Hidalgo-Clyne: Edinburgh need quick ball to set up attacks

Sam Hidalgo-Clyne has forced his way back into the team but was left frustrated against Glasgow
Sam Hidalgo-Clyne has forced his way back into the team but was left frustrated against Glasgow
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Edinburgh were hoping that Boxing Day’s derby showdown would be the occasion that injected some much-needed impetus into their faltering season but were left deflated by another painful defeat.

The home side dominated possession for long periods on Monday but the gulf in class when it comes to taking chances was plain to see as Glasgow avenged three straight defeats at the hands of their Scottish rivals with a clinical victory.

Edinburgh have defied the odds in the past couple of years but simply didn’t have the firepower to hurt the Warriors this time around, even when they briefly had them on the ropes.

“We had a lot of possession at times, we just didn’t get over that line,” reflected scrum-half Sam Hidalgo-Clyne.

“Glasgow are a very strong defensive team, and they showed that. They slowed our ball right down and made it hard for us. The stats will show that they slowed it down pretty well. I was struggling to get the ball away.

“They were being a nuisance, using their feet, even taking our cleaners out and then coming through on me. They did well in that aspect.”

A motivated Glasgow clearly upped their performance as they sought to end that niggling run of losses to the Capital side but it was also the case that Edinburgh were well off the standard of those recent 1872 Cup clashes in which they strangled the opposition into submission before inflicting some killer blows.

“I think our attack and our breakdown work were a lot better in the previous games,” admitted Hidalgo-Clyne. “Certainly we were ruthless in the last few [1872] games. Our defence has always been strong in these games, but our attack and the breakdown work was not up to scratch. We knew how to disrupt them, unfortunately we didn’t get the ball quickly enough to be able to do that.”

The scrum-half expressed frustration at a tryless 80 minutes which means Edinburgh’s reputation as a stuffy side that is too often a harmless attacking unit lingers into 2017.

“We don’t go into a game looking to be the best defensive team in the league, we want to start winning ball,” said the Scotland cap. “We can’t go into games with the mindset of just defending.

“We’ve certainly got to sort our breakdown work out, that’s for sure. We can’t go into every game having slow ball, because then we can’t attack.

“We don’t go into a game trying to make mistakes.”

Hidalgo-Clyne said there were crumbs of comfort in the amount of ball they were able to have in the game but it was comfort of the coldest kind.

“You’ve got to take the positives out of it. But we need to start learning to do something with that possession. We need to start getting points, because otherwise there’s no point having it.”

After a difficult year Hidalgo-Clyne has manoeuvred himself back to the top of he No.9 pecking order and showed some flashes that he is getting back to his stellar form of early 2015 but it was of no consolation. “It was probably a frustrating game for me, because I was wanting to run. I was wanting to put in a few kicks,” he said.

“I thought their back three covered the back field pretty well. We were looking to put high balls on their winger, which we didn’t do early on in the game. They probably dictated the game and didn’t let us play their game plan.”

Edinburgh need to shake off the disappointment and focus on what is now a critically important trip to face Zebre in Italy at the weekend.

It was the Italian strugglers who stalled the resurgence Edinburgh enjoyed after Duncan Hodge took the interim head coach reins when they registered a rare away win at BT Murrayfield earlier in the season.

It is crystal clear that making Edinburgh a team that can compete at the top of the Pro12 is no quick fix but, the harsh reality of professional sport means that a loss in Italy and drop into the bottom two heading into the new year would not be a good look at all.

“It’s always going to be a tough game, because away over there they’re different beasts at home,” said Hidalgo-Clyne.