Mike Blair laments key part of Edinburgh's game in Lions defeat - 'we could have been more direct'

Mike Blair was left to bemoan Edinburgh’s lack of ruthlessness as they slipped to their third defeat in a row against South African opposition.

The Lions celebrate a big win over Edinburgh at the DAM Health Stadium.
The Lions celebrate a big win over Edinburgh at the DAM Health Stadium.

A 74th-minute penalty from Gianni Lombard swung the game in the Lions’ favour and they held on to win 22-19 at the DAM Health Stadium.

It was the first time in the game that the visitors had led as Edinburgh saw the 19-12 advantage they held going into the final quarter overturned by a converted try from man of the match Franke Horn and Lombard’s late strike.

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“The last eight or nine minutes went a little bit differently than we would have wanted and we are questioning that,” said Blair, whose side picked up a losing bonus point. “There is definitely a need for us to be ruthless and play through teams a little more when we get on top of them.

“The nine, ten pass and the next wide pass allows them [the opposition] to recover.

“I felt the Lions defended very well and had lots of width in their defence. I thought we could have been more direct.

“We played some nice stuff but in that last 15 minutes it wasn't winning stuff. We needed to keep the foot on the throat and the pressure on them but we allowed them to control things a little bit.

“We made a couple of errors on the edges and as I said we could have been more direct at times. We fatigued their big men in the first half but did not capitalise on that in the second. We went 19-12 up with our third try and I thought that might seal the game but the Lions did well to come back.”

The Edinburgh coach must be sick of the sight of South African sides, with the Lions loss following defeats on the road against the Stormers and Bulls.

Benetton are the visitors to the DAM Health Stadium next week and while the Italians have started the season impressively they are unlikely to be as physical as the Lions.

Edinburgh lost Scotland trio Hamish Watson, Stuart McInally and Darcy Graham to injury, along with prop Luan de Bruin.

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Watson and De Bruin both suffered head knocks, McInally hurt his ribs and Graham limped off near the end. Blair will assess the extent of the damage over the weekend before turning his attention to Benetton.

“I am a glass half full type of guy over what we are trying to get out of things although I am very conscious there is stuff we need to work on as Benetton are a strong side,” the coach added.

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