Mike Blair: Edinburgh Rugby will throw everything they can at Leicester Tigers

Blair Kinghorn's dejected look sums it up for Edinburgh.Blair Kinghorn's dejected look sums it up for Edinburgh.
Blair Kinghorn's dejected look sums it up for Edinburgh.
Mike Blair said Edinburgh will throw everything they have at Leicester Tigers next Friday night in the Champions Cup as they try to keep their season alive after this disappointing loss at the Sportsground in Galway.

They had enough possession and opportunities to secure the win which might have kept their URC campaign alive but were made pay 41-26 for their wastefulness by a more clinical Connacht side and now have to regroup for the daunting trip to Leicester.

“We’ve spoken already as a group there about not being good enough but we all understand that we have to be at the top of our game physically and mentally to challenge top quality teams.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“I believe that we have the quality of player, we’ve shown in our performances in Europe that we can do it so we need now to turn it around for Friday.

“We’re really disappointed. We didn’t play at the level we expect with the quality of players we had on the pitch. We gave the ball away to Connacht too easily when we had them under pressure and they scored too easily when the got down to our third of the pitch. Disappointing day.”

He will have the likes of Pierre Schoeman, Jamie Ritchie, Duhan van der Merwe and Hamish Watson back for the trip to Mattioli Woods Welford Road and wasn’t aware of any new injuries from this clash.

Edinburgh enjoyed plenty of possession in the opening half but Connacht were much more clinical and led by 20-7 having played with the breeze.

Impressive Connacht centre Cathal Forde cut them open for an early try and they built on it with an effort from flanker Conor Oliver to lead 15-0 at the end of the opening quarter.

Edinburgh finally got over after a fourth penalty to the corner was worked across the field and then back in before Fijian tighthead Lee-Roy Atalifo finished the seventh surge at the line beside the left post.

But then Connacht scrum-half Caolin Blade intercepted a Kinghorn pass inside his 22 before sprinting downfield to score and make it 20-7 at the interval.

Jarrad Butler secured the bonus point with a try after 45 minutes and while Connacht lost Conor Oliver and Oisin Dowling to the bin and conceded tries to Bill Mata and Glen Young when Edinburgh had a numerical advantage to cut the gap to 27-19, Connacht regrouped and pushed on when full-back Emiliano Boffelli joined Dowling in the bin.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Blade scored twice in three minutes to complete his hat-trick, the fifth time in six games that a Connacht player has scored three.

He nudged over from close range and then pouncing on a loose ball after a counter-attack mounted by a superb rip by replacement Shane Jennings on Mata inside his own 22.

Edinburgh grabbed a try bonus through Kinghorn in the dying moments.

“We were playing into a bit of a breeze and had talked about holding onto the ball a little bit more,” added Blair.

“There were a couple of kickable opportunities that we could have used but dropped a couple of balls on the edge coming up to halftime when we had climbed our way back into it at 15-7. The second half we thought it would have looked a lot better but we did get back into the game.

“Before the yellow I had good belief in us winning the game.looked stronger, would have been questioning that at halftime.”