Faltering Second Half Results in Edinburgh Loss
Despite a seemingly confident start to the match up, Richard Cockerill’s Edinburgh men suffered a narrow loss to Cardiff Blues at Murrayfield last night, with the full-time score having just two points between the sides.
Nathan Fowles watches on as Ally Miller goes on the attack for Edinburgh against the Cardiff Blues. (Photo: Edinburgh Rugby twitter)
It was an underwhelming end to a match which had started with promise for Richard Cockerill’s Edinburgh men. The nail in the coffin seemed to come when Jason Harries ran in two tries for Cardiff Blues in quick succession as Edinburgh’s defence looked to be struggling to reset to repel the attack.
The Edinburgh backline was flourished with the returns of Damien Hoyland and Mark Bennett – both of whom suffered lengthy injury lay-offs. The injection of untired legs was not enough to sway the end result in the capital club’s favour though.
An impressively energetic break from hooker Dave Cherry resulted in an early try for Edinburgh that was finished by scrum half Nathan Fowles receiving Cherry’s pass to put him over the line – a score which stand-off Jaco Van Der Walt was able to convert.
It wasn’t much later that Fowles was on the run once more, but this time was the provider. He gave a well-timed pass to Bill Mata, allowing the big back row to go over the line unchallenged by the Cardiff defence. Van Der Walt once more converted, furthering his side’s lead.
Despite some flashy Cardiff attacking play, by the likes of Aled Summerhill and Lloyd Williams, the score did not differ anymore before half time. And so, the teams re-emerged after the break with Edinburgh still holding a 14-0 lead.
Multiple phases on the Cardiff line within the first 10 minutes of the second half only resulted in an opportunity for a kickable penalty for Edinburgh. Van Der Walt stepped up once more, sending the ball straight through the uprights. Those three points would be the last Edinburgh would score in the match.
As Cardiff twisted the screw on their attacking pressure, Edinburgh’s defence – and most importantly, their communication whilst under pressure – seemed to somewhat dissipate. And so, Cardiff identified this, and were ultimately able to run in three tries in the second half, with Jarrod Evans only missing one conversion.
The first came through Williams – who took the ball from Olly Robinson, as he had supported Jason Harries who made the initial break – whilst the second and third were both courtesy of the fast-paced Harries.
Edinburgh could not regain the advantage in the match up, and so had to settle for a losing bonus point as Cardiff took the win with a full-time score of 19-17.
Cockerill remained composed following his side’s close defeat, saying: “Disappointing, isn’t it? We had a good start, a 14-point lead at half time and then you lose the second half 19-3.
“So, if you don’t take your opportunities, and we had opportunities in that second half to score, especially when we kicked the three points to go 17-0 up. You get what you deserve in the end.
“It was disappointing because we had opportunities to win the game, but we weren’t composed enough, we made too many errors and ultimately we got what we deserved.”
Meanwhile, flanker Luke Crosbie admitted: “It was a tough one to take.” Later adding: “It was quite a weird one to take, and gutting for us. I felt we left it all out on the field – we played the hardest we could.
“We’ll just regroup and come back stronger and learn from it. If we ever get on those situations again we’ll know how to cope.”
Edinburgh’s next PRO14 encounter will be against Benetton Treviso on Saturday 2nd March.
Edinburgh: D Fife; D Hoyland, J Johnstone, JP Socino, D Van Der Merwe; J Van Der Walt, N Fowles; P Schoeman, D Cherry, P Ceccarelli, F McKenzie, C Hunter-Hill, A Miller, L Crosbie, V Mata. Subs: R Ford, R Sutherland, M McCallum, J Hodgson, S Nayalo, C Shiel, S Hickey, M Bennett.
Cardiff Blues: M Morgan; O Lane, R Lee-Lo, W Halaholo, A Summerhill; J Evans, L Williams; R Carre, L Belcher, D Arhip, G Earle, R Thornton, S Lewis-Hughes, O Robinson, N Williams. Subs: E Lewis, C Domachowski, S Andrews, M Cook, A Lawrence, D Blacker, S Shingler, J Harries.
Referee: Frank Murphy.
Edinburgh: Tries: Fowles, Mata. Cons: Van Der Walt 2. Pens: Van Der Walt.
Cardiff Blues: Tries: Williams, Harries 2. Cons: Evans 2.
Scoring Sequence (Edinburgh first): (0-0), (5-0), (7-0), (12-0), (14-0) HT (17-0), (17-5), (17-7), (17-12), (17-17), (17-19) FT.