Edinburgh skipper: Redemption can be swift

Edinburgh's Ross Ford, right, and Glasgow Warriors captain Al Kellock engage in some off-the-ball rivalry.  Picture: Robert Perry. Josh Strauss scored the only try of the game, below.
Edinburgh's Ross Ford, right, and Glasgow Warriors captain Al Kellock engage in some off-the-ball rivalry. Picture: Robert Perry. Josh Strauss scored the only try of the game, below.
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Edinburgh Rugby captain Mike Coman believes a short turn-around before the return leg of the 1872 Cup tie with Glasgow can help his side emerge triumphant from Friday’s clash at BT Murrayfield.

According to the Kiwi back-row, what needs to be put right is self-evident, with the lessons fresher in the mind due to just six days separating the fixtures.

“We’re a disappointed group,” said Coman of a match Edinburgh lost 16-6 at Scotstoun. “There will be a harsh session, but I definitely think it can be turned around because in these back-to-back games the lessons are raw.”

Specifically, Coman reckons work needs to go into ensuring Edinburgh don’t come off second best in rucks and collisions and if that happens then prospects are bright. “I think our breakdown needs to be a lot stronger as it was a bit repetitive, especially in the wide channels.

“They slowed our ball down and the breakdown is key. It wasn’t good enough.

“We’ll be looking to assess the numbers we put into breakdowns and the quality of what we do when we get in there. We were weak over the ball at times.

“I don’t think there was too much in it, but our errors were crucial.

“As soon as we got down there, we would be making mistakes. We would get there and give away a silly penalty or turn over the ball at times.

“We were not good enough and are under no illusions that Glasgow will be the strongest side we have played at home this season and we have to reach a new level.

“But things can be turned around. I definitely think so.”

A single try, by Josh Strauss, is the lowest number Glasgow have scored at home in the league this season and in that respect Edinburgh can take some comfort from their work. But no more than a crumb, because the overall stats of how Edinburgh are faring when confronted by teams in the top six places they aspire to tell a damning tale.

Against those half-dozen pacesetters, Edinburgh have scored a paltry four tries in six outings so far this season, compared to a horrific concession of 22.

Almost as bad was the lack of ambition shown when, trailing 13-3, they opted to take a kick at goal early in the second half through sub Tom Heathcote, rather than punt into touch and attempt to ransack the Glasgow line for seven points instead of three.

It was almost tantamount to heading west and targeting a losing bonus point, which might be acceptable to some teams, but not for one representing a city of profound rugby heritage.

The crash-bash down the middle approach so evident in so many games this season never looked like finding a way through an organised opposition defence and only one breenge by Greg Tonks had Glasgow scurrying in the entire 80 minutes.

Later, when it became obvious Edinburgh had to throw a bit of caution to the wind and chase the game, the sterile format again caught up with them; players simply lacked the cohesion to try to find a way past a tiring opposition rearguard out wide.

Here, there might be a case for throwing in young centre Chris Dean on Friday in the knowledge he has pace and flair that are badly needed; all that is lacking is experience, but this Edinburgh back line are hardly renowned for bold calls.

Indeed, to hit the new year lying eighth in the Guinness Pro 12 is no improvement whatsoever and certainly no justification for the stodgy fare constantly served up against rugby’s bigger fry.

Interestingly, Saturday’s match programme chose to illustrate the threat posed by Edinburgh with a photograph of current Scotland winger Tim Visser. Not only that, Visser was stated to be official Edinburgh “danger man” and a statistic showing him to be Edinburgh’s top try-scorer with 52 was flagged up.

Yet, when it came to the event, the winger was missing and said to be “resting”; how Edinburgh missed the extra physique Visser possesses compared to stand-in Tom Brown who, for all his elusiveness, was brushed aside by Sean Lamont in the key moment which produced the decisive try for Josh Strauss.

According to Solomons, even if Visser had been around, prospects for him to influence had to be set against forward subjugation accounting for lack of field position to enable strike weapons to be released.

That seemed a bit harsh on the contributions of those at the coal face such as Ally Dickinson, Ross Ford, Roddy Grant and Ben Toolis, who toiled admirably on a day when there was irony in Glasgow’s supposedly superior pack containing Alex Allan, shown the door by Edinburgh during the summer.

At least Solomons’ one-dimensional Edinburgh were able to dream early on when Sam Hidalgo-Clyne kicked a straightforward penalty. However, it was a lead that was to last just 12 minutes when Duncan Weir equalised before putting Glasgow ahead then converting Strauss’s all-too-avoidable try.

As for the second half, honours were even at 3-3 as both teams emptied their benches and the game lost shape while continuing to be close enough to hold the attention of most of a crowd of 6945, not least when Duncan Weir and Rob Harley retired hurt for Glasgow, prompting concerns ahead of the Six Nations Championship.


Glasgow: Try – Strauss. Conversion – Weir. Penalties - Weir (3).

Edinburgh: Penalties – Hidalgo-Clyne, Heathcote.

Glasgow: Hogg; Lamont, Dunbar, Horne, van der Merwe; Weir, Pyrgos (Matawalu 52); Grant (Allan 64), MacArthur, Murray (Welsh 52), Swinson, Kellock (Wilson 60), Wilson (Holmes 62), Strauss, Harley (Nakawara 57).

Edinburgh: Cuthbert (Heathcote 42); Fife, Scott, Strauss (Burleigh 62), Brown (Hart 70); Tonks, Hidalgo-Clyne; Dickinson, Ford (Cochrane 56), Andress (Nel 54), Bresler (McKenzie 52), Toolis, Coman, Denton, Grant, (McInally 70).

Referee: George Clancy (Ireland).