Stamping victim Fraser Brown has defended Edinburgh’s Simon Berghan over the red card which will see the prop face a Guinness Pro14 disciplinary panel tomorrow.
Tighthead Berghan, below, made contact with his boot on the head of Glasgow hooker Brown in the opening minutes of Saturday’s first 1872 Cup clash, which ended in a dramatic 18-17 win for the 14-man home side at BT Murrayfield.
When Irish referee Frank Murphy showed a red card with Edinburgh 7-0 down after an early Huw Jones try it could have finished the match as a contest but a tremendously spirited response from Richard Cockerill’s 14-man side ended in a stunning win when replacement centre Chris Dean’s last-gasp try opened up a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
Berghan will face an all-Irish panel by video call when he will almost certainly be handed a ban and be ruled out of Saturday’s return clash at Scotstoun.
However, Brown has no axe to grind over the incident. He said: “It was just one of those things, I think it was an accident. I spoke to Bergs afterwards, it was not malicious. It looks so innocuous, it is one of these that can catch you out.
“I think he has seen my back and has gone to put his foot on my back in good-natured fun and caught my head. There was nothing in it, you just have to be so careful with boots in rucks. These days safety is so paramount in the game, it is headline stuff.
“It was just one of those things, unfortunate for Simon but…”
That hanging ‘but’ reflects the fact that it was a clear red card, as Cockerill acknowledged after the game, and a suspension to follow. Brown is now more concerned with how Glasgow rectify what was a fairly awful performance from them on the night which led to the end of their ten-game winning run in the Pro14 and a sobering defeat.
The 29-times capped Scotland hooker hinted that Glasgow’s fast and loose style, which has blown lesser sides away this season, needs to be reined in a bit to avoid a repeat of Saturday’s slapdash showing which let their man down inter-city rivals get an ultimately profitable foothold back into the game.
“Edinburgh played well and we did not play well, we did not stick to our shape, we did not stick to our structure,” said Brown.
“It feels like we say this every time we come to Murrayfield to play Edinburgh, we just played really poorly, we did not hang onto the ball. We spoke all week about keeping the ball, going through the phases, cutting down the mistakes.
“I think we turn over the ball more than any other team in the league at the moment – that is the nature of the kind of rugby we aim too play but we have to realise when we have to hold onto the ball and make teams have to work harder in defence.
“They were down to 14 men, had a tighthead prop [recent signing from Rotherham Matt Shields] who was going to have to play 76 minutes and has not played a lot of rugby at this level. There was a bit of naivety from us, we need to learn and need to learn quickly.
Brown refused to view the fact Edinburgh’s two morale-boosting wins in the second-tier European competition had given them an advantage when compared to Glasgow’s gruelling back-to-back losses to French cracks Montpellier.
“Edinburgh have had two good wins before they played us; we had two good games where the results did not go our way,” said Brown. “I thought the way we played, particularly in the second game against Montpellier we showed more of what we were about, we had pace and power on the ball.
“We had a good training week [ahead of last Saturday], had one of our sharpest team runs in the one before the game. It is just about performing when we get here. Too many times we come here and get sucked into that kind of game, we just don’t play play our game.
“Rarely did we get into five-plus phases and get into our shape. When we did the ball was slow, they did a good job of slowing out ball down but we are a good enough team to generate quick ball and did not do that.
We will have to look at ourselves. It will be a pretty hard review week across Christmas and will come down to just hard work.”