But sets sights on vic­tory against Mont­pel­lier

The Herald on Sunday - - RUGBY -

He said: “We started well and played some good rugby and con­trolled the game. Ba­si­cally we just didn’t come out the blocks in the se­cond half.

“Credit to Ed­in­burgh. They con­trolled the game se­cond-half and we just couldn’t get a foot in the game. To beat a team like Ed­in­burgh, you have to play for the full 80 min­utes and ob­vi­ously we just didn’t do that to­day.”

Fri­day evening at Mur­ray­field is guar­an­teed to be spe­cial when Ed­in­burgh – semi-fi­nal­ists back in 2012 – can clinch that knock­out spot by see­ing off Mont­pel­lier.

But yes­ter­day, the Top14 out­fit showed they won’t be easy touches af­ter de­mol­ish­ing New­cas­tle Fal­cons seven tries to one.

Those who were will­ing Fal­cons to pro­duce an un­ex­pected vic­tory over in France were prob­a­bly hang­ing on to the no­tion their dream just might be re­alised as the Premier­ship out­fit trailed Vern Cot­ter’s men by just 12-3 at half-time, the Fal­cons line breached by Ti­moci Na­gusa and cen­tre Yvan Reil­hac.

How­ever, af­ter in­ter­val, Mont­pel­lier cut loose, with the Fal­cons de­fence over­run.

Paul Willemse, an ad­di­tion to the French Six Na­tions squad, scored as the home pack be­gan to dom­i­nate.

The French were equally clin­i­cal be­hind the scrum, winger Henry Im­mel­man se­cur­ing a brace of tries, ei­ther side of Nico Janse van Rens­burg’s score, with Ro­main Ruf­fe­nach round­ing off the sev­en­try rout to take a 45-8 win, Fal­cons’ only try com­ing from Zach Kibirige in the clos­ing min­utes.

It was job done for for­mer Scot­land coach Cot­ter, who knows that, de­spite the em­phatic na­ture of yes­ter­day’s vic­tory, a big­ger test awaits at his one-time stomp­ing ground of Mur­ray­field.

De­scrib­ing the New­cas­tle match as “a cleaver game”, Cot­ter praised his play­ers, but de­manded a sim­i­lar ef­fort on Scot­tish shores.

“I’m happy with the re­ac­tion of the play­ers. They have pre­pared well for this [Fal­cons] match, they have been se­ri­ous, and the five points are a fair re­ward for all this in­vest­ment.

“Now, there is a quar­ter-fi­nal to play for in Ed­in­burgh. It’s a good thing for our team. But Mur­ray­field is an­other ap­point­ment. Even if we were good in the rucks against New­cas­tle, it will be nec­es­sary to raise the tone be­cause Ed­in­burgh is re­ally strong in this field.”

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