Edinburgh-Ulster: Blowing in the Wind

Rory BaldwinCorrespondent IJanuary 18, 2010

BATH, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 13:  Edinburgh flyhalf Phil Godman in action during the Heineken Cup Pool 4 match between Bath and Edinburgh at the Recreation Ground on December 13, 2009 in Cardiff, Wales.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Stu Forster/Getty Images

Ulster 21-13 Edinburgh

Edinburgh failed to deal with the conditions and a determined Ulster pack in a first half when they had the wind, leaving them unable to take the win they could probably have claimed with a solid performance going into the wind in the second half.

David Young had settled down in defence from his earlier over-exuberant Edinburgh appearances, but still found his way into the sin-bin early on.

Ulster couldn’t really kick the penalties, such was the wind (Humphries did attempt one ridiculous banana job that came close), but they excelled in holding on to the ball and depriving Edinburgh of possession.

Mossy kicked the few chances they got—for kicking at goal the wind was no real help either—and they went in at halftime with a lead. When they finally got possession in the second half, they proved particularly adept at holding on to it for more than 20 phases without ever really moving forward, despite crash ball runners like Ford and Hamilton.

Perhaps aware of his troubles on the pitch and the resultant slaggings off it, Phil Godman was particularly targeted by Ulster with a few big hits and the backline mostly failed to get the ball wide to Visser and Thomson.

When they eventually did, a try came for Thomson very similar to last week’s one, but Ulster finished the game as they had started, controlling possession and watching Edinburgh huff and puff but go nowhere.

It may be a lack of depth at Edinburgh, but some of the willy-nilly sub-hurling from about 50 minutes onwards is worryingly Hadden-esque; some of the replacements were not quite up to standard and putting them on the park just because you can (especially when removing the likes of Laidlaw) seemed like a backwards step, especially when the result is still within reach.

As with the 1872 Cup games, this Heineken Cup campaign has proved to be largely a triumph of content over style. Glasgow and Ulster have the content, and Edinburgh can’t seem to get their style going.

Scotland 6N squad announcement expected on Wednesday!