TIM VISSER today shrugged aside the individual glory of a try brace to declare Edinburgh’s 23-23 result with Glasgow at Murrayfield in the Rabo Direct Pro-12 League a win that got away.
Edinburgh twice held a lead of ten points only to prove fortunate to share the spoils when Ruaridh Jackson failed with a last-gasp penalty kick that would have seen Glasgow go ahead for the first time in a match played out in front of a record crowd for the fixture of 13,240.
Visser, who has now scored eight tries from his last five outings, said: “I’m genuinely disappointed. The way the boys were in the dressing-room, too, it felt like a loss. I genuinely hate draws but we’ll take two points and it makes the return leg at Firhill (on Sunday) more interesting.”
The outcome hinged on three decisions referred to video referee Ian Ramage who twice ruled in favour of Edinburgh in awarding Visser touchdowns and also gave them benefit of the doubt when Chris Paterson was adjudged to have beaten David Lemi to the touch as a ball bounced awkwardly over the home line.
Despite getting the rub of the green Edinburgh could have been out of sight long before Glasgow rallied although, according to Visser, it was inevitable the visitors would hit back.
Admitting that he wasn’t convinced he’d be awarded the tries which took his tally for the season to 13 winger Visser said: “I’ve had a few lately not going my way so I was delighted when they did. It took a bit longer than I would have liked for the decisions to be made but I was delighted nevertheless.
“Glasgow dominated the breakdowns (by the end) and we couldn’t get any ball. They slowed our ball down and got a couple of turnovers. That stopped our game.”
As to the return leg, Visser remarked: “It (Firhill) is a very tight ground so we are going to have to change our tactics slightly. I wouldn’t say we played expansively, anyway.”
Edinburgh coach Michael Bradley is already plotting an alternative approach for the rematch as he came to terms with a bittersweet occasion.
“We’ll have a look at the video and decide what team to pick. For a tighter pitch we could be looking at a different approach,” said Bradley while hinting that closing out games is the priority.
“We did get in to a winning position and we didn’t capitalise. To be 10-10 at half-time then go ten points up we were feeling a bit better at that stage. But you have to hand it to Glasgow who are a difficult side to break down. Our tries were exceptional and for Tim to get two was great. We knew Glasgow would come back and they were very dominant in the last ten minutes and put us under a lot of pressure. Twenty minutes out and we were looking at a potential win; with two minutes to go we were delighted to get a draw.
“It was always going to be a difficult with Glasgow nine points ahead of us in the league table and deservedly so. They are a difficult side to break down and were not going to give up easily.
“I did not think we were dominant at any stage but when we got pace up we had two other opportunities. If we had taken those it would have been hard for them to come back but still not impossible.”
Glasgow coach Sean Lineen, who saw international utility back Rory Lamont stretchered off with a face knock, said: “We made it easy for Edinburgh at times by falling off one-on-one tackles. If we start off like that next week we will not do well. We’ve got to work on our discipline and make our luck.
“We sat off them too much.”
Coupled with Michael Bradley’s summing up that meant Scotland’s Andy Robinson was undoubtedly the happiest coach around Murrayfield.
For, what Robinson saw was flanker Ross Rennie score the first try with a superb all round display at the heart of a more dynamic Edinburgh pack while both scrum-halfs, Mike Blair and Chris Cusiter, were close to peak powers.
Blair formed a competent half-back link with Greig Laidlaw which came close to ensuring Edinburgh came out on top but, in admittedly tricky conditions, good work was undone by three successive lineout losses while restart work and discipline, especially in the Glasgow ‘22’, needs tightened.
To begin with it looked as though Edinburgh would blow away a Glasgow side who simply didn’t turn up for the opening exchanges but even with Pat McArthur sin-binned they couldn’t take full advantage.
With two minutes gone Rennie went over for Laidlaw to convert and a Laidlaw penalty had Edinburgh in charge at 10-0 before Duncan Weir reduced the gap by a penalty.
A soft try won through an undefended blindside by Al Kellock will have caused Edinburgh’s defence coach nightmares and with Weir converting from the touchline it was all square at the interval.
An exchange of penalties was a prelude to two tries in three minutes from Visser out wide, the first from a scrum heel against the head and the second from slick passing which saw him retain sufficient composure to stretch out even when stumbling.
That should have been that but Edinburgh lost their way to concede tries to Colin Shaw and Ruaridh Jackson.
Lamont was taken to hospital for scans but was released later and said to be in “good shape” by Glasgow. However, he is unlikely to be fit for the return match at Firhill on New Year’s Day.
Scorers: Edinburgh: Tries: Visser (2), Rennie. Conversion: Laidlaw. Penalties: Laidlaw (2)
Glasgow: Tries: Kellock, Shaw, Jackson. Conversion: Weir. Penalties: Weir (2)
Edinburgh: Paterson, Jones, De Luca, King (Scott, 69), Visser, Laidlaw (captain), Blair, Traynor (Jacobsen, 50), Ford, Cross, Gilchrist, Cox (Lozada, 40), Denton, Talei, Rennie (Grant 62). Subs not used: Walker, Godman, Gilding, Thompson.
Glasgow: Hogg, Lemi, Nathan, Morrison, Lamont (Shaw, 36), Weir (Jackson, 55), Cusiter, Grant (Welsh, 16), MacArthur (Hall, 55), Cusack (Low, 55), Gray (Ryder, 55), Kellock (captain), Harley, Beattie (Hall, 21-26 and Fusaro, 32), Barclay. Sub not used: Pyrgos.
Referee: N Paterson.