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Monday, October 18, 2010

Edinburgh's flair not enough to beat resilient Northampton Saints

Edinburgh's flair not enough to beat resilient Northampton Saints

Edinburgh scored some fantastic tries in the first half of their Heineken Cup meeting with Northampton Saints at Murrayfield on Saturday but couldnt hang on in the second half as Saints come back to take a valuable 31-27 away win.

In front of another disappointing turn out in the Scottish capital, Edinburgh produced some scintillating rugby as they tossed it about and scored three superb tries. Sadly there were just under 5000 fans on hand to witness it though, half of which were made up of the travelling Saints contingent.

Pro Alan Jacobsen scored the first for the home side which included some sharp play from Mike Blair, who looked back to his best, and a neat sidestep before diving over. The next two Edinburgh tries were try of the season contenders as backs and forwards combined to work the ball up field, offload, and stay in support.

Saints chipped away through Stephen Myler though and scored a try on the stroke of half time to keep them in the game. Their forward power proved too much in the second half and a neatly worked try, scored by Paul Diggin, gave Myler a chance to take the lead with the conversion. He did so, as well as added a late penalty to seal the win.

"We're delighted with that win," said Northamptons Jim Mallinder. "Edinburgh are a formidable challenge. It is a big game coming to Murrayfield, because Edinburgh have beaten some big teams here."

Try scorer Jacobsen summed up the Edinburgh performance. "We played some great rugby in patches, our tries were brilliant with the boys doing amazing things on the ball, but we then immediately give away stupid penalties or miss easy tackles and they result is soft scores. In the second half we allowed them to strangle possession, and now we've got an uphill battle."

Theres no doubt the first half was great to watch as the home side turned it on and forwards Nateni Talei and Fraser McKenzie featured prominently with some wonderful handling. Perhaps if Edinburgh Rugby can get their marketing, investment, and stadium strategies in order theyll get more fans turning up to watch the side perform.


Time: 06:04

Posted at 12:40 pm | 28 comments

Viewing 28 comments

Ahsley super quota October 18, 2010 12:46 pm

FIRST GO BOKKE.

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Ashley super quota October 18, 2010 12:47 pm

Yeah that's how you do it, didn't even watch the clip.

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Ahsley super quota October 18, 2010 12:48 pm

RD where is the currie cup semi final highlights? My boi Bryan Habana was on fiya and back to his best know what im sayin?

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RD October 18, 2010 12:58 pm

All in good time.

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trappers October 18, 2010 1:01 pm

Very impressed - NH rugby finally coming around. such patience shown by edinburgh. Fair play to northampton too...

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Nhumrod October 18, 2010 1:31 pm

Well, as both an Edinburgh supporter and a Sharks (muhahaha finals here we come) supporter, I'll be the second person to leave a comment here actually relating to this post!

To wit, Embra had a great first half, with some superb running rugby, finally we are seeing much better adaptation to the new law interps, and far less boring kick and chase. Unfortunately, we just fell apart in the second half and let Saints back into the game.

Its worth mentioning however, the refereeing of the Saints lineouts, amongst other things, was simply SHOCKING! I would say that they may have thrown one legal one all game, if that. This directly led to two NH scores.

The frog ref should be hung, drawn, quartered, be forced to eat his own legs in a garlic and turd sauce, then finally shot in the head with a law book...

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smallbill October 18, 2010 1:32 pm

OK is it me or in only two rounds this H Cup has produced more great tries/style of rugby than in the whole 2009-2010 H cup?
Great to see european rugby is still improving every year.

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Anonymous October 18, 2010 1:42 pm

I must admit that I enjoyed that.... No winding up of NH fans today.

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Mike October 18, 2010 2:03 pm

I'd pay to watch that - I don't understand why the Scots won't. You see Murrayfield jammed to the rafters for internationals, and then at the step below international, where in Ireland you are getting crowds of 50,000 for big gmaes, 2,000 souls turn up to watch. Very odd. Why don't they care? Bad marketing?

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Anonymous October 18, 2010 2:23 pm

Re the attendances, the two Scottish sides have been working hard at it, but they have far stronger competition from Football than Ireland did. Also the SRU have been battling paying off debts incurred from, amongst other things, building the Murrayfield Stadium with very little Govt support in the 90s. In contrast the IRFU funded their provinces instead and put up with a crumbling Lansdowne Road until their Govt paid for a new stadium.

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Anonymous October 18, 2010 2:26 pm

Highlights miss the unbelievably squint throw into the lineout that started the move that lead to Northampton's second try, so squint the jumper had to take it with his outside arm.

Proved to be the difference in the end.

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Mike October 18, 2010 2:36 pm

In Ireland, rugby competes with Gaelic football, soccer, and hurling and it's behind all three of them in terms of participation. It probably edges soccer into 4th place for attendences. There are a good few 'band wagon' fans of rugby to be fair, people who would not have gone to a game 10 years ago, and I suppose all things considered I'm glad they are there.

Re. the (admittedly stiff) competition with soccer in Scotland - I would have thought that rugby and soccer would appeal to different demographics? Forgive my ignorance on all this, I haven't been to Scotland yet.

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Greiffel October 18, 2010 2:42 pm

Why not play their matches at a smaller venue? The atmosphere would be great. Surely some of the proceeds from that can still go towards the SRU and Murrayfield etc? Rugby seems to be dying and its pretty sad, especially for someone like myself who used to live there.

It could just come down to marketing though. Some school boy matches in certain parts of the world get more people turning up. Something isn't right

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Mike October 18, 2010 3:17 pm

Just to back up your point Greiffel, you could have over 20,000 at the final of the Leinster Schools senior cup. I just can't get over the difference between the enthusiasm for International rugby and the lack of interest for one tier down, which often produces much better games.

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Anonymous October 18, 2010 3:31 pm

any highlights of Leinsters defending in the dying minutes of their game against the sarboks?
I was on the edge of my seat. In hindsight it was fairly impotent attacking though, never looked like breaking the line.

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John F October 18, 2010 4:25 pm

Appropriate stadia is a problem in Scotland, Wales and England. In the professional age most sides have to share with a football team. Sometimes this works out quite well, sometimes not. Ideally a team with an average crowd of 10'000 - 12'000 still has to play in a football ground with closer to 20'000 capacity. I was sad, for example, to see Cardiff leave the Arms Park and certainly in rugby terms a lot of the football stadia in England in which rugby teams play are quite soulless.

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Dave October 18, 2010 6:07 pm

Theres a number of problems in scottish rugby at the moment, which are always papered over with the "were still paying off murrayfield" argument. In the past season or two though, it has become evident that the sru couldnt care less about the proffessional set up. At edinburgh baffling decisions are being made about the way they treat the supporters which honestly give the impression that they are trying to drive us away. They sell season tickets on the basis of reserved seating and then let anyone sit in them on matchdays, moved the "clubhouse" for after match drinks to a skanky suite up 20 flights of stairs, and lots of other little grievances which add up to a bad experience. Speak to some of the guys on the edinburgh supporters club website and theyll tell you more.

As for playing in a different stadium, there arent any viable options. The two major football teams, Hibs and Hearts have stadiums, but hibs wont let us use theirs, and hearts's pitch is too small. (they actually use murrayfield for european matches because it doesnt meet regulations). The only other stadium is meadowbank which A is an athletics stadium so youre miles from the pitch and B is falling apart and is truely awfull.

To top it all off, edinburgh have NO MARKETING STRATEGY. 90% of the population in the city arent even aware they exist, there is NEVER any advertising anywhere other than their website (which you would have to be interested in going to visit anyway), they dont even have a billboard at the stadium for people passing by or anything.

All of this adds up to the impression that the sru are still stuck in this old boys anti-proffesionalism idea that is slowly but surely killing scottish rugby. and its a shame because it can be quite good sometimes.

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Jonny October 18, 2010 6:46 pm

What Dave said really. Everything is a comdey of errors. When Embra are on a roll, they get about an average of 3,500 fans. As they're being insonsistent, you see the type of champagne fan just not bother. It's sad really, people owe more allegiance to the National clubs like Heriots and Currie than the pro teams. Glasgow are doing some great work, but Embra need to buck their ideas up.

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Joost October 18, 2010 7:16 pm

@ Jonny

Yeah, but let's not say that Firhill Arena has been sold out recently...

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Believer October 18, 2010 8:21 pm

@ Joost

No, but atendences did steadily rise last year and have been consistently higher than recent years so far ths season, despite the loss (to both transfer and injury) of many of our start players and the poor start to the season. And considering Glasgow have the Old Firm to contend with and are still doing better than Edinburgh in terms of crowd numbers, it shows just how bad things are at Murrayfield.

Both Pro-teams have made strides on the pitch in the last two years, and despite said player losses, are still doing pretty well this season as this vid shows, even if the results aren't coming quite as thickly.

A decent marketing strategy to encourage more people to come and invest more money and the two teams would probably take off considerably.

Unfortunately though, as Dave says, nobody at Murrayfield HQ seems in the slightest bit interested in their current fans, let alone attracting any new ones! :(

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Anonymous October 18, 2010 8:55 pm

Celtic and Rangers average 60,000 at football matches, rugby doesn't stand a chance.

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H October 18, 2010 9:53 pm

"Per capita, more people in Scotland watch their domestic top level (football) league than any other nation in Europe."

from wiki. Truth is that scotland has a small population that's football mad but... 2000 for some games is so poor.

i agree that murrayfield is a poor stadium choice. they may as well play in the grand canyon, but as has been mentioned there aren't really any other suitable grounds as hibs are scared of their pitch getting churned up.

What scotland needs imo is to bring back the borders rfc. get the region with the highest interest in rugby back on the map, at the top level.

and for god's sake promote the bleedin' sport!

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Mike October 18, 2010 10:39 pm

The odd thing is, Scotland - having been poor for a long time - have started to come good again and are producing some great players. They deservedly beat us (Ireland) in Dublin last year, and should have beaten Wales too except for the bounce of a ball and maybe some inexperience.

It must be a marketing issue. There's no reason why you can't be a soccer fan and a rugby fan. And there must be plenty of folks who don't like the aggro of the soccer scene or simply prefer rugby. I'd wager there are more than 2000 in Edinbrugh or Glasgow and environs, if only they made the game/venue/experience more appealing.

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Wolfman21 October 19, 2010 5:40 am

Its strange to see, because from what I understand (as a person from the Southern Hemisphere) Scottish rugby at international level is starting to become quite competitive again, and also, based on this clip and a couple of others I have seen of Edinburgh, they are having a pretty good season and playing some really attractive rugby.

I have a couple of questions:
Who is coaching Edinburgh at the moment? Those offloads are pretty special. And will the Edinburgh flyhalf play for Scotland this year? Is Tim Visser eligible for Scotland? Or has he played for Holland/not spent enough time in Scotland yet?

The new law interpretations have really been fantastic at encouraging teams to keep the ball, and also using width when attacking.

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Greiffel October 19, 2010 8:09 am

Wolfman, Rob Moffat is Edinburgh's coach. Not sure about who they'll pick for Scotland, and re. Visser, he hasn't played for Holland yet so can play for Scotland in roughly two years from now. He's only 23 ish right now so I'd say he has a good career ahead of him

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Anonymous October 19, 2010 10:56 am

it's just a shame that teams with flair come second these days. no one goes to rugby game hoping to watch the english style of ruck after boring ruck.

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NiWiTa October 19, 2010 12:01 pm

I think some of the problems in Scottish rugby are reflected in England too...mainly this is the impact of soccer/football on the modern game and a few fuddy-duddy numpties in important decision-making positions not really grasping the opportunity to expand things as well as they could....

As an England fan living in Scotland and occasionally attending Edinburgh games, the club could treat its' supporters better as @Dave mentioned. This appears to be one of the only things the English Rugby club circuit can get right!

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NIWiTa October 19, 2010 12:02 pm

Oh yeah - superb handling skills by Edinburgh. Quite exceptional :)

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