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DOUBLE DERBY DISASTER

Edinburgh: 15 (9) Glasgow: 22 (14)



In one respect, if in no others, this calamitous Embra performance was actually an improvement on last week's disaster at Firhill.  The Gunners at least managed to salvage a bonus point from the wreckage.  Despite their almost offensively poor performances in the 1872 Cup, they remain in fifth place, just two points behind Munster in fourth.  They look a million miles away from playoff contenders on current form, though.

The match saw the welcome return of 'Big' Jim Hamilton to the second row, and one felt that the set piece was more solid as a result. Yet it was the back row confrontation where this match was lost.  For much of the time, it seemed almost as if Edinburgh had made a conscious decision not to contest the breakdown.  This was particularly unfortunate given that you could count the number of home offloads throughout the match on the fingers of one hand.  Time and again, the Embra ball carrier went to ground.  The increasingly impressive visiting back row needed no excuse to get stuck in.  As a result, the speed of ball delivered at the breakdown was as ponderous as Edinburgh's play more generally. 

There is now a distinct lack of confidence about this side.  The decision makers seem at a loss as to what to do and the support play is poor.  Crucially, there is something wrong with the current Embra back row blend that needs to be sorted out pronto.  Edinburgh had plenty of chances to win this match, but one never felt they had the gumption to take advantage. 

Glasgow, meanwhile, pounced on every chance they had, while Cardiff-bound playmaker Dan Parks kept the scoreboard ticking over whenever his side had a spell of pressure.  As a result, Edinburgh started to chase the game way too soon - early in the second quarter when they were only eight points down.  As well as Cusiter, Max Evans impressed at outside centre, while Morrison's almost inexplicable elusiveness saw the big inside centre make a number of important line breaks.

Jim Hamilton announced his return by taking his opposite number, Ally Kellock, out in the air as the latter was gathering the opening kickoff.  A declaration of internt, one felt, albeit perhaps only the early timing of the offence saving Hamilton from a yellow card.  But while Edinburgh had the early pressure, it was Glasgow who coulda, shoulda scored the opening try, Thom Evans making a hash of a fly hack after the ball had gone to ground in the Embra midfield.  Parks slotted a penalty on seven minutes, though, to give the visitors a lead they were not to lose.

Parks added to it shortly afterwards with an alertly taken dropped goal after a Glasgow attack looked to be stymied.

Paterson chased his own garryowen well to tackle and turn the fielding Stortoni immediately after.  The Argentine was pinged for holding on and Paterson clawed back a penalty.  But there was a real feeling that Edinburgh were mentally somewhere else.  And a clever dink by Parks behind the rushing defence saw Canadian international DTH van der Merwe over in the corner for an unconverted try on 13 minutes.  Barclay might have been over soon afterwards, but for a fine Cairns tackle and a forward pass.

Then van der Merwe was carded for tackling Mark Robertson in the air.  A mite unlucky, given that it was not dissimilar to Hamilton's offence on Kellock - as Kellock pointed out to referee Allan.  Glasgow emerged from the powerplay with their lead intact, a Parks three pointer cancelling out Paterson's.  Although Edinburgh had had some territory, they lacked cool heads in key positions to do something constructive with it.

Powerplay number two began with three minutes left in the half, Kellock carded for a foolish ruck offence.  This set up a period of Embra pressure on the Glasgow line, but their desperately laboured efforts came to naught, Paterson at least notching a penalty to leave the score at the break 9-14 Glasgow.  Frankly, Edinburgh were lucky to be this close.

On Kellock's return, a Godman kick in midfield was hacked down and again Cairns' good work in defence saved a try.  But it was not long in coming - a few forward drives close in drew the defence before Parks launched a fine bomb towards Stortoni, the Argentine full back gathered under little pressure and flopped down for another unconverted try.  Twenty minutes left and one felt that Glasgow could have targeted the try bonus.

It was mainly Edinburgh for the rest of the match, though, Glasgow seemingly content to absorb the pressure as Embra went nowhere fast.  At least Paterson was able to nail his fifth penalty on the stroke of no-side to secure the losing bonus point.  Not much consolation as Edinburgh sunk to their first home defeat in the Inter-City for eight years.

Glasgow richly deserved their win and the 1872 Cup this term.  They both out-fought and out-thought their opponents comprehensively.   As well as their established stars, one was impressed by Ritchies Vernon and Gray, while that is shaping up to be a dominating Glasgow front row.   If they can maintain their mental application, they should comfortably qualify for the playoffs.

Edinburgh, meanwhile, could effectively exit both Magners contention and the Heineken in the next two matches.  Yet paradoxically, a decent win could make a big difference to their confidence.  The guys are capable of getting the show back on the road if they start performing.  And with no disrepect to the visiting Blues, next Saturday evening's visit of the Cardiff side offers Edinburgh a great opportunity to do just that.

 

MAN OF THE MATCH: KELLY BROWN, the key performer in the match winning back row.

SCORERS:

Edinburgh: Paterson 5P

Glasgow: Parks 3P 1DG, DTH Van der Merwe 1T, Stortoni 1T

TEAMS:

Edinburgh: C Paterson (captain), M Robertson, B Cairns, J Houston, T Visser, P Godman, G Laidlaw, K Traynor, R Ford, G Cross, S MacLeod, J Hamilton, A MacDonald, R Grant, S Newlands.
Replacements: S Crombie/A Kelly, A Jacobsen, C Hamilton, D Callam, R Samson, N De Luca, J Thompson.

Glasgow: Stortoni, van der Merwe, M. Evans, Morrison, T. Evans, Parks, Cusiter, Welsh, Hall, Low, Gray, Kellock (captain), Brown, Barclay, Vernon. Replacements: Thomson, Tkachuk, Turner, Beattie, Gregor, Jackson, O'Hare.

Referee: Allan (SRU)