Edinburgh coach Alan Solomons admitted his side “didn’t have one of their best performances” after sliding to a 19-13 defeat by Gloucester in the final of the European Challenge Cup at Twickenham Stoop last night.
The Capital men were the first Scottish team to reach a European final but found themselves playing catch-up rugby throughout and were always second best for the first hour.
At 19-6 down approaching the last ten minutes, a red card for Gloucester centre Bill Meakes gave Edinburgh a sniff and Ross Ford crashed over for a try. Sam Hidalgo-Clyne’s conversion reduced the gap to six points but Gloucester – for whom Scotland skipper Greig Laidlaw was excellent and contributed 14 points with the boot – rallied to see out the game.
“In the first half we didn’t play particularly well,” conceded Solomons. “We lacked possession and territory, there were too many turnovers and some of our kicking was quite wayward.
“We showed resilience and came back in that second half. There was a little bit of a momentum shift. It wasn’t that the players weren’t up for it. We have to give credit to our opponents. When Fordy got the try and they were down to 14 men I thought we had a real chance to win it. We got deep into their 22 then gave away a penalty and they held the ball to the end of game. We had an opportunity to win.”
Edinburgh must now return their focus to securing a place in the top six of the Guinness Pro12 that will see them play in the European Champions Cup next season. If they were to finish seventh they will face Gloucester in the play-offs for Europe’s elite competition.