SCRUM Web Columnist ‘The Embra Express’ looks back at the frustrating Blues defeat for Edinburgh Rugby:
For some years, there has been a series of what I think young folk refer to as ‘memes’ based on a scene from Der Untergang, a German language film about the last few days of Hitler’s life.
His henchmen reluctantly and with a high degree of anxiety give the fuhrer yet more bad news. There is a long silence during which time one can see anger gradually consuming him until eventually he explodes.
The ‘joke’ is in the subtitles, where various wags have come up with all sorts of trivia that could lead to such an emotional meltdown.
The Edinburgh trams one is the best, but it’s surely only a matter of time before someone comes up with an Edinburgh Rugby version. I felt myself going through a similar meltdown when I observed the latest Embra reverse at Mon Repos.
If ever there was an illustration of why this club needs someone to come in to read the Riot Act on a loop until it finally sinks in, last Friday evening’s disaster against the Blues is it.
This is not a team that should be languishing way off the pace in ninth position in the PRO12.
When I contemplate the current Gunners’ squad and the evolution of their style of play in recent months, I see so much to be positive about.
Taking but a few examples, SHC for much of the match looked far more like the player we know he can and should be, Ben Toolis was imperious in the lineout, One Man Wrecking Ball Jamie Ritchie dominated the breakdown.
And Rory Scholes, with his try brace, at last gave us a glimpse of why he was signed in the first place.
On a difficult night for running rugby, Edinburgh played with ambition and both of Scholes’ touchdowns were the result of clever, incisive attacking play. For the first hour, the Blues just were not at the races.
But, man, they were dumb. And that’s why they lost when they should have cantered into the Morningside gloom with a try bonus.
There is a leadership vacuum at the moment and the admirable Neil Cochrane can’t fill it by himself. As a result, there is a vicious circle of low confidence, which feeds on itself. As soon as things start to go wrong, the 15 men on the park visibly shrink. Things inevitably get even worse as a result.
Cornell du Preez is symptomatic of the malaise. He is such a talented young man and I know he is coming back from injury. But at times against the Blues he seemed paralysed with ball in hand. If you can’t see a gap, just put your head down and drive forward to recycle. Don’t just stand there!
The dumb decision that cost Edinburgh most was panicking late on and taking a hopeful long shot at goal with plenty of time left, rather than kicking to the corner to deliver the try or straightforward penalty chance. At times like that, you play the percentages and trust in your systems.
Maybe the arrival of ‘Jarvis’ Cockers next season will help. But ultimately, the people who will make the difference, and who have the responsibility, are the players themselves. They could learn a few lessons from the Blues.
And, indeed, the hyper-confident national team.
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