Socino: We Had An Opportunity

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As I had explained in my last column, after our quarterfinals loss against Munster in the European Cup, we did not have sufficient time to analyze what had happened, as we were soon facing the game against Ulster.

Ulster was a direct opponent in our chances to advance to the playoffs in the Guinness PRO14.


The latest column from Edinburgh's Juan Pablo Socino


We had a great opportunity; having lost by one point away at the start of the tournament, this time we would play against them at home, a venue where we lost very few games this season.

It was a good buildup, with the whole squad understanding the importance of the game, with everyone pulling their weight from whichever role they had. It is never easy for those who aren’t involved in the game but it was to be a demonstration of character.

Not In The Game

From the kickoff and for the opening forty minutes, we were not in the game, unable to execute our plan, getting rid of the ball too quickly, giving away too many penalties and never finding our feet in defense, which had been one of our best aspects throughout the season.

It seemed to be one of those days in which nothing works. We went to the break with a sense of dejection, in the most important game of the season, with the team unable to turn around the situation and with the playoffs slipping through our hands.

On the other hand, Treviso was shocking Munster with a win. This forced us to play the second half with a new attitude, and whilst we changed in our intentions, the way the game went didn’t, with more lack of precision and defensive lapses.

Ulster took advantage of the situations we offered without taking risks, whilst our desperation meant we failed to show our best performance.

We Need Help

So, the chances of a playoff spot are no longer in our hands, as we head into the big derby against Glasgow.

The Guinness PRO14 system qualifies the top side in each Conference directly to semifinals. Leinster, in our Conference B, leads 16 points clear of Ulster. In the other Conference, Glasgow, unfortunately, needs to win to secure direct passage, which makes them even more dangerous.

The second and third in each Conference play what would be like a quarter-final, the winners moving on to the semis.

We finished the week with 51 points, one less than Benetton that has a game against Zebre, the team that has won the least this season.

When we take the field, we will know what happened with Benetton, who kick-off five hours before us.

This will generate a certain psychological impact, positive or negative depending on the news from Italy.

I mentioned a derby and that means it is a different kind of game, in which current standings and standard is not an indication of what might happen. We are two cities that play for pride. There is more than points at stake.

There is one other chance of getting into the European Cup next year, but before that, we have an Easter break and then, yes, the crucial week against Glasgow.

We have the will, but it no longer depends on us.


Como había contado en la columna anterior, luego de la derrota contra Munster por los cuartos de final de la Copa Europa, no habíamos tenido mucho tiempo para analizar lo sucedido, ya que se nos venía encima el partido contra Ulster. Un rival directo en nuestras aspiraciones a clasificar para los playoffs del Pro14.

Mejores condiciones no podíamos tener. Habiendo perdido por un punto en el partido de ida a comienzos del torneo, esta vez nos tocaba recibirlos de local, lugar donde muy pocas veces nos habíamos tocado perder este año. 


El Proximo Columna de Juan Pablo Socino


Habíamos trabajado muy bien en la semana, el grupo entero entendió la importancia del partido y cada uno sumó todo lo que pudo desde el lugar que le tocó. No siempre es fácil, sobre todo para los que no les toca entrar a la cancha, pero esto iba a ser una demostración de carácter.

La Actitud

El inicio del partido, más bien los primeros 40 minutos, no pudieron estar más alejados de todo lo que habíamos planeado. Nunca logramos hacer pie, nos deshicimos de la pelota demasiado rápido, cometimos demasiadas infracciones y nunca conseguimos consolidar nuestra defensa que había sido una bandera de este equipo durante todo el torneo.

Estando así las cosas, se nos hizo muy difícil poder jugar e imponer nuestro plan de juego.

Parecía ser uno de esos días donde nada podía salir bien.

Nos fuimos al entretiempo con una sensación de decepción, en el partido más importante del año, el equipo no podía sacar adelante la situación y los play offs se nos escapaban de la manos.

Por otro lado Treviso estaba dando la sorpresa, venciendo a Munster de local. Teníamos que salir al segundo tiempo a matar o morir, a cambiar la imagen que habíamos dejado en el primer tiempo.

La actitud del equipo cambió, pero lamentablemente el desarrollo del partido no. Seguimos con imprecisiones y fallas en defensa.

Attencion A Glasgow

Ulster siguió aprovechando las situaciones que se les presentaban, sin arriesgar demasiado. La desesperación y las ganas de cambiar las cosas no lograron reflejar nuestra mejor imagen.

Ya no dependemos de nosotros y las chances de pasar a los play-offs son casi nulas, pero se viene un clásico contra Glasgow.

El sistema del Guinness PRO14 clasifica directamente a los dos primeros de cada Conferencia a las semifinales. Leinster, en nuestra Conferencia B, le sacó 16 puntos a Ulster. En la otra Conferencia, Glasgow, lamentablemente, está primero, pero tiene que ganar para asegurarse el pasaje directo, lo que los hace aún más peligroso.

El segundo y tercero de cada Conferencia juegan una especie de cuarto de final para, los ganadores, pasar a semifinales.

Nosotros terminamos la fecha pasada con 51 puntos, uno menos que Benetton que tiene un partido contra Zebre, el equipo que menos veces ganó en la temporada.

Saldremos a jugar sabiendo que pasó con Benetton, que juega cinco horas antes que nosotros.

Eso generará seguramente en el equipo un impacto sicológico positivo o negativo según el resultado que llegue desde Italia.

Hablaba de clásico y eso significa que es un partido diferente, en el que la actualidad de los equipos no siempre importa. Son dos ciudades que se enfrentan por esa gloria personal. Hay más en juego que los puntos.

Esperamos terminar la etapa regular del torneo con una victoria ante nuestro clásico rival Glasgow.

Queda una última chance de meternos en la Copa Europa del próximo año, pero primero habrá que pasar las Pascuas y luego sí, el fin de semana definitorio en Glasgow.

Ganas hay pero no depende íntegramente de nosotros.

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