater.

FT:  Edinburgh 10 Ospreys 25

Plus points. Very few. Some game time for Dan Nutton and Nathan Chamberlain. A start for Charlie Shiel who did no harm to his status. And that’s about it.

Negatives. How do I know thee, let me count the ways? Poor skills, for which the weather isn’t much of an excuse. Injuries? Crosbie after 5 minutes, Bradbury after 20, but defeat to a side that 3 games ago finished bottom of conference A?  Let’s not forget a fourth consecutive loss for Edinburgh in advance of a trip to Cork to play Munster.

Player of the match: Hard one. In reality there was nothing to write home about in Edinburgh’s play but only really Damien Hoyland and Darcy Graham looked comfortable in the conditions and produced anything like performances, even in diversity, that would qualify for this award. On balance I’ll give it to the man from Hawick, who continues to look like the real deal even surrounded by mediocrity.

Referee: Andrew Brace (IRFU)

11 Responses

  1. Pre game I looked at the teams and was concerned.
    AWJ, Webb & Tipiric world class & our backs lacked physicality.
    Liked our back row (2 of them injured in 1st quarter).
    The normally steady VDW had a very poor game, strange decisions like Dean trying to crash ball his way through on our own line.
    A I agreed with on another thread – something not right last night.

    1. Dean is an ex no8 so does not lack physicality. Or should not. he’s an honest player but Edinburgh have the very very average VDW at 10. Hard for backs to prosper outside him and even by his limited standards he had a mare. Yet again Cockerill didn’t hook him until too late.
      Bigger problem again is why a team built for an arm wrestle was so feeble in conditions ideal for an arm wrestle. And why do they persevere with Gilchrist and his inevitable stupid penalties. WTF was he trying to do? And that led to a try. Inexcusable from such an experienced so-called leader

      1. Dean is an honest club player & at Pro14 level does lack physicality (IMO). VDW was very poor last night & the glaringly obvious lack of confidence in Chamberlain is there was everyone to see.
        Officially fed up with GG, average.
        IMO Graham & VDM have papered over the cracks in the Edinburgh backline.
        The release of Matt Scott was exceedingly ill advised

      2. “Graham & VDM have papered over the cracks in the Edinburgh backline”

        absolutely. But it starts at 10. Always sits so deep, not a natural distributer. Hard to play rugby off that
        So Edin are stuck with that and of necessity will revert to up the jumper 10 man rugby. VDW can play that, kick for position and territory. Force errors, go wide on turnover ball as soon as its on. Just needs clear thinking from Cockerill, not falling between 2 stools as he did at Leicester

  2. I also wonder if Pyrgos contributes something in terms of game management/reading the game/communication. I’m not exactly his biggest fan but they seem a lot less composed and a lot more frantic without him.

    1. of course he does. Pyrgos is an excellent player, under-rated only by those who for their own reasons don’t appreciate how good he is . Sheil was asked to game manage with a poor 10 having a mare of a game. In about his 4th start in 3 years. Its a lot harder than looking flash in the last 10 against a tiring team. H eshould have been gradually getting more game time for the last 18 months.
      Cockerill will do the same with Chamberlain even although the need to blood him is so much more pressing and there are no alternatives

  3. These results have been coming for months. Edinburgh scraped a few close Unconvincing wins last season, including one against a Welsh side full of reserves and the best player on the park was a balding guy called Dan Fish I think it was.

  4. Hope someone will teach Gilco the rules. At the moment he gives away silly penalties which cost points (or even games) each time he appears.

    1. Time to replace Gilco and Wilson in Glasgow. Brainless penalty magnets need to be released as teams can’t carry them.

      1. they gave a way one each. Wilson has a reputation for being a pen magnet which doesn’t hold up to scrutiny these days.
        Gilchrist got a card for his and costa try, quite a difference.
        Glasgow’s pen magnet is Kebble. Every game

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion