Grant Gilchrist stresses the missing element Edinburgh need to add to their attacking flair

There was a heart in mouth moment for Edinburgh on Saturday when the Stormers stand-off Tim Swiel lined up a drop goal attempt in injury time.

Edinburgh captain Grant Gilchrist leaps highest to win lineout ball in the 20-20 draw with the Stormers. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS

With the sides locked at 20-20 and memories still fresh of the last-gasp defeat by Benetton in similar fashion seven days previously, there was a collective intake of breath inside the DAM Health Stadium.

In Treviso, Leonardo Marin’s drop kick was straight and true to win the game for the Italian side. But on this occasion Swiel was off target and Edinburgh got the share of the spoils their performance deserved.

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“Two weeks running would have stunk, really stunk,” acknowledged Grant Gilchrist, the Edinburgh captain. “It was in our control more last week than this week. A draw is frustrating but the way the second half went both teams probably feel they could have won it.”

The pace and trickery of Darcy Graham caused problems for the Stormers in the first half against Edinburgh. Picture: Bruce White/SNS

It was a curious game in which the first half was as fast and loose as the second was attritional.

All the points came in the first 40 and it looked like Edinburgh were going to blow their South African opponents away. With Jaco van der Walt pulling the strings and the pace and trickery of Darcy Graham and Ben Vellacott causing problems, the home side were 14-0 ahead after only six minutes.

When Edinburgh play like this they are a joy to watch and the 6,000 or so supporters inside the ground were lapping it up. Gilchrist believes there is not a team in the United Rugby Championship that can live with them on that form but he also knows they remain a work in progress.

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Former Edinburgh and Scotland player David Denton delivers the match ball ahead of kick off against the Stormers. Picture: Bruce White/SNS

The lock identified some sloppy kicking which allowed the Stormers back into the game and knows Edinburgh need to combine the attacking intent they showed in the first half with the resilience displayed in the second.

“We learnt the lesson that if you kick loosely to a team of that quality they will tear you to shreds,” said Gilchrist.

“We want to play with that tempo but back it up with a controlled kicking game and putting them under pressure. We defended much better in the second half and attacked much better in the first half.

“We will be looking to put both parts together and flick between controlling the game defensively and then, when we get the opportunity to strike like we did in the first 20 minutes I don’t think there’s a team in the league that can defend us.

“We’re not claiming we are there yet but we are certainly striving to get better every week. We are making improvements to our game – small things like the fact we got done with a drop goal at the end of the game last week but this week you saw the guys flying through and putting pressure on and the kick was missed. What’s exciting about this group is that we know we can be so much better.”

The Stormers deserve credit for the way they got themselves back into the game with tries from full-back Warrick Gelant and scrum-half Paul De Wet. Swiel converted both and added a couple of penalties to match exactly van der Walt’s points haul.

Next up for Edinburgh is another home game against South African opposition, with the Bulls visiting the capital on Saturday.

Scorers: Edinburgh: Tries: Graham, Vellacott. Cons: van der Walt 2. Pens: van der Walt 2.

Stormers: Tries: Gelant, de Wet. Cons: Swiel 2. Pens: Swiel 2.

Edinburgh: Henry Immelman; Darcy Graham, James Lang, Cammy Hutchison (James Johnstone 54), Ramiro Moyano (Damien Hoyland 62); Jaco van der Walt, Ben Vellacott; Pierre Schoeman (Boan Venter 69), Dave Cherry, Luan de Bruin (WP Nel 56), Marshall Sykes (Jamie Hodgson 71), Grant Gilchrist (c), Jamie Ritchie, Luke Crosbie (Magnus Bradbury 56), Viliame Mata.

Subs not used: Adam McBurney, Charlie Shiel.

DHL Stormers: Warrick Gelant; Sergeal Petersen, Juan de Jongh, Rikus Pretorius (Dan du Plessis 65), Edwill van der Merwe; Tim Swiel, Paul de Wet (Godlen Masimla 70); Brok Harris, Scarra Ntubeni (JJ Kotze 78), Neethling Fouche (Sazi Sandi 60), Ernst van Rhyn, Salmaan Moerat (c), Nama Xaba (Marcel Theunissen 48), Willie Engelbrecht (Justin Basson 75), Evan Roos.

Subs not used: Kwenzo Blose, Manie Libbok.

Referee: Andrea Piardi (Italy)

Attendance: 5,895.

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