Challenge Cup: Edinburgh coughed up opportunity, admits Coman

Scots fall 19-13 to Gloucester at the Twickenham Stoop as former captain Greig Laidlaw comes back to haunt Gunners

Edinburgh captain Mike Coman conceded that Edinburgh couldn’t turn it up enough as they lost 19-13 to Gloucester in the European Challenge Cup final.

The Gunners were on the back foot in the first half as Gloucester enjoyed the majority of possession and territory with Scotland scrum-half Greig Laidlaw reminding his former employers of his skills as he and half-back colleague James Hook unlocked the Edinburgh defence at will.

We had our opportunities in the second half, fought hard to get back into the game – we had an opportunity, but we coughed it up.

Mike Coman

Feeling lucky to only be 13-6 down at the break thanks to two try-saving ankle-tap tackles from Cornell du Preez, Alan Solomons’ men fancied their chances in the second half if they could slow Gloucester’s potent backline down and get their set-piece game going.

But that came only after Laidlaw had kicked another two successful penalties to take Gloucester’s lead to 19-6.

A try from hooker Ross Ford, converted by scrum-half Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, brought the score to 19-13 and the Scots had a numerical advantage in the closing stages after Gloucester centre Bill Meakes was red carded, but they failed to make capitalise on their opportunities.

“We’re just highly disappointed,” Coman said.

“We couldn’t hold on to the ball enough in the first half and Gloucester put us under pressure.

“We went in at half-time feeling pretty positive. They came out fast and we weren’t slowing the ball down enough at the breakdown, but we hung in like we have throughout the season and we thought we had a real shot at half-time.

“We had our opportunities in the second half, fought hard to get back into the game – we had an opportunity, but we coughed it up.

“Unfortunately we couldn’t turn it up enough in the second half to get over the line.

“It’s disappointing, but congratulations to Gloucester – they turned it up.”

Edinburgh now turn their attentions back to the Guinness PRO12 and the three-way battle to secure the last automatic place in next season’s European Challenge Cup.

Our first goal is to finish sixth in the league and qualify for the Champions Cup automatically, but if it happens that we play Gloucester in the play-offs that would be nice to get another shot at them.

Mike Coman

Alan Solomons’ men travel to South Wales later this week to face Newport Gwent Dragons at Rodney Parade on Friday with the Welsh region out for revenge after the mauling they suffered at BT Murrayfield in the Challenge Cup semi-final last month before hosting dethroned champions Leinster on the final day of the season.

Should Edinburgh remain in seventh place after the final two rounds of the regular season, they will face a rematch with Gloucester on Saturday 23 May, albeit in match one of the Champions Cup qualification play-off with home advantage determined by the toss of a coin and the winners given a crack at the eighth-place club in France’s Top 14.

And Coman admitted that the players will have to work hard to achieve their aim of finishing inthe top six.

He said: “The sun will come up tomorrow and we’ve got to work hard in the PRO12 for the rest of the season.

“Our first goal is to finish sixth in the league and qualify for the Champions Cup automatically, but if it happens that we play Gloucester in the play-offs that would be nice to get another shot at them.

“We’d be well up for it.”

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