EDINBURGH coach Michael Bradley believes that his players do not have an issue with ill-discipline but agrees that the team’s title hopes will be severely damaged if the yellow card trend continues.
For the second time in five games so far this season, Edinburgh were reduced to 13 men at Newport Gwent Dragons on Friday. Both times they have lost. John Yapp and Sean Cox were the offenders against Leinster two weeks ago and Cox and Ross Rennie were each sent off for ten minutes at Rodney Parade.
Cox was not actually the culprit and Bradley is confident that it will not count against him if he does pick up more cards and face a suspension. But the Murrayfield coach agreed that the decisions had proved costly in both games – notably with the Dragons having been out-scored by Edinburgh two tries to one but coming out on top with six penalty kicks.
“It’s not a big worry,” he said. “We gave away ten penalties in that game and they gave away 12, and they got six kicks with four close to the halfway line. If we got it down to eight we’d be very happy so ten is not too bad over a whole game. If it was 17 and 18 then you’ve an issue.
“I’m not going to go into the detail of whether we agree or disagree with all of those awarded but the point is that, if you get lower than the opposition [on penalty count] and score more tries than the opposition, you expect to win the game and we didn’t.
“You certainly have a much better chance of winning if you keep your players on the pitch, and our boys know that, but my philosophy is that you’ll get it back over the season. The referee, like players, doesn’t go out to get things wrong, and our interpretation can be different to the referee’s but, if you look at Treviso, they lost a game they should never have lost to Leinster and then they got it back against Scarlets last weekend, so these things have a tendency to even out.”
Preparing to welcome back a trio of big forwards, David Denton, Ross Ford and Grant Gilchrist, alongside young backs Lee Jones and Matt Scott for tomorrow night’s Murrayfield match against Treviso, Bradley acknowledged that three defeats in the opening five games had increased the pressure just a week before the start of the new Heineken Cup campaign against Saracens on 13 October.
“That was a difficult one for us to take,” added Bradley.
“We were confident enough that we would get another away win against the Dragons and we didn’t achieve that so now we have to get a home win against Treviso, and they’re playing well.
“Last week was very frustrating because it was one of those games that we targeted that we could win, and this is another, but there are no guarantees.”
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Thursday 20 June 2013
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