Edinburgh 14 - 15 Ospreys: Edinburgh sunk by brilliant solo try

EDINBURGH came agonisingly close to beating their Welsh opponents at Murrayfield last night, eventually losing by the odd point in 29. They had the platform and the chances to win but didn’t take them – where have we heard that recently?

They should take a lesson in finishing from Hanno Dirksen, the Welsh wing, who won the match with a fantastic solo try after 55 minutes.

Both sides had an unfamiliar look about them, with Edinburgh having nine recognised first XV players on international duty, while the visitors were even more bereft, though they had Duncan Jones back at prop and Alun Wyn Jones on the bench after a long injury-enforced absence.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Edinburgh coach Michael Bradley had challenged his squad of mainly unheralded players to show what they could do, and on a lovely evening for rugby they demonstrated that they have clearly immersed themselves in the rucking drills and swift ball movement that has made Edinburgh so successful this season.

Ospreys made the better start but their attacks foundered on a rip-snorting defence. When Edinburgh put together their first serious foray after ten minutes, Ospreys went offside but Godman failed with the penalty attempt from 25 metres.

More Welsh indiscipline gave Godman a second attempt at goal four minutes later and, despite it being a longer kick from all of 42 metres, the stand-off kicked the goal quite sweetly.

Edinburgh had the bit between their collective teeth now, and some quality rucking took them deep into the Ospreys’ 22 after 18 minutes. Chris Paterson almost slithered through, but made the ball available when tackled under the posts. Swift ball along the line saw Godman flick a lovely pass to outside centre Dougie Fife and the debutant made no mistake from a few feet out, the conversion being missed by Godman.

Fife went on to have a good game in both defence and attack where he seems a slippery customer. Ospreys were keen to get a score on their side of the board and after 22 minutes they advanced down their right wing to set up Daniel Biggar for a fine drop goal from 25 metres out.

The Welsh side were encouraged by their first points and instead of a kickable penalty in the 26th minute, they opted for a lineout and got their reward as a straight maul blasted the Edinburgh defence apart, allowing Richard Hibbard to dot down the equalising try. Edinburgh then strung together some slick moves but that old Scottish failing of not capitalising on scoring positions surfaced, as it had done during Glasgow’s win over Scarlets the previous evening.

Still, the home crowd enjoyed the sight of big No 8 Netani Talei and winger Tim Visser flattening opponents with thunderous hand-offs. As half-time approached, Edinburgh’s practised rucking took them into their opponents’ half where scrum-half Kahn Fotualii rather lost the plot at a ruck, allowing Godman to kick the three-point score from in front of the posts.

In the third quarter, Edinburgh’s progress upfield was let down by occasional indiscipline, but there was no doubting the firmness of their defence as they held the visitors at bay.

When it came Edinburgh’s turn to attack, another offside offence gave Godman the penalty chance he gratefully accepted to put Edinburgh 14-8 up.

Ospreys were able to bring on Welsh squad member Ryan Bevington and multi-capped Alun Wyn Jones, before Bradley sent on Argentina’s prop forward Ulises Gamboa for his Edinburgh debut.

Edinburgh’s lead was almost immediately turned into a 14-15 deficit by a magnificent solo try from Ospreys’ right wing Hanno Dirksen. He collected the ball on his own 22, evaded Paterson and Visser, chipped over Godman and sprinted clear to score beside the posts, Hibbard converting.

It was exhilarating stuff by Walker, and Ospreys must have begun to think it was their night when Godman missed an easy penalty, but at this stage Ospreys had the better of possession and position.

As they have done all season, however, Edinburgh raised their game under pressure and Tom Brown, the excellent Fife, Visser and Godman all had ago at Ospreys’ admittedly well-drilled defence. With ten minutes left, referee Leo Colgan awarded a penalty after Ospreys collapsed the scrum when he might well have awarded a penalty try. Captain Roddy Grant called another scrum, the home pack pushed too soon and the chance was gone.

Scorers: Edinburgh – Try: Fife. Pens: Godman 3. Ospreys – Tries: Hibbard, Dirksen. Con: Biggar. Drop goal: Biggar.

Edinburgh: Paterson; Brown, Fife, Houston, Visser; Godman, Leck;Traynor, Walker, Gilding, Gilchrist, Cox, McInally, Grant, Talei. Replacements: Gamboa (for Gilding, 51) Losada (for Gilchrist, 60),Kelly (for Walker, 64), Hislop (for Traynor, 78) Not used: MacDonald, Black, Hunter, S. Visser.

Ospreys: Fussell; Walker, Isaacs, Bishop, Dirksen; Biggar, Fotualii; DJones, Hibbard, Rees, Gough, King, Smith, Lewis, Thomas. Replacements: Bevington (for D Jones, 50), A Wyn Jones (for Gough, 50),Webb (for Fotualii, 54), Bearman (for King, 64), Parker (for Isaacs,65). Not used: Baldwin, Morgan, Taylor.