Hard fought win for Edinburgh at Meggetland

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Edinburgh Rugby moved their home match against Neath-Swansea Ospreys to Boroughmuir’s ground at Meggetland for Friday night’s RaboDirect fixture. With the Murrayfield turf still somewhat delicate, the move would help preserve the pitch for the forthcoming International against France. And it seemed to be the right move as Edinburgh beat a strong Ospreys side to take only their sixth win in the league.

The Ospreys started well with an early try from wing, Jeff Hassler, following a cross-field passing move. Justin Tiperic was the feed for Hassler, passing the ball to the No. 14 from a tackle to send his man across the line. Dan Biggar missed the kick, but the visitors were 5-0 ahead. A few minutes on, Edinburgh secured possession just outside the Ospreys 22 and developed a strong rolling maul which twisted and turned its way deep into the 22. Just as it was about to break up, scrum half, Grayson Hart, took charge of the ball and broke through the defence to dive over behind the posts for a try. Carl Bezuidenhout kicked the easy conversion to take the lead and followed this up with a penalty a few minutes later to put Edinburgh 10-5 ahead.

Now with their tails up, it wasn’t long before the hosts were on the scoreboard again. Jack Cuthbert collected a Biggar clearance, and set off upfield. He broke through a couple of tackles before he sent a neat pass between two Ospreys’ players out to Sam Beard on the wing who had a fairly clear romp through to score in the corner for Edinburgh. Bezuidenhout missed the kick from wide, but the score was 15-5 to Edinburgh. This was ‘altered’ to 15-8 when a penalty – and a sin-bin for Geoff Cross – gave Biggar a successful shot at goal. With a man down, and just over five minutes until the break, Edinburgh launched another assault on the Osprey’s defence. Again, the forwards were involved, this time setting up a ruck just a few metres out from the line. Hart received the ball and feinted to the right before going left and down the touchline for Edinburgh’s third try. With Bezuidenhout’s successful kick, Edinburgh were in a commanding 22-8 lead. This was reduced just before the whistle by another Biggar penalty, but the half finished with the hosts ahead 22-11.

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The first 20 minutes or so of the second half were played very much in the centre of the field, with neither side making much in the way of a breakthrough. Scores did come, however, with Biggar ‘netting’ another two penalty kicks and Bezuidenhout knocking one over for Edinburgh to bring the score up to 25-17. And then….

And then, with the match being played in Edinburgh’s 22 and Ospreys in possession, a lack of penetration from the visitors lead to Biggar taking the chance on a grubber kick in behind the defence. With Hassler in full flight, he just beat the defender to the ball – confirmed by the TMO – for Osprey’s second try. Biggar missed the kick but the score was a worryingly close 25-22. With 15 minutes of play left, Edinburgh used the time to up their score by another two penalties to 31-22. They almost went over for a try, but a bit of foul play from Osprey’s earned them a yellow card and gave Bezuidenhout one of his kicks from close range. However, another yellow for Edinburgh, this time Ollie Atkins, gave Biggar the opportunity to take Ospreys to within a converted try, by scoring yet another penalty, but the hosts held on in the final few minutes for their 31-25 win.

It was looking good at half time for the home side, but a lack of discipline at the breakdown gave away far too many penalties, and, facing a kicker as good as Dan Biggar, it’s not a situation that should be ‘encouraged’. Still, it was a very good performance from Edinburgh, with some of their ‘lesser lights’ stepping up to the plate and making selection a bit more difficult for Solomons when the Internationalists  return in a couple of weeks.

 Images from the match will be uploaded here over the next few days.