Celtic Challenge: late slump sees Edinburgh share spoils with Wolfhounds while Glasgow lose

Glasgow pick up a losing bonus point, but are still winless

Emma Orr in action for Edinburgh Rugby during their Celtic Challenge draw against Irish Wolfhounds at Hive Stadium. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Emma Orr in action for Edinburgh Rugby during their Celtic Challenge draw against Irish Wolfhounds at Hive Stadium. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

Edinburgh 26

Irish Wolfhounds 26

GARY HEATLY @ Hive Stadium

THE hosts were left kicking themselves after losing a commanding lead in the dying minutes versus the Wolfhounds, the draw leaving the Irish side at the top of the Celtic Challenge table as a result and, therefore, odds-on favourites to win the title.

Edinburgh were leading by 14 points and had a bonus point in the bag just after the hour mark before their game management and decision-making started to falter in the last 10 minutes and the opposition took full advantage.

Converted tries in the 77th and 79th minutes gave the visitors an unlikely share of the spoils and left the majority of the 959 crowd stunned.


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That leaves Wolfhounds four league points clear of Edinburgh at the top of the table ahead of their final match of the campaign against fellow Irish side Clovers at the Kingspan Stadium in Belfast next Saturday, so two points or more from that game would see them crowned as champions.

Edinburgh finish against the Clovers on March 3rd at Parc Y Scarlets in Wales and now need to rely on a Wolfhounds slip up.

“We are frustrated, ” admitted Edinburgh head coach Claire Cruikshank. “We should have wrapped up that game, but we didn’t manage the last 10 minutes well and were punished, poor game management probably cost us the win in the end.

“There was probably a little bit of naivety about what it takes at this level to close off games. With the calibre of the opposition you’re playing, they’re smart, so you’ve got to be smarter than them – and I didn’t think we were smart in that last 15 to 20 minutes.

“We did well to get ourselves back in it and the first 20 minutes after half-time was brilliant, but after that I thought we were a bit naive.

“A neutral might think a draw was good against an opponent like that, but from our perspective we put ourselves in a position to win it and I think we should have been able to ride that game out and win it. We are disappointed.”

 

 

The Wolfhounds started strongly and they took the lead in the fifth minute when winger Ellen Boylan went over for an unconverted try out wide.

The reply from Edinburgh was a positive one and, in the ninth minute, an excellent pass from skipper Sarsh Denholm found centre Emma Orr running a dangerous line to glide past a couple of defenders and dot down. Full-back Nicole Marlow could not convert leaving it at 5-5.

The Wolfhounds won a strong scrum penalty at the start of the second quarter and, a few phases later, full-back Ava Ryder looked to have set up winger Katie Corrigan for a try, but referee David Young deemed the pass had gone forward, which seemed  a tough call on the Irish side.

Having weathered that storm, Edinburgh scored their second try to go ahead on the half hour mark. It all stemmed from a great break down the left from centre Briar McNamara who set up vice-captain Alex Stewart. She nearly scored out wide, but, a few phases later, with a penalty advantage in the bag, Denholm’s pop pass put Orr in under the posts. Marlow converted and it was 12-5.

Just before the interval the Wolfhounds levelled things up. After winning a scrum penalty in the shadow of the Edinburgh posts, they took a quick tap and, after two phases, tight-head Christy Haney powered over. Stand-off Nikki Caughey converted to tie the scores once again.

 

 

Edinburgh’s third try three minutes into the second half was a cracker. Orr won a turnover around the halfway line, the ball was spun wide and McNamara burst through a gap. She then fed winger Cieron Bell who did the rest, showing great pace to go over for her fifth try in six matches.

Soon after, Scotland and GB Sevens flyer Rhona Lloyd came on for her Edinburgh debut and, in the 53rd minute, she had a good run on the right wing, but the defence snuffed out the chance.

It looked like Haney was going over for her second try of the day for Wolfhounds, but replacement loose-head Poppy Fletcher got under her and held the ball up.

And, just after the hour mark, Edinburgh scored their bonus point fourth try. It came from short range via back-row Stewart, with Marlow converting to make it 26-12.

Edinburgh looked like they had knocked the stuffing out of the Wolfhounds, but instead it was the Irish side who provided a sucker punch.

Maybe Edinburgh were somewhat guilty of overplaying in the wrong areas late on, but, whatever the reason was, the Wolfhounds found something extra and replacement loose-head Linda Djougang went over under the posts with three minutes to go and Caughey converted.

And then speedster Corrigan found space on the edge two minutes later and streaked around the scrambling defence to score under the posts too. Caughey once again converted as the clock went into the red and it was 26-26.

 

Teams –

Edinburgh Rugby: N Marlow; N Flynn, E Orr, B McNamara, C Bell; S Denholm©, J Maxwell; P Muzambe, M Whitehouse, K Lindsay, F McIntosh, A Ferrie, M Gunderson, A Stewart, F Walker. Subs: A Ronald, P Fletcher, M Poolman, N Logan, G Bell, Z Turner, H Ramsay, R Lloyd.

Irish Wolfhounds: A Ryder; K Corrigan, L Tarpey, K Heffernan, E Boylan; N Caughey, J Gaffney; A Moore, M Clenaghan, C Haney, E Corri, E O’Connor, C Boles, M Boyne, G Moore. Subs: I Daley, L Djougang, S Barrett, F Tuite, K Brady, K Whelan, A Moyles, K McCormill.

Referee: David Young.

 

Scorers –

Edinburgh: Tries: Orr 2, C Bell, Stewart; Cons: Marlow 3.

Irish Wolfhounds: Tries: Boylan, Haney, Djougang, Corrigan; Cons: Caughey 3.

Scoring sequence (Edinburgh first): 0-5; 5-5; 10-5; 12-5; 12-10; 12-12 (h-t) 17-12; 19-12; 24-12; 26-12; 26-17; 26-19; 26-24; 26-26.

Glasgow Warriors 17

Brython Thunder 24

Glasgow Warriors earned their first losing bonus point of the Celtic Challenge, but are now guaranteed to finish bottom after a 24-17 loss to Welsh side Brython Thunder later in the day at Scotstoun.

The hosts took the lead in the fourth minute when they won a kickable penalty and teenage full-back Lucy MacRae put three points on the board.

Five minutes later, Thunder No 8 Sioned Harries showed all of her experience to score the game’s first try.

Glasgow – whose players were sporting club socks on one leg as part of the ‘Club of Origin’ weekend – looked to have defended an attack well and won the ball back, but after it was set back by the pack into the dead ball area for a clearance kick it was left there for a split second.

Harries raced out of nowhere to get her hands on the ball and score with the Warriors defence puzzled. The try was given and stand-off Molly Wilkinson converted to make it 7-3.

In the 29th minute, it became 12-3 when loose-head Chloe Thomas-Bradley went over for a five-pointer from short range.

Glasgow looked to get more points on the board before half-time and their probing saw Thunder under pressure and centre Meg Webb yellow carded for an offside under her own posts.

That was in the 38th minute and although Glasgow could not score again before the break they knew they would have eight minutes a player up to start the second half.

And they scored their first try after 44 minutes, centre Claudia McLaren picking up a loose ball some 40 metres out and outpacing the defence to go in under the posts. MacRae converted and it was 12-10.

Just as Thunder were back to 15 they scored their third try when second-row Shona Wakley went over. Wilkinson converted to regain their nine point advantage with 31 minutes to go.

And, just before the hour mark, Webb scored the bonus point fourth try for Thunder and, although it was unconverted, they were 24-10 to the good.

Glasgow had to score next and they did thanks to a bit of magic from stand-off Ceitidh Ainsworth.

Her cross field kick set up winger Roma Fraser for her third try in two games and, when MacRae nailed a tricky conversion in the 64th minute, it was 24-17.

However, that was the way it stayed and Glasgow are now on one point in sixth place in the bottom half of the table. Their last match is in Belfast against another Welsh side, Gwalia Lightning, next Saturday.

Glasgow Warriors head coach Chris Laidlaw said:  “I’m just so gutted for the players, the effort and application they put into this game and the effort and application they and the girls in the wider squad have put into this whole programme to date has been immense, I am proud of them.

“We’ve got a large number of girls in the programme who have made great progress since it all began a couple of months ago and I am excited to see where they can go in the future after we play our final game next weekend.”

Teams –

Glasgow Warriors: L MacRae; C Grant, C McLaren, G Chicot, R Fraser; C Ainsworth, R Clarke©; A Tucker, N Simpson, C Brown, S Anderson, E Williamson, H Bogan, I Hannay, M Hyland. Subs: K Fraser, D Swann, D Lee, E Thomson, L Winter, A Love., P Crawford, C McDonald.

Brython Thunder: L Smith; E Hing, S Picton-Powell, M Webb, A Williams; M Wilkinson, S Singleton; C Thomas-Bradley, R Carr, K Carr, N John, S Wakley, F Jones, A Callender©, S Harries. Subs: A Morgan, E Kissinger, C-L Davies, C Mundy, K Bevans, N Terry, L Williams, E Dutton.

Referee: Rob McDowell.

 

Scorers –

Glasgow Warriors: Tries: McLaren, Fraser; Cons: MacRae 2; Pen: MacRae.

Brython Thunder: Tries: Harries, Thomas-Bradley, Wakley, Webb; Cons: Wilkinson 2.

Scoring sequence (Glasgow Warriors first): 3-0; 3-5; 3-7; 3-12 (h-t) 8-12; 10-12; 10-17; 10-19; 10-24; 15-24; 17-24.

Yellow card –

Brython Thunder: Webb (38mins)


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About Gary Heatly 457 Articles
Gary has loved rugby ever since he can remember and since 2004 he has covered the sport and others in a professional capacity for many publications and websites and runs his own company, GH Media.

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