Edinburgh’s Tonks calls for Gloucester repeat

Greig Tonks is determined to ensure lightning strikes twice when his Edinburgh Rugby team visit Glasgow Warriors on Wednesday in the second leg of the 1872 Cup.
Edinburgh's Greig Tonks feels the full force of Glasgow's Stuart Hogg. Pic: SNSEdinburgh's Greig Tonks feels the full force of Glasgow's Stuart Hogg. Pic: SNS
Edinburgh's Greig Tonks feels the full force of Glasgow's Stuart Hogg. Pic: SNS

According to the 24-year-old Scotland international utility back, the feat achieved in turning around a recent European Cup defeat by winning at Gloucester a week later can be repeated.

It has long been accepted that back-to-back fixtures offer extra opportunities in terms of learning fresh lessons quickly.

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Tonks, a revelation since switching from full back to stand off amidst an injury crisis three matches ago, believes Edinburgh left plenty out on the pitch at Murrayfield on Boxing Day during a 20-16 loss largely against the run of play.

“It is a pretty similar set-up to the scenario where we lost to Gloucester at home then won at their Kingsholm ground.

“We’ll look and see what we have to do (now). I’m confident it isn’t a huge task and more a question of delivering.

“We had the ascendancy in first half . . . then moments where we relieved a bit of pressure and all of a sudden they came back into our half. There was a turnover ball. They score. Game over. It was all very frustrating because we attacked well and the game was close, certainly an improvement on last year’s meeting with Glasgow.”

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One plus before Edinburgh, in action six days earlier whereas Glasgow had the weekend off due to a cancellation, ran out of steam was their forward power.

Acknowledging this, Tonks said: “It was good to see the forwards getting a maul going and jogging down the pitch with the ball at the back.”

A feature of Edinburgh’s current displays is the rapport being developed between Tonks and winger Dougie Fife.

In last weekend’s win over Leinster the stand off provided the direct scoring pass; this time he was part of a move also involving Nick De Luca and Jack Cuthbert before Fife crossed for the fourth league game in a row.

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“Dougie is a quick lad with explosive pace. It’s nice to get him a bit of space and get the ball to him,” said Tonks.

“As well as scoring one try he nearly got there a couple more times as well.”

“I am really enjoying stand off which is a little bit different from what I have been used to.

And Fife is ready to continue his journey of rugby discovery when Edinburgh visit Scotstoun on New Year’s Day.

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Fresh from what for him is an unprecedented run of four tries in as many league outings, the 23-year-old winger is preparing to play at the home of Glasgow Warriors for the first time.
Two years ago another Edinburgh wide player, Lee Jones, came with a run of form that took him into the Six Nations Championship with Scotland and the impression is growing that Fife could be likewise.

Certainly an injury to Tommy Seymour, the current Scotland wing, during Edinburgh’s 
20-16 defeat by Glasgow, didn’t do Fife’s prospects of stepping up from A international level any harm.

Adding to the feeling is a strike rate that has now seen him notch nine tries in just 30 league and European Cup starts. If Fife’s heart is pounding at what might lie at the end of the rainbow he isn’t showing it, preferring to put the emphasis on adding to woes that have seen Glasgow lose their last three home league matches.

“I just found out after the game that was four in a row I’d score in and haven’t thought about anything higher,” Fife said.

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“It’s all about the next game and Glasgow is biggest I’ve played in. For us it was one that got away, a case of could have, should have.

“There were a few tries going abegging.”

Fife refused to be down about the outcome, though, and referred to the words of coach Alan Solomons, saying: “Alan has said he is going to look at it while we should come back refreshed.

“We’ve not be too dis-heartened because there is another game (against Glasgow) to come. We can definitely win over there and by more than four points to claim the 1872 Cup but the win will need to come first.

“If we play like we have just done and get over the line with a few more of the opportunities we had we’ll be fine.”