Edinburgh V Cardiff Blues
It was a tale of two halves this evening as Cardiff Blues staged a second-half comeback to claim victory at BT Murrayfield – ending Edinburgh’s unbeaten record at home in all competitions this season.
Despite the capital side leading by 14 points at the interval, the Blues punished Edinburgh’s momentary lapses of concentration - running in three successive tries in 20 minutes.
Head Coach Richard Cockerill was understandably frustrated with the result, and said: “I’m disappointed. We put ourselves in a position to win, we had opportunities to score more points in that second half and we didn’t take them.
“If you take your foot off the pedal – and Cardiff have got some real threat and they showed that - you lose concentration and you let in soft tries and you get punished, and that’s exactly what we got.
“We had some injuries in the back line at half-time with Dougie Fife coming off and then Duhan [van der Merwe] leaving the field, which is unhelpful.
“Cardiff got what they deserve - they created opportunities and they took them.”
It was a bright start for the home side, controlling the majority of possession and territory in the opening exchanges.
The first try came in the 7thminute, as David Cherry collected a loose ball from the line-out and showed clever footwork before the ball foundNathan Fowles who finished the job. Jaco van der Walt added the extras [7-0].
Several breaks and quick phases lifted the crowd again for a sustained period of pressure, and some great interplay between Fowles and Mata allowed the No.8 to break away and cross the whitewash, with van der Walt successfully converting the score [14-0].
Cardiff rallied and tested the resolve of the dogged Edinburgh defence, as the visitors came within a whisker of a try only to be stopped with a brilliant cover tackle from Mata.
Edinburgh applied some early pressure in the second half that eventually forced a penalty, which van der Walt slotted with ease [17-0].
However, as Cardiff rang the changes across a number of positions, the Blues were given a new lease of life and were soon able to dominate proceedings.
Their pressure and persistence came to fruition when scrum-half Lloyd Williams sprinted over the line to put the first points on the scoreboard for the visitors. Jarrod Evans converted [17-7].
Ten minutes later, the visitors were back on the scoresheet when former Edinburgh wing, Jason Harries, broke the defensive line to score [17-12].
Now trailing by five points, the visitors were buoyed by the growing momentum and dealt the final blow as some well-worked hands bought space for Harries to charge over the line [17-17].
Evans was successful with the conversion to secure a slender two-point victory for the visitors [17-19].
Cockerill added: “We’ve now got to go to Treviso, and we’ve got to go and win, simple as that.
“We’re now four points behind them, but we’re right in the mix with the season still very much alive.
“We’ve got to muck in on Monday, have a good honest review, get on the training field and sort a few things out.”