Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill felt that his team had only themselves to blame for last night’s narrow defeat away to Glasgow Warriors.
But he refused to single out either Jaco van der Walt (who missed a late conversion which would have won it) or Nic Groom (who mistook a train horn for the half-time hooter and gifted his opponents the opportunity to kick three vital points just before the break which proved the difference between the two teams in the end) as culpable for the result.
“There’s no responsibility on Jaco for missing that,” he insisted. “When we scored the first try, we didn’t control the game well enough. We didn’t do the simple things well and we got punished for it. Our penalty count was nearly double so we’ve only ourselves to blame.”
“It’s not Groomy’s fault either, but it’s those tiny moments, and there were lots of them in the first 20 minutes after half-time as well, where we didn’t look after the ball well enough and didn’t do the basics well enough.
“It was a bit frustrating, because we had managed a good score and were looking to go in further ahead at half-time, but we give them free territory for no reason and end up being punished. We conceded three points and lost by one.”
“Against a good team like Glasgow, you’re going to get punished.
Perhaps Cockerill’s biggest frustration will be his pack’s travails at scrum time. This was an area of the game the capital outfit had dominated when the two sides met at Murrayfield a fortnight ago, but they gave away three set-piece penalties during the first half of this match, and another one towards the end.
Warriors have three loose-heads unavailable at the moment and ended up playing the full 80 minutes with the same props. Meanwhile Edinburgh had the luxury of freshenin up their front row with two renowned scrummagers in WP Nel and Pierre Schoeman – replacing Scotland internationalist Simon Berghan and Rory Sutherland – with just under half an hour to go, but they still couldn’t get the upper hand.
“We know Glasgow are a good side and we knew that scrum [at Murrayfield]was not a reflection of them,” shrugged Cockerill.
Overall, it was a much better match than we witnessed a fortnight ago, and Cockerill said he was able to draw some encouragement from aspects of his team’s performance, ahead of next weekend’s trip to Italy to take on Zebre.
“It was a good game of rugby from both sides,” he added. “There were some good tries scored. We played with very good intent and are very disappointed not to come away with the points.
“But if you don’t get the small moments right and give poor penalties away, you invite teams to stay in the game. That’s what we did.”
“We’re disappointed with the result, but if Jaco kicks the conversion, are we are a better team than when he didn’t?”