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CHUNK STARS AS EMBRA SUBSIDE TO VICTORY

Edinburgh: 32 (26) Ospreys: 16 (6)



When snake-hipped centre, Nick de Luca wriggled over for a try with barely a minute on the clock, one felt that Edinburgh were on course for a cricket score.  Or at least a bonus point win over the weakened South Walians.  Sadly, it was not to be.  If anything, the home side perhaps played a bit too much rugby in the early stages rather than build a forward platform.  That shouldn't have been difficult, given the ease with which they smashed the visiting scrummage.

Prior to the kick off tonight, the man with the film star looks, Allan "Chunk" Jacobsen starred in a promotional video for next week's crucial Heineken game against High Wycombe's finest (also available on the edinburghrugby.org.uk site).  With a knowing look and an ozone layer endangering squirt of a mystery aerosol, Embra's double centurion downed a visiting Wasp. 

And it was The Man From The Pans who did the damage tonight, together with his confreres in what is now looking like a handy Embra front row. Yet Edinburgh will be kicking themselves that, 26-6 and two tries to nil up at the break, they once again failed to kick on and claim the bonus.  Indeed, with a fair bit of imagination, one could easily have seen the Ospreys nicking this one, such was the lack of home concentration in the second period.

Edinburgh were on fire from the off, though.  Fielding a pacy back row, featuring the two openside whippets, MacDonald and Rennie, paired with the life-in-the-old-dog-yet No 8 Ali "Hoggy" Hogg, the Gunners were clearly looking to inject some pace into the game.  Fielding an aimless, ELV-related Osprey kick around halfway, Godman saw some space and attacked the left wing.  Great support play and handling by both Hogg and Ross"Rosco" Rennie, the breakdown king, gave de Luca the space he needed to notch the opener.  Paterson converted well from the corner.

After some pressure, Ospreys pulled back a Jarvis penalty for a scrummage offence, but Paterson took the lead back to seven shortly afterwards. 

A feature of tonight's match was the extraordinaryt slackness of Edinburgh's work at the enemy restart.  Immediately after Paterson's three pointer, the Gunners were penalised for going off their feet and Jarvis' second penalty took Ospreys to within four.

Yet Godman kept the scoreboard ticking over on 17 minutes.  The little playmaker rescued an unpromising guddle off decent attacking scrum ball with an alertly taken dropped goal.

Godman was getting a lot of joy with bomb kicks aimed at the space between full back Biggar and Scotland international Walker on the left wing.  On three occasions during the first half, Mark Robertson could and, indeed, probably should, have scored as the Osprey defence struggled to gather.  Paterson knocked over another penalty following an Osprey offence during one such episode.  He took the lead to 19-6 with his fourth of the night on 27 minutes, this time for offside with Edinburgh threatening.

This was probably Edinburgh's best period of the match.  They were winning great ball at the breakdown and really stretching the enemy defence.  Then brilliant openside play saw Rennie nail Phillips catching a garryowen, turning him the wrong way and forcing a penalty.  Godman's alert kick to the other wing nearly saw Robertson over.  The Ospreys were under severe pressure at a series of scrum fives.  With Lacey warning them after Holah had taken the setpiece down again, the stage was set for Dr Geoff Cross, The Planet's Poshest Prop.  The medically qualified man mountain powered over for a try in the corner, superbly converted once again by Paterson.  26-6 at the half.

While never really hitting the heights, Edinburgh were comfortably in control.  The match was suffering from a lack of structure, too many penalties, and a whistler with the poorest positional sense seen at Murrayfield for some years.  So keen was he to keep an eye on goings-on in the ruck that one felt that Lacey did a rather more effective obstruction job than the Ospreys' interference runners.  To be fair, the Osprey forwards themselves often found their way blocked by the hapless Irishman.

The Ospreys started the second period with a new tighthead and a more determined attitude.  They quickly narrowed the gap with a Jarvis penalty.  They were looking more dangerous in possession and Walker scored their try on 56 minutes.  It was the result of a good set of phases which eventually gave full back Biggar some space.  The youngster attacked the left wing and made good progress.  Some quality interplay saw Walker over for the converted try.

Although Edinburgh should have been out of sight, the Ospreys were now only 10 points down with over a quarter left to play.  They could have narrowed the gap yet further as Lacey had a mini-brainstorm.  First, he failed to penalise Thomas for a clear late hit on Blair Minor, the ball long gone.  Then he carded Cross for coming in at the side of a ruck in a danger-free area of the pitch.  Even the Osprey coaching staff, high up in the West Stand, tempered their delight at the power play with not a little incredulity at the Irishman's generosity.

But try as they might, the visitors could not make another breakthrough.  Indeed, Paterson notched his fourth penalty during the power play, when the 8 man Osprey pack were pinged at a scrummage, Edinburgh having sensibly kept play largely in the Osprey half.  And Mossy rounded off the scoring for the evening with another penalty for a foolish ruck offence by Holah on the 77th minute.

All that remained was for Andy "Ned" Kelly to make his way on to the pitch for his 100th appearance for the club, matching tonight's other centurion, Simon Webster, and Phil Godman, who after no-side received a very nice looking tankard for his own century, notched in Castres earlier in the season.

Good to win by a decent margin and with a bit of a workout to boot.  It was equally pleasing to see Ross Rennie get some more game time as his recovery progresses.  However, a significant improvement in quality will be required if Embra are indeed to keep their faint Heineken hopes alive and swat the Wasps next Friday evening.

MAN OF THE MATCH: ALLAN "CHUNK" JACOBSEN, for eating his first opposite number for breakfast in the scrummage, and doing pretty much the same with number two.

SCORERS:

Edinburgh: Paterson 5P 2C, Godman 1DG, de Luca 1T, Cross 1T

Ospreys: Jarvis 3P 1C, Walker 1T

TEAMS:

Edinburgh: Paterson; Robertson, Cairns, De Luca, Webster, Godman, M. Blair (captain); Jacobsen, Ford, G. Cross, C. Hamilton, Gissing, MacDonald, Rennie, Hogg. Replacements: Kelly, Kerr, Mustchin, Newlands, Laidlaw, D. Blair, Hugo.

Ospreys: Bowe, Phillips, Bishop, Parker, Walker, Jarvis, Webb; James (captain), Shervington, Mitchell, Tiatia, Bateman, Tandy, Holah, Smith. Replacements: Marc Breeze, Griffiths, Bevington, Garfield, Thomas, Wells, Beck.

Referee: Lacey (IRFU)