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Edinburgh Rugby:24 (10) Neathswanseaospreys:16 (9)

With Murrayfield out of commission due to the Sunday international, the Gunners went on their travels again this evening, this time to Myreside, which for some time was their home.  One was reminded of Jason Hita and Robbie Williams' 'Let Me Entertain You' echoing around the Merchiston and Morningside areas in days of yore.

The last time these two sides met in Edinburgh, it was also at a temporary venue - last season's fixture at Meggetland during the great nematode infestation.  Edinburgh came away 31-25 victors on that occasion.  Certainly a happier memory than their more recent 62-13 shellacking at the Liberty this term.  The return to Myreside proved to be an altogether cheerier experience.

It was certainly cheery in prospect.  With Jade Te Rure at 10, Hugh 'Shug' Blake making his debut on the flank, a creative pairing in the centres in the form of Burleigh and Beard and Scotland 7s try machine Damien Hoyland on the wing, there was much salivating among those observers who like their rugby groovy.  That, and the Ospreys fielding a side weakened by more international calls than their hosts, held out the hope that the Embramen would avenge the defeat in Swansea.  The quality of XV fielded showcased the increasing depth in the Gunner squad.

But it was grit, not groove, that won this match for the home side.

The opening exchanges were pretty scrappy, with both sides making unforced errors.  But already Jade was looking useful, a sublime half break and Sonny-Bill-style offload putting Coman charging into the enemy 22. He missed a wide penalty chance on six minutes, though, when the Edinburgh pack smashed the Welsh scrum, forcing the offence. The Ospreys were already struggling up front, both in set piece and loose, in the face of Embra power.  The breakdown penalties against the visitors were already piling up as a result (the referee warned them about the count on 15 minutes) and Bresler and 'Larry' Graysonhart were also putting themselves about a bit.

But it was the Ospreys who went ahead, Davies knocking over a long penalty on 16 minutes against the run of play.  He was charged down clearing the ball immedateely after the restart and then sclaffed a clearance to give the Gunners an excellent attacking lineout.  The maul rumbled into the 22, then the ball was shipped wide.  Tom 'Schooldays' Brown made good ground on the opposite wing before the pack put in the phases, advancing into the enemy 22 again.  The ball was shipped quickly across field, where Burleigh offloaded to Cuthbert, running a great line in traffic.  The big baker put Jade over for the try, converted by himself for a 7-3 lead at the end of the first quarter.  It reminded me a little of a similar try scored at Myreside many years ago by a slight young 10 in his first season of pro rugby.  And Chris Paterson did alright in subsequent years.

The match was livening up big time shortly afterwards as Davies made a wonderful clean break between two forwards around halfway and really should have created a score, but the ball went forward.  Cochrane left the field temporarily and Stuart McInally made his hooking debut for the Embramen.  If anything, Rambo's presence only strengthened the pack, which saw the Ospreys eight retreat at pace at the next scrummage.  Coman was putting in a power of work in attack and defence.

But the Welsh region seemed to be getting their eye in now, an unnecessary Edinburgh lineout penalty allowing Davies to claw back another three with his second penalty on 27 minutes.  He booted his side ahead on 35 minutes as Bresler tackled a man with 'not enough arm' for the referee's liking. Edinburgh had only themselves to blame, having given away field position cheaply in the second quarter, allowing the visitors the opportunities to score.

After a lovely Beard run along the right wing, the Ospreys themselves gave away a cheap penalty under pressure, although Jade missed the simple chance.  But the Ospreys kicked the dropout straight out, though, giving the Embramen an attacking scrummage.  Once again, the visitors collapsed under pressure, coughing up another penalty in the same place.  This time, Jade knocked it over - just off the bar - and with a rueful smile headed off with Edinburgh 10-9 ahead at the break. 

Things weren't quite clicking for the Gunners, but it looked like just a bit more accuracy could pay dividends in the second period, not least given their forward dominance.  WP 'WP' Nel and Sutherland were having dominating outings up front.  Jade was having a bit of a mixed match, perhaps trying to force things a bit too much.  But some of his touches and half-breaks were sublime and this kid looks like he has a future in Edinburgh.

Early on after the restart, Larry scooted round the back of a scrum, made good ground and gave to Blake, who just could not hold the pass with the line beckoning.  And Edinburgh were then conned at the scrum, the opposition scrum half delaying the put-in just long enough to catch them putting the pressure on.  Slightly worryingly, the Ospreys were starting to find some holes in the defence wider out.

On 51 minutes, Heathcote came on for Jade, in a move that looked tactical, possibly to tighten up the Edinburgh attack a little and build field position.  That seemed to be the instruction, while Larry was sniping as the Gunners upped the pace themselves.  Ollie Atkins was having a stormer in the boilerhouse in this, the season of the tyro locks at Edinburgh, and Fraser McKenzie's appearance for Bresler was an illustration of the strength in depth that the Gunners now have among the lofty guys. 

On the hour, the Edinburgh scrummage simply shoved the Ospreys off their own ball, Coman and Blake took the ball on into the 22 but Hoyland was pinged for holding on, the support just not there quickly enough. 

Better was to come, though, as Brown nipped through a gap in the defence, the ball then taken on by Burleigh.  Again, Blake took the ball up well, the pack put in a few phases and Heathcote picked out an unmarked Brown in wide open prairie on the left wing for the Law Primary product to touch down.  Heathcote added the extras with a little help from the post.  17-9 and the Embramen were now more than a converted try ahead with 15 minutes left on the clock. 

Immediately afterwards, Hoyland was adjudged by the TMO to have executed a dangerous tackle and was carded.  The crowd were not happy, but it was the correct decision and was simply poor discipline, of which there was too much this evening.  Shortly afterwards, Coman was penalised at the breakdown and the Ospreys went for goal, at least to secure the losing bonus. Davies missed the relatively straightforward kick on 67 minutes.

Duncan Jones showed that the Embramen did not have a monopoly on cheap penalties, his spectacular stupidity in obstructing Roddy Grant immediately from the dropout gave Heathcote a long chance.  The kick was missed, but the Gunners regained possession and, as importantly, were able to run down some time.

Alan Solomons had been sparing in his use of replacements and with the match into the final 10 minutes, one felt that he would trust the men on the park to get the job done.  The Gunners survived the power play and, once again, the Embrascrum destroyed the visitors' set piece, Larry pounced on a guddle at the base of the scrum and kicked into the 22.  Adam Jones was carded for taking down the attacking maul.  Edinburgh built the phases in the Osprey 22 and eventually Larry celebrated his Man of the Match award by diving over from the base of the ruck for a well-deserved try.   This was his sort of match and he'd been a key influence throughout.  Heathcote's conversion finished the match as a contest at 24-9.  Three tries with two minutes left.  Was the bonus on? 

The Gunners went for it, but instead, it was the Ospreys who had the last word, some frantic handling eventually seeing Evans reach over after an Edinburgh attack had petered out.  Davies' conversion left the final score 24-16 Edinburgh and the hunt for a top 6 finish continues.  The try was deserved, given the contribution the visitors had made.  But the Embramen deserved the victory, having taken the game by the scruff of the neck in the middle 20 minutes of the second half and made their forward superiority count. 

For the moment, they sit in seventh place, a mere point off Connacht, albeit the West coasters have a game in hand.  Ulster are next up on Friday, back at Murrayfield.