DOUGIE Fife may have emerged the try-scoring hero for Edinburgh had he managed to add a second-half score to his opener yesterday, but the winger remains confident that his side can defy the odds and win at Scotstoun next week.
The 23-year-old showed terrific pace to cause Glasgow problems on the rare occasions that Edinburgh did move the ball wide, and his try was his fourth in four successive games. Only a fine Chris Cusiter tackle denied him a second at a crucial moment after the interval and that form is pretty good coming into 1872 Cup games which inevitably double as Scotland trials.
With Tommy Seymour suffering concussion and facing the prospect of missing the Scotstoun return leg he could be peaking at just the right time.
“To be honest, I just found out there that I was four in a row,” said Fife, playing down Scotland talk, “so I haven’t even thought about anything higher. This next game is the biggest game that I’ve played in I think, so I’m not looking at anything further just yet.
“In the second half today we let ourselves down and so we feel it was one that got away. Should have, could have … If you look at the one in the first half in the left-hand corner [when Jack Cuthbert knocked-on], if we’d got that try we’d have gone into the second half with a good lead, but to be fair to them they scrambled well and have great pride in their defence and they kept us out.”
The confidence boosted by two big wins over Gloucester and Leinster remains in the Edinburgh camp, however, Fife insisted.
“We knew that this would be two big games and we’re one down, but we can definitely win over there at Scotstoun and by more than four to win the cup, but winning is the first priority.
“Alan [coach Solomons] has said that we have to go away and come back refreshed, that we’re not to be too disheartened with that. The forwards were amazing again today. The physicality from them has been brilliant, so yeah, if we play like we have today and get over the line next week we can win this cup.”
Solomons could not hide his disappointment at the way this game slid from his side’s grasp, and was particularly concerned at how the pendulum swung against his team in the breakdown stakes in the second half. “It was very disappointing,” he said. “I thought we did enough to win the game but that’s how derbies happen – one particular incident. All our backs were in there [attacking], and they had a kick ahead and got to the ball. That was the difference in the game.
“We had opportunities. I thought we did enough on the day to come home, but they won the game and good luck to them. But I want to have a very close look at what went on in those breakdowns in the second half, and I won’t comment on them right now until I have had that chance to look at it.
“I always knew it was going to be close,” he added. “Any derby game is going to go to the wire, and unfortunately we didn’t capitalise on the opportunities we had, and Greig [Laidlaw] is a very accurate kicker and had one kick that normally he would get over, whereas they had one opportunity for a try and they took it.
“Jack [Cuthbert] had a chance but dropped the ball, but we knew they would fight to the bitter end and so even if we’d scored then they were never going to throw in the towel.
“But we will pick up now and look ahead to a better performance and result next week.”
THE SCOTSMAN RUGBY SHOW IN ASSOCIATION WITH GINGER GROUSE