Edinburgh Rugby debrief: South Africa or Ireland in play-offs, DAM breached, send for Adam McBurney

Edinburgh lost to Ulster but the bonus point they secured means they are through to the United Rugby Championship play-offs. So what’s next for Mike Blair’s side?

Frustration for Edinburgh stand-off Blair Kinghorn following the 16-10 defeat by Ulster at the DAM Health Stadium.  (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)
Frustration for Edinburgh stand-off Blair Kinghorn following the 16-10 defeat by Ulster at the DAM Health Stadium. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

It’s a trip to Ireland or South Africa in the play-offs

The precious point taken by Edinburgh in the 16-10 defeat by Ulster means they are guaranteed a top eight finish in the inaugural URC. That’s the good news.

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The bad is that they face a trip to Ireland or South Africa in the play-off quarter-finals. As things stand, Edinburgh sit eighth, level on points with Glasgow Warriors who they meet at Murrayfield in the final round of league matches on May 21.

A win for Edinburgh would likely see them finish seventh, although they could overhaul the Bulls or even Ulster if the latter two end up losing their final games to Ospreys and Sharks, respectively.

No-one’s catching Leinster at the top of the table so whoever finishes eighth will be heading to Dublin to take on the serial Pro14 winners.

Those teams who end up in the fifth, sixth and seventh places will face an away game against Munster or Sharks or Stormers or Bulls or Ulster in the last eight.

Fortress no more?

Edinburgh’s first sell-out at the DAM Health Stadium was also their first competitive defeat at the ground as Ulster did what Scarlets, Stormers, Bulls, Benetton, Cardiff, Brive, Connacht, Pau, Bath and Zebre couldn’t.

The 16-10 loss in the wind and rain was a tense affair played out in front of a boisterous crowd peppered with plenty of away fans.

To get almost to May without losing a home game is an impressive achievement by Edinburgh for whom Mark Bennett scored a late try to help secure a losing bonus point and a place in the URC play-offs.

It’s back to European action next week for Mike Blair’s side who welcome Wasps in the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup. The trick now is to restore the fortress factor to the DAM Health.

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Step forward Adam McBurney

Stuart McInally was seen on crutches at the end of Edinburgh’s match with Ulster after taking a sore one on the leg. We’ll find out the severity of the injury this week but the hooker looks unlikely to be available for the immediate future.

His replacement, Dave Cherry, suffered a serious looking arm injury but showed admirable bravery to play on.

Hooker is such a specialised position and Edinburgh are now likely to turn to Adam McBurney to fill the void left by the McInally and Cherry injuries.

Signed from Ulster last year, McBurney’s chances have been limited by the form of the two Scotland men but he has made a favourable impression in his handful outings, most notably on his debut in the win over Dragons in Wales.

A big few weeks could be looming for the young hooker who was called into the Scotland squad last summer.

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