EDINBURGH may not have enjoyed the happy homecoming they had hoped for at their new ground. But there were some reasons to be cheerful, nonetheless, despite the four-tries-to-one defeat by a Newcastle side that looked sharper throughout this encounter.

Perhaps most importantly, this first match under Mike Blair offered glimpses of the more adventurous and entertaining style espoused by the new head coach. True, some of the attacks lacked an incisive edge, but that will surely come as match fitness grows. 

“It’s a piece of rugby history and a watershed moment that our supporters, players and anyone connected to the club has waited on for a very long time,” Blair said. “I may only have been back involved at the club for a short period, but the excitement and buzz around our new home has been hugely apparent from my first day in charge.

“You go into a game with a plan of what you’re trying to get out, and I think we got that. But at the same time we’re disappointed because we didn’t get the win. Newcastle are probably a week ahead of us in terms of their preparation - they played last week and their league starts next weekend. They had a really strong team out there for the first 50 minutes.

“We had a lot of young guys out there in the second half, guys playing their first game. I’m really pleased with the effort and the enthusiasm. There were enough positives there to keep a smile on the face.


“There were little things in the game that can go a little bit better, but I’m pleased we’ve got that attitude of trying to find solutions to issues that aren’t just standard solutions.”

Edinburgh should have scored in the opening exchanges, but, after opting to tap a penalty in front of the posts, they were turned over a couple of metres shy of the Falcons line. Then, offered a similar opportunity minutes later, they chose to go for goal, and Jaco van der Walt opened the home account from just outside the 22.

Blair’s team suffered a sucker blow midway through the half when Newcastle scrum-half Louis Schreuder intercepted a Jaco van der Walt pass on his own 10m line and just managed to evade Mark Bennett on the way to touching down in the left corner. Brett Connon added the conversion.

Edinburgh regained the lead when the lively Damien Hoyland scooped a pass off the deck to Bennett, who broke clear and touched down between the posts. Van der Walt converted, but the stand-off then had to go off with a jaw injury - though Blair later suggested it was not giving cause for concern. 

Newcastle hit back five minutes before the break when hooker George McGuigan finished off a powerful driving maul from a lineout, and although the conversion was missed, that was enough to keep the visitors in front at half-time. 


The Falcons stretched their advantage when substitute Ollie Lindsay-Hague finished off a slick backs move in the right corner. Connon was on target this time, making it 10-19. Then with barely two minutes left the visitors made their win more emphatic with another breakaway try, finished off by Cameron Nordli-Kelemeti. Tom Marshall’s conversion completed the scoring.

Edinburgh: H Immelman; J Blain, M Bennett, C Hutchison, D Hoyland; J van der Walt, B Vellacott; B Venter, D Cherry (captain), L de Bruin, M Sykes, J Hodgson, M Bradbury, L Crosbie, N Haining. Substitutes: P Schoeman, H Lloyd, A McBurney, P Harrison, L Atalifo, A Williams, P Phillips, J Campbell, B Muncaster, C Boyle, C Shiel, H Pyrgos, C Savala, R Moyano, J Venter, J Johnstone, P Anderson.

Newcastle: M Brown; T Penny, B Stevenson, P Lucock (captain), I Stephens; B Connon, L Schreuder; L Mulipola, G McGuigan, T Davison, S Robinson, G Peterson, P van der Walt, C Collett, C Fearns. Substitutes: J Blamire, K Cooper, M Tampin, M Fuser, M Dalton, W Haydon-Wood, L Johnson, G Wacokecoke, R Palframan, G Merrick, W Montgomery, M Tiffen, T Marshall, C Nordli-Kelemeti, O Lindsay-Hague, A Tait, E Greenlaw, Z Kerr.  

Edinburgh: Try: Bennett. Con: Van der Walt. Pen: Van der Walt.
Newcastle: Tries: Schreuder, McGuigan, Lindsay-Hague, Nordli-Kelemeti. Cons: Connon 2, Marshall.

Referee: B Bain (SRU).

Attendance: 6,512.