IT could have been much worse. When Stormers stand-off Tim Swiel lined-up an injury-time drop-goal which would have secured a dramatic late win for his team, it looked like history was about to repeat itself. However, unlike last weekend when Edinburgh lost that way to Benetton, on this occasion the shot at goal sailed harmlessly to the right of the posts. 

Two league points from a draw wasn’t a disastrous outcome for the capital outfit. However, having raced into a 14-0 lead at home to a team which had lost its first two matches in this United Rugby Championship campaign, there is no escaping the reality that this was a chance missed to claim a crucial win. 

One or two slip-ups at home are survivable, but Edinburgh can’t afford to make a habit of this sort of profligacy if they are serious about being contenders in this league. 

“I’m not as frustrating as last week but there were elements of frustration in there,” said Bair. “We did some brilliant stuff in the first half but this Stormers defence is an excellent defence. 

“It takes times to break them down and I thought we did that really effectively in the first half. 

“The second half, I don’t know if both teams got nervy or the defences got on top, but each team seemed to shut up shop a little bit.  

“Stormers tried to use the wind to their advantage ,and we did not want to give them any of that loose transition ball. It wasn’t much of a second half but the first half was good fun.  

Edinburgh’s early lead came courtesy of tries from winger Darcy Graham and scrum-half Ben Vellacott, after stand-off Jaco van der Walt showed vision and mesmerising sleight of hand to open up Stormers’ defence.

Van der Walt also added the conversions, but the hosts couldn’t sustain that early pace, and Stormers got a foothold when Scarra Ntubeni sent Warrick Gelant under the posts. Swiel converted, then added a penalty after Edinburgh were punished for swimming up the side a line-out drive. 

A van der Walt penalty briefly opened the gap back up to seven points but Stormers soon squared it when Evan Roos strolled through a yawning gap in midfield and sent Paul de Wet under the posts. 

Some amateur dramatics from home centre James Lang – who earned his team a penalty by going down like a sack of potatoes after colliding with a Stormers players as he chased the restart – gave van der Walt a straight-forward shot at goal, which nudged Edinburgh back in front. 

But the hosts had lost the urgency they had used so effectively to catch the Stormers on their heels at the start of the game, and when they conceded an offside penalty, Swiel stepped forward to tie the scores once again just before the break. 

Unfortunately for the 5,895 crowd who had been well-entertained during that action-packed first half, the second 40 minutes turned into an arm-wrestle, dominated by tactical kicking and a clear reluctance by both teams to throw any sort of caution to the wind.  

There wasn’t any clear-cut scoring opportunities until the hour mark, when a scrum penalty just inside the Stormers half gave van der Walt a long-range shot at goal, but his effort didn’t have the legs and the deadlock remained. 

A few minutes later, Edinburgh sent a far more kickable penalty towards the touchline, only for the line-out to malfunction. 

Then it was the Stormers’ turn to pass up an opportunity to take the initiative, with Swiel pushing his shot at goal to the right of the posts after Dave Cherry was penalised for going off is feet as he contested for the ball at a ruck. 

There was late drama when Swiel attempted that drop-goal, but it wasn’t to be for the visitors, and a draw was probably a fair result. 

“What we need to try and do is maintain that [early control] throughout the game,” concluded Blair. “And we need to find ways of getting players like Darcy Graham, Damien Hoyland when he came on and  Ramrio Moyano on the ball. They are our strike runners and they are the guys who are going to cause defences issues.”   

Next up is the Bulls next Saturday evening. Having now lost one and drawn one since their opening weekend win over Scarlets, a win would be very helpful for Edinburgh. It might even be vital. 

Edinburgh: H Immelman; D Graham, J Lang, C Hutchison (J Johnstone 55), R Moyano (D Hoyland. 62); J van der Walt, B Vellacott; P Schoeman (B Venter 70), D Cherry, L De Bruin (W Nel 57), M Sykes (J Hodgson 71), G Gilchrist, J Ritchie, L Crosbie (M Bradbury 57), V Mata. 

Stormers: W Gelant; S Peterson, J de Jongh, R Pretorius (D du Plessis 65), E van der Merwe; T Swiel, P de Wet (G Masimla, 71); B Harris, S Ntubeni (J Kotze 79), N Fouche ( S Sandi 62), E van Rhyn, S Moerat, N Xaba (M Theunissen 48), W Engelbrecht (J Basson 76), E Roos. 

Scorers – Edinburgh: Tries: Graham, Vellacott; Cons: Van der Walt 2; Pen: Jaco can der Walt 2. 

Stormers: Tries: Gelant, De Wet; Con: Swiel 2; Pen: Swiel 2. 

Scoring sequence (Edinburgh first): 5-0; 7-0; 12-0; 14-0; 14-5; 14-7; 14-10; 17-10; 17-15; 17-17; 20-17; 20-20 (h-t) 

Crowd: 5,895