Round 11 of the URC saw us back at home to face the Ospreys.

It’s always good to get back to the Hive, the buzz (excuse the pun) around the stadium before the match, the banter with your friends, the players walkway surrounded by everyone wanting to catch a moment with their favourites. There was an extra hype this week as the club were honouring our service heroes, members of the fire service, police and ambulance service were there amongst others from the NHS, social carers and the military. It was also nice to see Stuart McInally along to support the team as he came over to meet up with me to sign some shorts he had contributed for a competition we had run. He stopped to talk for a few minutes before being inevitably whisked away to talk to someone else.

As I headed to my seat in the Lothian Stand the heavens opened and the rain poured, it was a freezing cold evening so I was shivering by the time I sat down. Time for some rugby to warm me up.

Mark Bennett ran out ahead of the Edinburgh team to commemorate his 100th match. The fans have a great deal of love for Benzo and he’s repaid us many times over with some great performances so it was a lovely chance to cheer and applaud and show him our thanks.

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The Ospreys were coming in to this match on the back of a five match winning streak including defeating Ulster last round, they are a mostly young team with a smattering of experienced players like Justin Tipuric and seem to be gelling quite well this year.

The first half felt like a fairly confident display from the team although at scrum time the Ospreys had the upper hand, at least to start with. A lot of handling errors on both sides made it scrappy but following an Ospreys penalty we went on to lead 16-3 at half time. A try from Hamish Watson and 3 penalties taken confidently by Ben Healy gave us a good lead. The try was nicely worked coming through Bill Mata to Matt Currie then nicely finished by Hamish Watson.

Second half was not so pretty and I will admit to starting to fear a Benetton situation brewing. The Ospreys came back with tries from Sam Parry and Morgan Morris with only one penalty from Edinburgh in answer. As the last minute or two ticked by the Ospreys were on attack so we all breathed a sigh of relief as we got the ball and held on to it as the crowd shouted out those last few seconds. A win 19-15.

There is a saying I keep hearing from Edinburgh fans this year “that’s a match we would have lost last year”. I’ve seen praise and criticism of how our season is going this year and I even saw a comment where someone said “show me where we have made improvement this year” (this was on a half time comment on a match we went on to win). Where we have made improvement is we are winning the kind of matches we would have lost last year. Sean Everitt has only had the reigns for a few months, he’s had to work with the squad we already had in place and didn’t even get a full pre-season with them but yet we are winning matches we would have lost last season. I think that speaks volumes on the man we have in charge. It’s not going to be perfect first season in to a new coach, it probably won’t be second season either but this year we are considering the possibility of a home playoff where last year we didn’t even get close to an away playoff.

Harry Paterson continues to shine both defensively and on attack, his interception of the ball in Keelan Giles attack in the first half was outstanding. Hamish Watson showed his worth again, winning player of the match along with a good few turnovers. Ben Healy kept the scoreboard ticking over for us, there were a number of times he was working to be inventive and find us avenues to win tries but the conditions were horrible and with the best will it didn’t really work.

One player who really stood out for me and was impact off the bench was Javan Sebastian. WP always puts in a solid shift and won a lovely jackal penalty early in the second half but I feel like Javan also brought a confidence to the scrum which allowed us to get a bit more dominance in that area in the second half. I know as fans we have great belief in WP and rightly so but with retirement somewhere on the horizon its good to see a strong tighthead prop coming through.

We now sit in fourth on the table, a home playoff being the reward if we can stay there.

A couple of weeks gap now in the URC, while the small matter of six nations comes to an end, the squad then fly off to SA to face the Stormers and the Sharks. The matches in SA are always a challenge although the Sharks are currently propping up the bottom of the table and the Stormers are sitting in 9th place. Any points we get in South Africa will be a bonus but ideally we need to be believing we can win those matches if we want to stay in the top four and get that home playoff position. Only 4 points separate 4th place and 9th place at the moment so we need to keep that momentum going.

The Celtic Challenge came to an end this weekend with Edinburgh’s final match being against the Clovers at Parc-Y-Scarlets. Last weekend the Wolfhounds secured the trophy and became champions and in doing so Edinburgh were also secured second place on the table regardless of the result this weekend. As we know with our tenacious ladies though that would not stop them putting in a performance to be proud of.

At half time our ladies lead by a single try from Briar McNamara which she ran in from a scrum on their 10 meter line, try as the might no one was stopping her as she stormed across the line. Early in the second half the Clovers hit back with 2 tries converting just one of them taking the score to 12-7 to the Clovers. The second half was evenly matched and it looked like our final match would be a defeat when up stepped Rhona Lloyd in the dying seconds to score the try that took us to a 12-12 draw.

I’ve said many times about how proud I am of our ladies team. I think they have been a fantastic addition to the team this year and I cannot wait to see them grow and develop over the next few years. I look forward to a future where I can get my ladies season ticket and troop down to the Hive even more regularly than I do now.