Danny Wilson Admits Blues Blew It On Opening Night As Richard Cockerill Rubs It In

Danny Wilson admitted his Cardiff Blues team got what they deserved after their opening Guinness Pro14 fixture ended in defeat.

The Blues’ optimism from encouraging pre-season results was put sharply into context by Edinburgh who won comfortably, 20-10 at the Arms Park.

There was even a dismissive slap in the face from the Scots’ new head coach Richard Cockerill, who claimed afterwards his squad had worked much harder in pre-season training than anything they were made to suffer from a limited Blues side.

Wilson said: “They deserved to win. It was frustrating and it wasn’t a good night.

“We struggled with their kicking game in the first half and then our contact area game generally was poor, which meant we couldn’t play the style or pace of rugby we wanted to play.”

The Blues lacked penetration and invention and their general skills level was low against opponents who were determined more than inspired.

It will concern their fans as the Blues’ next four Pro14 fixtures include three away trips to Irish provinces and a home clash against title favourites Glasgow Warriors.

The game was secured for Edinburgh thanks a superb kicking display from Duncan Weir and tries from Blair Kinghorn and Chris Dean.

Edinburgh were ruthless in attack, particularly after the break, and were well worth their hard-fought win.

The clash marked Cockerill’s first competitive match at the Edinburgh helm after he joined over the summer from Toulon and his arrival seems to have instilled a new-look steel in his side’s defending.

These two teams met in the opening round of last season at the same ground and on that occasion, Cardiff Blues won 34-16 – but it looked very different indeed in the early stages 12 months on as the visitors dominated.

The Blues started like an express train and created the game’s first opportunity early on. A penalty saw Jarrod Evans kick for touch but Edinburgh defended the five-metre lineout well under pressure.

Edinburgh grew into the game as the half wore on and it was the visitors who raced into an 11th-minute lead, Kinghorn finishing expertly in the corner after he beat multiple defenders to touch down.

The ever-reliable Weir added the extras off the tee as Cockerill’s men carved out a seven-point advantage.

And Weir extended Edinburgh’s lead just before the half hour mark as he nailed a penalty to put Cockerill’s men 10-0 ahead.

An unforced error from Edinburgh after 37 minutes handed the Blues an unexpected lifeline back into the fixture.

An attempted clearance was foiled on the Edinburgh line, Cardiff recycled the ball, and Josh Navidi touched down, with Evans adding the conversion to leave the score at 10-7.

Cockerill did not look a happy man at the break after seeing his side dominate the opening 40 minutes but still only come in three points to the good.

After playing second fiddle at the scrum in the first half, Cardiff looked a different side altogether after the break and started to dominate the set-piece.

The home team were rewarded for a dominant scrum on 48 minutes and Evans made no mistake to bring the scores level.

Edinburgh edged ahead in the game just a few minutes later as Weir continued his fine kicking off the tee to put the visitors 13-10 ahead.

And the away side got their noses further in front on 58 minutes as Dean stretched to score a 56th-minute try, with Weir adding the conversion to give Cockerill’s men a ten-point lead.

Rather than sitting back on their lead, Edinburgh continued to boss territory and possession and were unfortunate not to add a third score in the final ten minutes.


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