Edinburgh Rugby extras: Injury worries, telling stat, Boff is back, star men, disappointments
Fortress has been stormed
It took until April last season for Edinburgh to lose at their new home, the DAM Health Stadium, with the compact arena becoming something of a fortress. It will therefore be disappointing for head coach Mike Blair that they have missed out on points in the capital so early in this campaign. To be fair, the Lions are proving to be away-day kings – this was their third consecutive win in a fruitful European mini-tour – but in a league which largely goes with home advantage, Edinburgh could count the cost of this result come the end of the term.
Four Edinburgh players had to leave the pitch injured: Hooker Stuart McInally with sore ribs, Luan de Bruin after he failed an HIA, Hamish Watson after a head knock and Darcy Graham with a knee problem. Their conditions were unknown in the immediate aftermath of the defeat but the sight of Graham limping off and looking glum did not paint a pretty picture for those of an Edinburgh persuasion. Gregor Townsend, the Scotland head coach, was in attendance and he will now be fretting about Graham’s fitness, with the start of the Autumn Nations Series matches a month away.
Boff is back
Emiliano Boffelli made his first start of the season after his exploits with Argentina. Posted on the wing, he directly assisted one try, was involved in another with an impressive catch from a restart and nailed a very tricky conversion. On a night shrouded with disappointment, having Boffelli back was a definite plus.
Fair play to the Lions
This was an excellent, disciplined performance by the Lions. They have now won three matches on the spin and are an improvement on last season’s version. No northern hemisphere side has beaten a South African team this season. The Lions brought physicality to the party in spades but also took their chances in the second half. No 8 Frenke Horn was dominant, while jack-in-the-box scrum-half Sanele Nohamba was fun to watch.
Star Edinburgh men
Both Boffelli and Graham played well, the latter in particular wreaking havoc with his twinkle toes and pace before injury curtailed his evening. No 8 Bill Mata scored a try and did a power of work in both attack and defence.
Full-back Henry Immelman made a couple of handling errors and his place in the strongest XI must be in jeopardy now that Duhan van der Merwe has returned. Centres James Lang and Matt Currie will not be pleased with their part in Henco van Wyk’s try with some weak defence, while stand-off Blair Kinghorn had a quiet game by his standards.