Inter-District Championship: Glasgow & The West snatch second place from Edinburgh

Two late tries put hosts ahead for first time in the match in the 84th minute at Braidholm

James Couper carries the ball for Glasgow & The West versus Edinburgh. Image: Colin Robinson - www.robinson.photo
James Couper carries the ball for Glasgow & The West versus Edinburgh. Image: Colin Robinson - www.robinson.photo

Glasgow & The West 29

Edinburgh 24

LEWIS STUART @ Braidholm

A TOPSY-TURVY game that defied all the usual rugby logic ended with Glasgow snatching second place in the Inter District Championship with an 82nd minute try that gave them the lead for the only time in the match. It was dramatic stuff from the hosts who had to score twice in the final five minutes to claim the result and see off their oldest rivals.

It was never less than an enthralling contest, if anything made even more exciting by the strong wind swirling round Braidholm. In both halves, it seemed to inspire the side facing it. Forced to play hard, open rugby they both took on the wind and dominated play.

Still, Edinburgh were left wondering how they managed to go from 24-15 up going into the final four minutes to losing a game they seemed to have won thanks to a storming first half.


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Kenny Diffenthal, the Glasgow coach, had one explanation. “Sometimes, in these games. guys seem to take the foot off a little bit when they think they’re gonna have the elements,” he suggested. “So, I thought it almost looked like the teams were trying to play less when they had the wind and really went for it playing into the wind.

“Making changes at the right times was important and I told the players at half-time that we had to go out and play in the second half, I didn’t want to see anyone kicking the ball. The guys coming off the bench, the finishers, stood up to be counted.”

It was a striking second half performance from the Glasgow side, because they had had so little of the first 40 minutes but somehow managed to keep their self belief when conventional logic says they should have been dead and buried.

“One of our big things has been that everybody works together,” added Diffenthal. “We’re all from different clubs, but are having a good time together and the players go out and enjoy themselves. At training and in the changing room, you’d never now they are from different clubs, there is so much spirit in the side.”

Which is not to suggest there was any lack of determination or spirit in the Edinburgh side, who gave as good as they got until they buckled under intense pressure in the final minutes.

Still, it was enough for Bob McKillop, their coach, to wonder at the mindset change which saw his players lose their accuracy and cohesion just when it really mattered.

“We had a very, very good first half into the wind – on both sides of the ball,” he said. “We attacked well and got some really good tries.

“Somehow we couldn’t keep a hold of the ball in the second half and fair play to Glasgow, they just kept coming and coming at us, retaining the ball really well.

“We can still take some encouragement though. The way we defended our goal-line and the way that they kept running, showed that. Last year Edinburgh came into this underprepared and we underperformed. This year we’ve been involved in three one-score games and only just come out on the wrong side on two of them.”

 

 

Certainly, full marks for drama as McKillop’s men started playing into the teeth of Storm Kathleen, and managed the brighter start. Their short passing game carved out holes for the big forwards to rumble into, with locks Jake Mills and Michael Badenhorst both prominent as they powered their way to the home line.

Eventually, the pressure told and after another close call from Badenhorst, they moved the ball right, where a well-timed offload from fly half Danny Owenson put full-back Charlie Brett over the line for a score superbly converted by Owenson.

Having started so well, Edinburgh promptly decided to shoot themselves in the foot, running the ball out of defence but making a mess of it as the pass went behind the whole back line. Tom Lanni, the Glasgow wing, was first to react, swooping low to collect the ball and having the strength to ground it despite Badenhorst’s attempt to hold him up.

The setback didn’t seem to dismay the capital men. Centre Robbie Kent showed real power as he charged out of his own half on a strong run, shrugging off multiple tackles before finding Brett in support. The full0back made it into the 22 but it was the brilliance of his behind-the-back flick that did the real damage and Rory Hindhaugh took the ball the rest of the way.

Though the Glasgow pack were starting to get on top in the scrum, it was still Edinburgh who finished the half on a high as Kent eased through the midfield after the forwards had done the hard work on the other side of the field.

 

 

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You would have expected the visitors, with the wind advantage in the second half, to ease clear, but instead they seemed to find the elements a handicap. Glasgow were forced to handle and after making a raft of changes at the break and in the opening minutes of the half, they raised the tempo and showed how to keep the ball through the phases.

The first score did rely on Edinburgh making another blunder to gift them the attacking position, but, after props Ali Rogers and Alex Apthorpe had got them close to the line, there was nothing lucky about Andrew Goudie‘s dummy that opened his path to the line.

It was then the turn of the forwards, who worked a return pass at the front of the line-out for Paul Cairncross, the hooker, to drive over and suddenly Glasgow were right back in the game.

Owenson did ease Edinburgh a bit further ahead with a penalty but that only set them up for a barmy final five minutes.

Glasgow were in total charge up front and Edinburgh were making too many mistakes to hang onto the ball as the penalty count against them mounted. A yellow card for No 8 Stuart Allison made it even tougher before Roger’s drove over in a pile of bodies with time running out.

But there was time for Glasgow to launch one final attack, going through phase after phase as they moved the ball from their own 22 to the shadow of the Edinburgh posts. They were well into double figures for phases when replacement wing Max MacFarlane cut across the defence to give his side the lead for the first time as the final whistle went.

 

Teams –

Glasgow & The West: J Couper (Glasgow Hawks); S Bickerstaff (Marr), C Lonegran (GHA), C Bickerstaff (C) (Marr, M MacFarlane GHA, 59), T Lanni (Ayr); C Sturgeon (Marr, A Goudie, GHA, 46), G Baird (Marr, R Baird, Marr, 53); B Sweet (Marr, A Rogers, Marr, 41), P Cairncross (Glasgow Hawks, T Martin, Ayr, 64), M Fox (GHA, A Apthrope, Marr, 41), D Andrew (Marr), M Crumlish (Glasgow Hawks, R Airlie, Ayr, 41), L Stewart (Glasgow Hawks, L McCutcheon, GHA, 42), M McCornick (Newton Stewart), B Jardine (Marr).

Edinburgh: C Brett (C) (Currie Chieftains); R Hindhaugh (Musselburgh, P Cunningham, Musselburgh, 61), R Kent (Edinburgh Accies), R Watt (Musselburgh), R Daley (Currie Chieftains); D Owenson (Musselburgh,), C Lessels (Currrie Chieftains, S Clark, Preston Lodge, 58); R Dunbar (Edinburgh Accies, C Imrie, Edinburgh Accies, 51), R Stewart (Currie Chieftains, R Jackson, Heriot’s Blues, 64), C Crookshanks (Edinburgh Accies, G Carson, Currie Chieftains, 64), J Mills (Edinburgh Accies, S Whittaker, Edinburgh Accies, 69), M Badenhorst (Musselburgh, A Bain, Currie Chieftans, 49), R Davies (Currie Chieftains), R Kirkpatrick (Heriot’s Blues, J Minty, Watsonians, 69), S Allison (Watsonians).

Referee: M Todd

 

Scorers –

Glasgow & The West: Tries: Lanni, Goudie, Cairncross, Rogers, MacFarlane; Cons: Goudie 2.

Edinburgh: Tries: Brett, Hindhaugh, Kent; Cons: Owenson 3; Pen: Owenson.

Scoring sequence (Glasgow & The West first): 0-5; 0-7; 5-7; 5-12; 5-14; 5-19; 5-21 (h-t) 10-21; 15-21; 15-24; 20-24; 22-24; 27-24; 29-24.

 

Yellow Cards –

Glasgow & the West: Lanni (28 mins).

Edinburgh: Crookshanks (58 mins), Allison (77 mins)

 

Player-of-the-Match: Much more of a team effort for Glasgow than having any individual shine but the player who lifted the tempo of the whole performance was Robbie Baird when he came on for the second half and he gets our award.

Talking Point: Another thoroughly entertaining match in surprisingly good conditions shows the value of the Inter-District model and should encourage the Murrayfield bosses to expand the whole concept and help market these games more.


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About Lewis Stuart 77 Articles
Lewis has been writing about rugby for almost 40 years, the last 18 as a freelance based in Scotland bringing his wealth fo experience to just about every publication in the country. These days you can hear him as well by tuning in to his Wednesday night show on Rocksport Radio.

17 Comments

  1. I’m sorry but I have to correct an easy mistake to make- but it was Robbie Baird (scrum half) who came on second half of game!

  2. The development of talent is possible outwith the academies AngryGalaBertHughes. It’s not all about pro rugby you know. And unless I’m mistaken, Super 6 was supposed to be the arena for academy players only that many didn’t play until the introduction of the futures which ironically took them all away from clubs already. So, what’s your point?

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    • I am not the same person as ‘Bert Hughes’ as you are insinuating just for clarity! There are many other people besides myself with differing viewpoints to the ‘usual mob’ on here who want everything to go back to the ‘glory days’ which never existed from their childhood.

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      • I seem to remember the good old days when the districts used to play touring teams and perform credibly

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      • Back to the glory days? What on earth are you talking about? Differing view points? Good to hear that you have now formed views which will make a change from your usual bitter, grievance laden, uninformed, drivel. If you’re not interested in club rugby I don’t know why you bother commenting on it so religiously.

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    • Super 6 wasn’t supposed to be an arena for academy players. It was designed to bring through talented club players who had developed later or who had been wrongly dropped from the pathway (of which there are many.) There rightly should be a way for talented late developers to be able to make their way into the pro system beyond being selected at 17 years old for the academies. Now that super 6 has gone there is little to no chance of any players not in the academies to be spotted. Don’t think the district games are enough to show piece these players.

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      • Talented late developers have always come through before, during and now will do after S6. Pointless waste of money which is why it has been scrapped. Sean Lineen made it clear at the start that he expected the under 20 boys to be given a significant amount of game time and it never happened. That’s why the futures was created. Whole thing was shambolic from start to finish. Also has nowt to do with district rugby in any case, both this year’s and last year’s district champ have been played during the S6 era.

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      • “Talented late developers have always come through before, during and now will do after S6”.

        I would be very curious to know who those late developers are that have come before S6. I recall many on this site over the years constantly saying too many players have been overlooked! I was observing far less of that commentary once the S6 started.

        Lets not make claims we cannot back up Scots ‘Abroad’

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    • I can give you four late developers who were signed pro from borders clubs alone pre S6 off the top of my head. Scott Wight, Jason Baggott, Jamie Bhatti, Fraser Thomson. Sure there will be many more from other clubs. Grant Stewart at Hawks springs to mind. Gordy Reid from Ayr.

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      • AngryGala2 look, I understand where you’re coming from now, you thought S6 was a brilliant idea and your problem with club rugby is down to your upset that S6 has not worked out and for whatever reason you’ve decided to tear into the grassroots game over it. I couldn’t care less about S6, was never something I took any notice of. Not at all upset nor surprised that it’s been scrapped. Scottish rugby needs to focus on growing the sport and supporting clubs to do that. If you want to continue to throw stones at the club game good luck to you.

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      • Thats the best who you could come up with for over 2 decade worth before S6? Besides Bhatti and Reid those are not credible breakthroughs but rather fringe players.

        I could easily name 10 players from the last year alone who have broken into professional rugby seamlessly because The super series has provided them an avenue.

        Fraser, Hiddleston, Williamson, Hodgson, Samuel, Brown, Ferrie, Afshar, Paterson, Currie. Half of these players are already being touted as getting into the summer squad because they have genuine potential.

        Where are the opportunities for the next young group going to come from now? Limited A side games ain’t going to cut it. I really hope there are opportunities given to the likes of Blyth-lafferty, Johnston, Simpson & Norrie but sadly those will be sparse.

        I certainly didn’t think the specifics of Super 6 were a ‘brilliant idea’ but the concept of getting a semi-pro league so that we do not lose some of our best, as well as provide an realistic avenue to professionalism which every other top tier union has to the game was vital. The inability of people like yourself to even give it a chance is a huge problem driving Scottish rugby back to the stone age.

        But hey lets have our inter-district championship, that will solve all the problems!

      • You seem to have redefined late developers as players to any Scottish player who has gone pro. On that basis every single player who came through the Scottish system prior to S6 would count. A late developer would be a player who is missed or dropped from the pathways. Naturally these players are few and far between and the chance for.amy player to go pro when there are only two teams is very small. If you don’t think A team games will cut it you better let Al Kellock know. It wasn’t me who never gave S6 a chance, I had zero interest in it. SRU decided it wasn’t working not me. They would know as they were paying for it.

  3. I see the Offsideline love in for the IDC continues. Not sure what was worse at the Glasgow game; the standard or the crowd. Both were miles away from where they need to be. Neither gets mentioned, hearing reports the Cally vs south game wasn’t much better.

    Understand the need the to have the IDC but please stop calling it a showcase for talent. Talent development has been entirely separated from the club game by Keith Wallace and his merry band of CRB dinosaurs. No link whatsoever from the clubs to the pro or academy game exists now, no academy players will play in the club game. A shocking state of affairs.

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    • There are plenty of academy players in club rugby. It’s fine to disagree but when your point is reliant on outright lies then it’s not much of a point to start with.

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