Edinburgh Rugby debriefing: Bigger crowd than Hibs, Freddie Owsley is worth the wait and Marseille in May sounds appealing

Stuart McInally celebrates with Freddie Owsley in Edinburgh’s 66-3 Challenge Cup win over CA Brive. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)

Edinburgh have now played half a dozen competitive matches at the DAM Health Stadium and remain unbeaten at their new home. The Stormers came closest to breaking the fortress when they left with a 20-20 draw in October, but that was the only time the home side failed to win a meaningful game on the ground this season.

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There was little sign of Brive doing damage Friday night. The French side, currently second bottom of the Top 14, have more pressing matters at home to worry about and you suspect the Challenge Cup is not at the top of their list of priorities. Nevertheless, this was a relentless performance on the part of Mike Blair, who triumphed in the 66-3 Pool C in ten tries for their biggest win of the season.

Freddie Owsley scored two tries and was named Player of the Match on his Edinburgh debut. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)

The other encouraging news was that the match was watched by a record crowd on the new ground.

Interestingly, the 6165 at DAM Health Stadium was 316 more than the previous night at Easter Road for Hibs’ Scottish Cup fourth round tie with Cove Rangers.

Freddie Owsley was worth the wait

Freddie Owsley has had to be patient for his chance at Edinburgh. He joined the Bristol Bears club in the summer but only made his debut on Friday night during the decommissioning of Brive. It was worth the wait. The winger scored two tries and showed flashes of the pace with which he was crowned national champion in the 400m under 20.

Edinburgh had their biggest crowd yet at the DAM Health Stadium. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

The 25-year-old was a worthy winner of the Player of the Match award and deserves credit for his perseverance. Owsley pursued a sprint career for years before returning to rugby and enjoying his chance at Edinburgh.

Marseille in May sounds attractive

It’s a bit premature to book flights to Marseille, but Edinburgh has the potential to go deep into the Challenge Cup this season. The 66-3 win over Brive almost secures them a place in the single-leg last 16 and if they can finish among the top eight-ranked Challenge Cup teams of the three groups of five, they’ll be tied at home. If they finish in the top four, they are also guaranteed a home game in the quarter-finals, should they advance.

Given their form at the DAM Health Stadium, that’s a huge boost for Edinburgh, who have already reached the final of this competition before, in the 2014-15 season when they lost to Greig Laidlaw’s Gloucester at the Stoop.

This year’s final is on Friday, May 27 at the iconic Stade Vélodrome in Marseille.

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