Edinburgh record fourth win whilst Glasgow fall short in Wales | Review
We bring you the key information from Edinburgh and Glasgow's performances in Round 5 of the Celtic Challenge and look ahead to the play-offs.
Edinburgh Rugby 35 – 21 Clovers
Edinburgh stormed to the Celtic Challenge top three play offs, claiming a bonus point win against the Clovers after a rampant second half performance at Hive Stadium.
Inspired by Emma Orr’s attacking prowess, the home side made a thrilling comeback from 21-5 down to charge into a 35-21 win, scoring 30 unanswered points, in front of 1,012 home fans.
Whilst in the first-half, Edinburgh were reduced to 14 players after Nicole Flynn was shown a yellow card, Edinburgh were able to rally in her return and make up for the two tries conceded during her absence.
Across the game, Molly Poolman, Emma Orr, Mille Whitehouse and Lisa Thomson all crossed the whitewash for Edinburgh. Nicole Marlow and briar McNamara added a penalty each to the board.
Reflecting on the performance, Edinburgh head coach, Claire Cruikshank said: “We are delighted. We knew what we had to do to make sure of a top three spot and to go out there in the second half and play like that was really pleasing.
“There was no panic at half-time when we were behind because we’d been playing against the wind and 14 of their points came when we were a player down.
“We knew if we imposed our game on them in the second half then we would create chances and I thought it was just an all-round good team performance.
“I still feel we are growing and getting better as a group which leaves us in a good spot ahead of the second phase of the competition.”
Brython Thunder 22 – 12 Glasgow Warriors
Glasgow Warriors pushed their opponents all the way in Colwyn Bay, before ultimately being edged out 22-12 by Brython Thunder in round five of the Celtic Challenge.
While comfortably on top for large parts of the match, Chris Laidlaw’s squad were ultimately unable to come back from an early 17-0 deficit, despite standout performances across the field from those in black.
A sensational brace from Roma Fraser was not enough to edge out the home side, as the Warriors gave everything in pursuit of a first victory.
For Fraser and her team-mates, the result was a tough one to take, yet the winger also believes that it was a display after which the Warriors can hold their heads high.
“It’s a difficult loss to take, because we firmly believed we could have won that match,” said Fraser.
“I’m unbelievably proud of the effort of this group, though. We knew it would be a tough test as the Thunder are a physical team, but we stuck to our game plan and almost came up with the result.
“Every single one of the squad gave 100% and I’m really proud of that.”
Fraser herself was in the thick of the action, scoring two sensational solo tries to bring her side within striking distance of their Welsh hosts in Colwyn Bay.
Having scored the first from inside her own half with elusive footwork and lightning-quick acceleration, the second showcased her eye for a gap and determination to find the whitewash.
The winger was typically modest following the match, preferring instead to highlight the efforts of her team-mates in the build-up to the scores.
“Both were great play by the full team to get the ball wide, really,” she said.
“When I got the ball, it was just down to me to find the space and make the most of it really!”
The Celtic Challenge now splits for the final rounds of fixtures, with the competition now taking the form of two round-robin pools of three.
The undefeated Wolfhounds sit atop the table, with Edinburgh secured the second seed following a win against Clovers who remain in third.
Gwalia Lightning, Brython Thunder, and Glasgow Warriors occupy the bottom half of the table as they go head-to-head in the play-offs.
Glasgow’s first fixture will be their final home fixture of the tournament, as Laidlaw’s squad welcome the Thunder to Scotstoun on Saturday 17 February for an immediate rematch with their Welsh opponents.
Their second match will take place on Saturday 24 February at Kingspan Stadium, against Gwalia Lightning.
Edinburgh Rugby will host their final home fixtures on Saturday 17 February, hosting top of the league, Wolfhounds. Their final match of the competition will be played on Sunday 3 March at Parc Y Scarlets against the Clovers.