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SETBACK IN SWANSEA

Ospreys: 31 Edinburgh: 10



As a result of a scheduling misunderstanding, your correspondent turned on Freeview Channel 302 at 5 o’clock yesterday afternoon only to be confronted by a beaming Jeremy Guscott and an equally cheery, if rather hairier, Ryan Jones.  One’s worst fears were confirmed as it emerged that Edinburgh had just subsided to a disappointing defeat in front of a crowd of 7,000.

 

Along with Limerick and Dublin, Swansea looks like being one of the three toughest away trips this season.  So it is no disaster that Edinburgh came away on the losing side after yesterday’s clash at the Liberty Stadium, following two successive victories at the venue in recent years.

 

What is worrying, though, is that the defeat was by 21 points the weekend prior to the Heineken campaign kicking off with an away trip to Paris, an interception try stretching the margin somewhat.  Maybe the squad had an eye on the coming European fortnight, maybe now was not the right time to rest Chris Paterson.  Whatever it was, they were second best in most respects to an Ospreys side that is beginning to come into some form. 

 

As against Leinster, the breakdown was a real concern.  Given that the opposition have now worked out that to stop Edinburgh, you need to slow their ball, there is a real challenge for the back row to up their game if the solid start to the season is to be maintained.  If he is playing next week, a certain Mr Taylor is no slouch in that department and will need to be sorted out.

 

The loss saw Edinburgh fall to fourth in the league going in to the first break of the season, three points behind Leinster and one behind both the Hairsprays and Ulster.  Not a bad place to be, but it should have been better.

 

A Godman penalty and Visser’s converted try in first half injury time were all the Gunners had to show for their efforts.  Meanwhile, the Ospreys secured the bonus point with four converted tries and a penalty after three first half touchdowns by the home side had set the foundation for a comfortable win.  Last week, I suggested that a losing bonus point should be the minimum acceptable return from any match this season.  Clearly, yesterday’s result was unacceptable from that perspective, the try bonus adding insult to injury.

 

Stade Francais await the Gunners next weekend.  All things are relative, of course.  Nevertheless, this is quite possibly the weakest/least strong group that Edinburgh have featured in since their one and only appearance in the knock-out stages.  It goes without saying that three home wins are essential.  But two away wins may also be required to progress.  Embra have to go to Paris looking for a win.  If they are successful in that, they will have got off to a Euro flier.

 

MAN OF THE MATCH: RYAN JONES.

 

SCORERS:

Ospreys: Tries: Bowe, R Jones, Byrne, Thomas. Cons: Biggar (4). Pen: Biggar.

Edinburgh: Try: Visser. Con: Godman. Pen: Godman.

TEAMS:

 

Ospreys: L Byrne; N Walker, T Bowe, J Hook, S Williams; D Biggar, M Phillips; D Jones, R Hibbard, C Griffiths, AW Jones, J Thomas, T Smith, M Holah, R Jones (Capt)..

Edinburgh
: S Jones; M Robertson, N De Luca, J Houston, T Visser; P Godman, M Blair (Capt); A Jacobsen, A Kelly, G Cross, C Hamilton, S MacLeod, S Newlands, A MacDonald, A Hogg.

 

Referee: Clancy (IRFU)