'I'm so conflicted': Mike Blair has mixed emotions after Edinburgh turn on style against Ospreys

Mike Blair admitted to feeling conflicting emotions after seeing his Edinburgh team mark his last home game as head coach with a convincing, seven-try 45-21 victory over Ospreys. Blair felt proud of the entertaining display of attacking rugby put on by his players, but frustrated that they had failed to play with such conviction with any regularity this season.
Hamish Watson celebrates scoring Edinburgh's fifth try during the win over Scarlets.Hamish Watson celebrates scoring Edinburgh's fifth try during the win over Scarlets.
Hamish Watson celebrates scoring Edinburgh's fifth try during the win over Scarlets.

“I’m so conflicted,” Blair said. “I thought the vast majority of the game we were right on it. We had a five-minute period around 30 minutes when Sam Skinner got his yellow card and we lost it a little bit, but apart from that we were on it for a huge amount the game. There is huge satisfaction that we’ve done that – that we’ve put away a team like Ospreys with the quality they have. But it’s tinged with a bit of frustration that we’ve not seen that consistency of performance throughout that season.”

Edinburgh took a fifth-minute lead when Ben Vellacott intercepted an Owen Williams pass just inside the Ospreys half and ran in unopposed. That score injected a massive dose of confidence into a home side that had been desperately short of that quality in recent months, and within minutes they scored again. A more orthodox attack set up the platform this time, with Jamie Ritchie and Darcy Graham among those combining well wide out on the right before Dave Cherry was on hand to finish off from close range.

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Ospreys had not had an attack worthy of the name up to that point, but that changed after Luke Morgan was tackled into touch by Blair Kinghorn close to the home five-metre line. Edinburgh lost their lineout, and after a couple of assaults on the goal line were rebuffed, Dewi Lake made sure from two or three metres out. Owen Williams converted.

Edinburgh hit back and got their third full score just past the quarter-hour mark. Sam Skinner finished off this time, with Hamish Watson providing the assist. The home support were on their feet again minutes later when Boffelli got the bonus-point try after intercepting a wide pass inside his own 10-metre line.

Skinner was then shown a yellow card for a dangerous tackle on Rhys Davies, but Ospreys were unable to make their numerical advantage count. Minutes before the break, Davies himself was sent to the sin bin for going in late and high on Darcy Graham. Then, in the last move of the half, Watson got Edinburgh’s fifth: Blair Kinghorn sent a penalty to touch, the maul functioned smoothly this time, and the Scotland openside finished off, with Boffelli’s conversion taking the score to 35-7.

With Davies back on, Ospreys scored first in the second half, Lake finishing off a lineout drive and Owen Williams converting. Morgan Morris became the third player of the night to be carded as the referee grew tired of his team’s offending.

With the Ospreys defence both down a man and beginning to feel the pace, Graham got the score he had long been threatening to take, bouncing out of a couple of tackles on his way to touching down wide out on the right.

Graham grabbed a second inside the final ten minutes – like his first effort, unconverted. Ospreys got a third in the closing minutes through substitute Sam Parry, with Gareth Anscombe converting.

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