Edinburgh Accies coach Jonny Else lavished praise on his men for the character they displayed against London Welsh at Raeburn Place on Saturday.
Else’s players eventually went down 33-7 on this occasion, with the winning margin enhanced by two late scores against a gutsy Accies side bolstered by the inclusion of several Edinburgh professionals.
“I couldn’t ask for anything more. It’s a shame that at the end we had a couple of silly mistakes,” said Else who saw his team lose heavily to the same opponents in London seven days previously.
“We made them work for it. They are a slick operation, very well coached – they all know what they are doing.”
And he insists that heavy losses against fully professional squads have failed to dent the benefits of Accies being involved in the competition for the first time. “We are saying we are learning all the time, and we are. When it’s back-to-back games, it’s tough,” he added. “We are starting to think a lot more about our recovery and we are learning about the mental side as well as the physical side. A lot of it in these four games has been down to physicality. Of the four games we have played, every one has been a little bit different. It’s been good for us.”
Conditions on Saturday ruled out any hopes of flowing rugby although the visitors shrugged off the effects of a stiff wind and heavy rain to dominate the first half. And it was testament to the determined defensive efforts of the home side that Accies reached the interval only 7-0 in arrears – Ollie Stedman touching down and Will Robinson landing the first of four conversions.
With the wind at their backs, the Exiles continued to press and earned a penalty try before Stedman crossed for a second time. Accies touched when Mike Campbell won a race to the line after a kick and chase – Iain Chisholm converting. However, further scores by Josh Watkins and Billy Moss saw the visitors home to a bonus-point win.
Reflecting on the effort of his players, Else said: “They are actually a bit annoyed because they felt it could have been closer and they felt that they could maybe have been challenging for the win. That’s a sure sign that they feel they are getting better.”