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SCHOEMAN STARS AS EDINBURGH CRUSH CONNACHT. KIND OF.

Edinburgh: 17 (10) Connacht: 10 (0)



A bumper crowd for this fixture of 5000 saw the Embramen huff and puff to notch their first victory of the season at BT Murrayfield last night.  The 17-10 margin flattered the visitors somewhat, given the Gunners' dominance up front throughout.  But the Galwegians weathered the storm and came to life in the final quarter, a fine try from Adeolokun on the hour setting up a tense finish that gave them a losing bonus.

After no side, 'Jarvis' Cockers fulminated about the standard of officiating in the competition. Certainly, one felt that the Schoeman/McInally/Nel front row, among the best in the PRO14, gave their opponents a torrid time up front yet perhaps did not get the benefit.  But there looked to be a little pre-season rust left to shake off in attack still, as Edinburgh's handling frequently let them down, while they sometimes ran out of patience in the red zone and coughed up possession. 

It was an odd match.  Normally, a team that spends so much time defending tires in the final quarter.  But Connacht managed to soak up pretty much everything that Edinburgh could throw at them, yet were the stronger side late on.  There was a pace and zip about their attack that the Gunners lacked.

In short, this was another match where the Embramen took the foot off the gas too early. 17-0 up with over a quarter left to run should have seen Edinburgh picking the visitors off en route to a bonus point win.

Kinghorn and the Pyrgos/van der Walt hinge apart, it was the Gunners' forwards that impressed.  While one would expect Jim Hamilton to favour tight five forwards in his man of the Match adjudication, Grant Gilchrist did indeed have a good match, as did boilerhouse partner 'Big' Ben Toolis.  And the back row were no less impressive than their front row bretheren in a physical match.

Edinburgh totally dominated the first quarter, with 85% of possession at one point.  'Piet' van der Walt, a late replacement for the injured 'Denis' Hickie at first five-eighth, nearly created an early score for Matt Scott.  Ony a superb cover tackle by Adeolokun denied the centre. 

The try, when it came, was a simple affair.  The King Blairhorn had found a gap and put Hamish Watson on the charge linewards.  Although the openside was well tackled just before the tryline, Connacht skipper Jarrad Butler was carded for slapping the ball forward out of Pyrgos' hands at the back of a ruck.  The Gunners took advantage by taking a scrummage, Pyrgos feeding The Beast From The East to trot over for the converted try.

It was to prove the only spark in a first half that was full of endeavour on Edinburgh's part met with resolute defence on Connacht's.  A penalty from van der Walt left the Gunners a deserv ed 10-0 up at the break.

After van der Merwe had knocked on almost in the act of scoring, Pierre Schoeman added the Gunners' second try on 55 minutes. The score came off a penalty kicked to the corner and a forward rumble over the line.

But Connacht were starting to get some possession themselves and showing a mite more ambition than the Gunners in attack.  Adeolukun's score going into the final quarter gave the visitors heart, while the Embramen went into their shells. But the Irishmen could only add a late Carty penalty to secure the losing bonus point as the Gunners ran out winners.

 

IT'S GRIM UP NORTH

Ospreys: 17 (3) Edinburgh: 13 (3)

I found myself under huge pressure at 7.34 last night.  I opened the Premier Sport app, having signed up for this season, only to discover, to my horror, that I only had the option to watch the Blues v Leinster match on Premier Sports 1.  Respectfully, I could not give even one hoot what happened in that encounter. 

Some frantic surfing later, I discovered that Premier Sports 2, which was showing the Embra match, is not yet available on the app.  Eventually, I managed to access the live footage from Swansea via the Premier Sports website and settled down for an entertaining first regular season match of the season. 

What unfolded in South Wales showcased a similar lack of preparedness and disorganisation. In short, it looked like an early season encounter.  Defences were very much on top, with handling errors aplenty and combinations not quite clicking. Neither attack got much change out of the enemy.  Indeed, it took half an hour for

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TAPADH LEIBH, HUGH DAN

Edinburgh Rugby: 20 (13) Ulster: 32 (19)

There was not a dry eye in the house at BT Murrayfield this evening as those present contemplated the end of an era.  I refer, of course, to the final occasion on which rugby legend Hugh Dan MacLennan would relate an Edinburgh Rugby match to their many followers in the Gaeltacht via BBC Alba's coverage - and, in passing, to many observers who do not have The Gaelic.

As someone who was brought up on Saturday evening reports of the shinty results on Radio Scotland, featuring John Willie Campbell and then Hugh Dan (I have a particular fondness for the mighty Cabers, or Comann Camanachd Cabar Feidh, to give them their Sunday name), I was overjoyed when the great man emerged as BBC Alba's rugby commentator.  And he has proved to be rather good at it.  He will be much missed. One hopes that the PRO14 high command will soon see the error of their ways and bring BBC Alba back into the fold at some point in the near future.

After last weekend's underwhelming

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