Edinburgh Rugby: How non-playing members of squad filled in for missing fans

Edinburgh Rugby head coach Mike Blair paid tribute to the non-playing members of his squad for helping generate an atmosphere inside the DAM Health Stadium which spurred the team to a 34-10 victory over Cardiff.

Fans were absent for Edinburgh's URC clash with Cardiff but the non-playing members of the home side's squad made plenty of noise. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)
Fans were absent for Edinburgh's URC clash with Cardiff but the non-playing members of the home side's squad made plenty of noise. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

With supporters absent due to Scottish Government restrictions, the players who weren’t stripped stepped up to the plate. They formed a guard of honour to clap on the home team then gave noisy vocal support throughout as Edinburgh notched a bonus-point win to go top of the United Rugby Championship.

“I spoke to the guys in the huddle afterwards and didn’t actually speak about the game at all,” said Blair, the Edinburgh coach. “I spoke about the non-23 because the noise they made, backing guys who had taken their position, I just thought it was outstanding.

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“It pushes us in the right direction of what I want to be as a club. I want everyone striving to be as good as we can be, even if that means helping out someone in your own position.”

Man of the match Magnus Bradbury suffered a facial injury in the win over Cardiff. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)

It was Edinburgh’s first game for four weeks and the win moved them above Leinster at the top, although Blair played down the significance.

“It’s not something which I am massively focused on,” said the coach. “The way that the fixtures have gone the second half of the league is going to be tougher. We’re going to have more away games, and some games against some quality Irish opposition in particular, but also some good Welsh opposition.

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“We’re pleased with where we are because getting points on the board early on is excellent, but we don’t want to get carried away. There was some great stuff out there but there was a five-minute period where we’ve got some learning to do as well.

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A happy James Lang celebrates Edinburgh's fourth try in the 34-10 victory over Cardiff. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)

“You never really know what’s going to happen because it’s been four weeks since the last game but what I’m learning from these players is that they thrive in these situations of adversity.

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“I shouldn’t be surprised by what we did, by the effort on both sides of the ball. That first five minutes: the defensive set, and then to turn the ball over with our transition attack and score from it, is what we’ve been talking about.”

It was Magnus Bradbury - the man of the match - who won the early turnover which led to Ramiro Moyano’s opening try. Fellow Argentine winger Emiliano Boffelli added a second minutes later. The two early scores put Edinburgh in the driving seat and they never looked like giving up their winning position.

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“Ramiro and Emiliano are both really good guys,” said Blair. “I likened Ramiro to Derrick Lee and we saw that again.

“Emiliano is a completely different character - his English is not as good, but he’s just really passionate about his rugby and getting to know the boys. And putting his body on the line.”

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Edinburgh hooker Stuart McInally was withdrawn as a precaution at half-time after suffering a bang to the shoulder/neck area.

Cardiff No 8 James Botham was taken off on a stretcher in the second half after sustaining a head knock. The Welsh club also lost both their hookers, Kirby Myhill and Liam Belcher. All three are being assessed but director of rugby Dai Young said he was not overly concerned by the injuries.

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