Guinness PRO12: Alan Solomons frustrated by Edinburgh errors
Gunners head coach saw outside-half Tom Heathcote miss six efforts at goal in 20-17 defeat as Scots kick away chance of victory
Alan Solomons was left to rue missed opportunities as he watched his Edinburgh side fail to take their chances in a 20-17 defeat to Ulster.
An early in the corner from Phil Burleigh had given the Gunners the lead, but outside-half Tom Heathcote missed the conversion and a further five kicks on goal as he finished the Guinness PRO12 match with a 40 per cent kicking success off the tee.
I think there were 12 easy points we just left. We missed six kicks, but four of them should have gone.
South African scrum-half Ruan Pienaar steered Ulster to victory with an early try and 10 points off the tee, which included conversions for his own try and Darren Cave’s second-half score.
Edinburgh’s misery was compounded at the death as poorly-thrown lineouts deep in Ulster’s 22 thwarted their efforts to get over the tryline against a side reduced to 13 men before they dropped the ball on the line to allow Ulster to clear.
And Solomons, a former Ulster head coach, insists that his side created enough chances to win in the second half.
“Our execution wasn’t accurate, both in terms of the kicking and putting our ball into the lineout correctly,” Solomons said.
“Our kicking out of hand wasn’t good enough and our kicking off the floor for goal wasn’t.
“I think there were 12 easy points we just left. We missed six kicks, but four of them should have gone.
“At the end, key errors cost us, so it’s very, very disappointing. That’s a game we should have won.”
With the Irish side struggling to maintain their discipline, Edinburgh were afforded plenty of opportunities to get the win, but their defeat was very much of their own making.
We created three opportunities and we buggered them up.
Their task should have been made easier when centre Stuart McCloskey was red carded for a tip tackle on flanker Hamish Watson and lock Franco van der Merwe was sin-binned in the closing stages.
“I think it was very, very frustrating,” Solomons added.
“Right at the end – I need to look at the video – I think we lost the ball right on the line, so it was really disappointing.
“The two lineouts that we had, they were clear chances. They didn’t contest the lineout.
“They stood off the second lineout, but we had three lineouts on their line.
“The chances of scoring from that are high if we just didn’t mess it up.
“We created three opportunities and we buggered them up.”
Solomons also had to contend with being limited with his player availability, despite the return of Scotland wingers Dougie Fife and Tim Visser, as lock Ben Toolis was withdrawn at half-time ahead of Scotland’s match with Italy at BT Murrayfield next weekend.
The head coach admitted that the giant second row was only going to play 40 minutes, suggesting he could be in contention for at least a place on the bench against the Azzurri with Richie Gray out injured.
“The national team have a lot of injuries at lock,” Solomons said.
“While Ben needs game time, Scotland have got an international coming up, so 40 minutes was his time.
“One has got to act in the interests of the national side. [Grant Gilchrist] is out, Richie Gray is out, and I believe Jim Hamilton is also struggling, so things are pretty tight.”