HAMISH WATSON says that Edinburgh must now build on their gritty back-to-back performances against Glasgow Warriors during the festive break so that they can close the gap on Ulster in the race to make the end of season play-offs in the Guinness PRO14.
The capital outfit secured an impressive victory over their inter-city rivals on 23rd December despite playing all but the first four minutes of that match with 14-man after the sending off of Simon Berghan.
They couldn’t quite back-up that remarkable result when the two sides locked horns again at Scotstoun two days ago, but it was a battle the whole way until Warriors winger Lee Jones sneaked over in the corner to give the final 17-0 score-line a lopsided complexion which didn’t reflect the tightness of the contest.
“The try at the end was pretty disappointing, it would have been nice to keep them out and not let them score but the reason we conceded that try was not that the defence was not good enough at the end but because we were playing from deep and trying to get a bonus point out of the game from 12-0,’ said Wastson. “If you are playing from five metres out from your line at a scrum you run the risk of conceding a late try.
“Our defence as a whole was pretty good and we maybe attacked the better of the two teams but did not finish them off and gave away too much ball after the line breaks – and because of that we did not win.
“But we are still growing as a team, we are quite young and will learn from that. We have to learn when to give those last passes and when to hold onto it and go again next phase when they will be stretched.
“We were chasing the game a bit and maybe that is why we were chucking that last offload but in terms of line-breaks some of the boys did really well to get themselves into those positions. It was really good to show our attacking game was shaping up well but we have to hold onto that ball.
“Cockers [head coach Richard Cockerill] has definitely got us all heading in the right direction, everyone can see that. We are definitely closing that gap on the top teams and people are starting to realise that now,” he continued.
“For large parts of the game, we looked the better side. We were really threatening Glasgow which not many teams have come here and done. Normally it is a bit of a try fest here.
Edinburgh are currently three points behind third placed Ulster in Conference B of the PRO14 but have played a game more, with the Northern Irishmen taking on Munster this evening [1st January] at the Kingspan Stadium.
“We closed the gap last week after they lost. This does not help but Edinburgh is in a pretty good place at the moment,” said Watson.
While the flanker is clearly enthused by the progress his team are making, it was a frustrating match on a personal level, with referee Mike Adamson – a former Glasgow Warriors player – taking a dim view of his attempts to snaffle ball at the breakdown. Overall, Edinburgh conceded 16 penalties, which was exactly twice as many as their opponents.
“It was tough at the breakdown and I did give away a few penalties but that is part of my role, I have to go for the ball and try to slow their ball down. I thought some of the calls were pretty touch-and-go but I’ll have to go back and watch the game again and then I can make a proper decision on it. I was playing and you do see every decision as harsh so I will watch it back and then make a proper decision on it,” he diplomatically stated, before being informed that Cockerill had already called foul.
“If has already said it, I suppose I can! When we watch it again it might be different but at the time we felt some of the decisions were a bit harsh,” he concluded.