Edinburgh 20-13 Loughborough
Mark Foster had an unusual way of describing Edinburgh’s 14 March victory over Loughborough. “It probably wasn’t the most aesthetically pleasing game,” he said. But whether it was pretty or not, that didn’t change the fact that the 20-13 win was just what Edinburgh needed to top Loughborough for the fourth place spot in the league in their final home game of the season.
The game got off to a rocky start for Edinburgh, as the momentum of Loughborough’s fast-paced offence seemed to be catching the Edinburgh squad on its heels. Tenacious defending on the part of individual members kept Loughborough from making a try, but they still saw the scoreboard first with an early penalty.
However, Edinburgh quickly stepped up to match Loughborough’s intensity, with a try from Callum Davey just a few minutes later. But as Foster said, it wasn’t the most spectacular attacking game.
“Sometimes backs can be a bit over-elaborate,” Coach David Adamson said. “Forwards take it upon themselves to get the win, which they did, which was really pleasing.”
As they have so often this season, Edinburgh were able to put together a well-coordinated passing game to maintain possession and push into Loughborough’s defensive third. But while Edinburgh have had few problems finding holes in weaker teams’ defences, scoring tries against Loughborough came a little less easily. When Loughborough responded to Edinburgh’s first try with two of their own in the first half, Edinburgh needed another to stay in the game.
In the end it was the forwards’ effort in lineouts and mauls that gave Edinburgh what they needed.
“The highlight for me was definitely those two pushover tries we got, as I said, that’s my bread and butter,” Foster said. “I just love doing that, so to do it twice against a really good pack, was unbelievable.”
The two tries in themselves could not have given Edinburgh the win. Robert Cuthbertson’s successful conversions and penalties doubled the score, and the momentum that came after Ben Manning’s second-half try kept Loughborough struggling to come back.
It was clear in such a close match that neither team was clearly superior tactically. In the end, it came down to whichever team could play a more intense 80 minutes. Said Foster:
“We’ve shown a lot of character all year, when you’re down to thirteen men and you’re playing one of the biggest and best universities in the country at rugby, it took so much character to come through that, you know final home game of the year.”
He added that the team had set a goal over the winter holidays to have a perfect winning record at home, and this victory achieved that.
In addition to the four home games won since January, as Adamson pointed out, the team is on track to finish in the top four of the league. Though the match may not have been the “most aesthetically pleasing,” its result was probably the most beautiful Edinburgh has seen all season.