There are some games that are so terrible that you forget them easily. Others are remembered, even worse, for being just plain poor. For an hour, Saturday’s first game of the season between Edinburgh and Glasgow appeared to fall into the latter category until it fell into mediocrity after a late score-split.
There was little in the home side’s 10-7 victory at BT Murrayfield for the players to blame, and the defenders should be proud of their efforts. But there are still factors such as familiarity that stop these derbies from being classics, and the fact that in the weeks before, both teams had taken enforced breaks meant that some rust was bound to be on display.
But if there’s one attribute that sets Edinburgh’s Richard Cockerill apart, it’s pragmatism, and they showed it here to win their season’s third PRO14 game. The head coach openly acknowledged that the first, goalless 65 minutes of the game did not especially impress him, but maintained that winning was more important than any aesthetic considerations.
“If it had been 0-0, I would have sent an email to Premier Sports to get my subscription back,” the head coach said. It was about small margins, wasn’t it? And in the end, we managed to win those small margins.
“That’s the one thing we’re learning: we win games, even when it’s ugly. We lost a little bit, but we found ways to win against good teams in the last two games.
We’ve done enough to win the match, and that’s a huge compliment to the team. I thought the players’ attitude in training and preparation all week was great.
I’m a little disappointed that in the end we let them in. We should be a little wiser about the breakdowns because by taking simple penalties, we have helped them to get into our half. There is obviously space for improvement, but if the players find a way to win a game, I will not be too disappointed.
By the time Edinburgh welcomed Warriors lock Lewis Bean to score a try scored by Ross Thompson, they were still in double figures. First, Jaco van der Walt’s penalty ensured that the game did not stay scoreless, then Magnus Bradbury came off the bench to score a touchdown converted by the attacking man. On repeated viewing, it appeared that the replacement had not landed properly, bu bu bu bu
After Edinburgh had to come back from a deficit before winning their last game against Sale, before scoring their 10 points, they were ahead for a long time against their national rivals. Bradbury touted that fact as proof of progress, but admitted that if it is to achieve their double season against Glasgow when the teams meet again at Scotstoun, his team would need to improve further.
It wasn’t a flawless game by any means, but moving this game to Friday is a big opportunity for us to improve against the same, demanding opponent again,” he said. “There were positive parts of this game, but a lot of it wasn’t perfect, so we’ll look at it on Monday and see what we can improve on.
In particular, Cockers says 90% of the game is fine, but 10% is when we lose concentration. So if we get 10% or even five% more correct at the end, we can turn these games in our favor.
“We are doing the right little things, including our exit plan. And we’ve been talking about the little things that can get us to the right outcome, and more often than not, we’ve done those little things right, and that’s helped us get those outcomes.
“A win is a win – we always say that at the end of the day – so we’re quite happy with that. And Cockers has already said that all that matters is that we get the result at the end of the day.”