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#LOVINTHESCRUMMIN

Edinburgh: 19 (9) Montpellier Hérault Rugby: 7 (10)



A record for a Heineken pool match of 11,802 scrum fans descended on BT Murrayfield this evening to watch Edinburgh's front row crush their oppositve numbers, laying the foundations for the Gunners' fifth win of the pool.

WP Nel won man of the Match, 'Rambo' McInally comprehensively bested the great Bismarck du Plessis and The Greatest Schoeman chewed up Jannie du Plessis so badly that the former Springbok was hooked after only half an hour.  When the trio were replaced en masse on 70 minutes, they left a trail of devastation behind them.  

There is something beautiful about a dominant scrummage.   It's about rugby's traditional values, about winning the physical confrontation and crushing the enemy psychologically.  I would have been very happy watching these guys scrum all night.

As it was, there were a fair number of set pieces as the visitors' handling frequently let them down.  While JP Doyle is a whistler who is not the most enthusiastic in rewarding a dominant scrummage, many of Montpellier's 13 penalties conceded (compared to the Gunners' four) came from the scrummage. 

It is easy to be wise after the event, but even after the Frenchmen edged 10-9 ahead with a Pienaar penalty on 47 minutes, one never felt like the Gunners were going to lose.  They set about Montpellier with a confidence and ferocity that was reflected in their faces as they celebrated in front of the Embra tifosi at no-side.  This win meant so much to these young men.  They were never going to take a backward step.

The Gunners' early dominance was rewarded with two van der Walt panalties, on 12 and 16 minutes.  'Piet' stretched the lead to 9-0 on the half hour and it looked like the home side could kick on to build a decent advantage by the half.

Montpellier had other ideas, though, and scored the first try of the match against the run of play as one of their du Plessis (second row Jacques) burrowed through a mound of bodies from short range on 39 minutes.  the Gunners had been the better team but had perhaps not made their advantage count.  Watson's early departure with a suspected broken hand was another worry.

This was not a match that Ruan Pienaar dictated as he did so often at Ulster.  But the old master combined well with first five-eighth Goosen at times as Montpellier enjoyed more ball in attack.  And he kicked the visitors into the lead - just - on 47 minutes with a penalty.

As suspected, though, as the final quarter approached, Montpellier's big men began to tire.  A five minute spell around the hour effectively decided the match.  First, van der Walt knocked over his third three pointer as Montpellier infringed at an attacking Edinburgh maul on 56 minutes.  Then the Gunners pounded the line with repeated close in drives before Pyrgos saw Mr Darcy Graham free on the wing and put him over in the corner.  van der Walt's fine conversion was crucial as it put the Gunners more than a converted try up.

The Gunners then relied on their defence and smart work at the breakdown to shut Montpellier down in the final quarter, coming away with a famous win.  The quarter final, whoever the opponents turn out to be, will be another step up.  Edinburgh will not have the luxury of the looseness in attack they showed at times this evening.  But if they take the same attitude and belief to the party, they have the ability to progress further in this competition.

The win leaves Edinburgh on 23 points, assured of a home quarter final.  It also means that Glasgow have at least qualified as one of the three best runners up, no matter what happens at Allianz Park tomorrow.  Both Scottish sides in the knock out stages of the Heineken for the first time ever.  Savour that.

THE IRON FIST IN THE VELVET GLOVE

RC Toulonnais: 17 (12) Edinburgh Rugby: 28 (8)


"WE ARE DETERMINED THAT BEFORE THE SUN SETS ON THIS TERRIBLE STRUGGLE OUR FLAG WILL BE RECOGNISED THROUGHOUT THE WORLD AS A SYMBOL OF FREEDOM ON THE ONE HAND AND OF OVERWHELMING FORCE ON THE OTHER."  -General George C. Marshall 

That is possibly my favourite inscription on any monument anywhere - the National WWII Memorial in Washington DC.  Although it seems like a contradiction in terms, it encapsulates how the United States has traditionally seen its role in the world - the guarantor of freedom and liberal values.  The iron fist in the velvet glove.

Of course, a mere game of rugby is a universe away.  But at Stade Mayol last night, Edinburgh put in a performance that was very much the iron fist in the velvet glove as they all but secured a place in the knock out stages of the Heineken Champions Cup. That they bested another massive French pack up front was not a surprise.  What was

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WE FEW, WE HAPPY FEW, WE BAND OF BROTHERS

Glasgow Warriors: 8 (3) Edinburgh: 16 (6)

In Shakespeare's Henry V, the King rallies his army - exhausted, anxious, hopelessly outnumbered though they were - on the morning of the battle of Agincourt.  It's an object lesson in leadership and the importance of courage and determination, yes.  But also of unity of purpose and an absence of hangers on in any effective team or organisation.  When you are a 'Band of Brothers', not much can stand in your way.   

While it obviously helps if you have a technological edge - in those days, Welsh archers whose fearsome accuracy terrified the French - the rest is history, of course.  Once again, Edinburgh's Band of Brothers pulled together superbly against Glasgow this afternoon to come away from Scotstoun with another well deserved victory.

That spirit was embodied in the Man of the Match award to Pierre Schoeman, who dominated in tight and loose; attack and defence.  Just one of many outstanding

Read More About WE FEW,