Staurt McInally accepts sin-binning - but Edinburgh coach does not

Richard Cockerill rallies to defence of his hooker

Sunday, 22nd December 2019, 10:30 pm
Fraser Brown goes down under Stuart McInally

Edinburgh and Scotland hooker Stuart McInally has accepted that his yellow card for contact with the head of Glasgow opposite number and Scotland squad-mate Fraser Brown during Saturday’s 1872 Cup clash at Scotstoun was legitimate given the strict rules of rugby.

McInally, who captained Scotland at the recent World Cup in Japan, was one of five sin-binnings on either side during the match which the Warriors won 20-16.

Rookie SRU ref Ben Blain also yellow carded Ruaridh Jackson and George Turner of Glasgow, as well as McInally’s team-mates Bill Mata and Nic Groom.

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Most, if not all were debatable in what was a fairly contested match, but regarding his challenge on Brown, which ended the latter’s game and puts him in head injury assessment protocols ahead of the return match at BT Murrayfield this Saturday afternoon, McInally said: “Obviously if you make contact with the head that is the rule now. If there was contact it was accidental. It was just one of those things, unfortunately.”

His coach Richard Cockerill was less sure about the incident, in which Brown’s head connect with McInally who was standing in support as the Glasgow man broke through an initial tackle.

He said: “I think Stuart McInally’s [card] was a penalty only. That’s a rugby incident all day long. Obviously, you want to look after players’ safety, but I’m not sure what Stuart was meant to do there.”

Glasgow’s win means they can now regain the trophy at the national stadium and break the stranglehold of Edinburgh, who have won the inter-city duel four times in the past five seasons and both since it went to a three-match series in

2017-18. The final leg takes place back at BT Murrayfield at the end of the regular season at the end of May.

Glasgow coach Dave Rennie said: “We are playing the same enemy. We don’t plan on changing a hell of a lot.

“There were a number of things we wanted to put on the park but we didn’t see, so it is going to be a case of tweaking a few of those things. But a bit of time with family is important.

“We’re not back in until Thursday. We’re going to give the boys a bit of time at Christmas and then come in on Boxing Day and we will train then.” Cockerill added: “We’re disappointed we lost. We have to be better at what we do. Parts of our game need to improve. But we’ll dust ourselves off and come back next Saturday and have another crack at it.”

George Turner’s 78th-minute try proved decisive as Warriors edged to a 20-16 victory at Scotstoun. But the Capital club could not build on their strong recent derby record as the home side sealed a fourth win in 12 meetings between the teams.

Cockerill added: “We were in it to the death and we weren’t quite good enough to get over the line to win the game. So, we take the point.

“We’ve come a long way from two-and-a-half years ago. From the reaction of the crowd it was like a cup final to them.”