Luke Crosbie unfazed by Stormers test and keen to keep winning after derby lift
Luke Crosbie’s impersonation of a jack-in-the-box early in the second half of Saturday night’s 1872 Cup clash at Murrayfield was a decisive and defining moment in the game, placing Edinburgh firmly in front of Magnus Bradbury. try a few minutes later.
It characterized the mindset of the capital club, who were powerful, aggressive and relentless in that second half to fight their way to a well-deserved 28-11 win. Three times the flanker was knocked down as he thundered down the left wing, taking play midway through Edinburgh’s 22, and he continued to get back to his feet with no noticeable slowing in momentum . Six warriors were chewed up and spat out before the Edinburgh man was finally arrested.
“I don’t know what happened,” laughed Crosbie afterward. “I kind of ran, I touched the bridge, I didn’t feel anyone above me, so I got up. Then the same thing kept happening. It was like doing this fitness stuff we do, lows and highs through the field. By the time the ball went I could barely breathe. It was a good carry.
“I like carrying the ball,” he added. “All I want to do as a backline is tackle and carry, that’s my job. I want to get the ball with the front foot for the team, and I also want to put my body on the line and try to get the ball back if the other team has it.
“I think it’s important if you want to be a good team in these big games that every player needs to know their responsibility and be a cog in the system by being good at whatever job they’re doing. I think the reason we can lead on this is players like Gilco [Grant Gilchrist] reading the line-ups and everyone controlling their zone when it comes to big pressure moments.
Crosbie was part of a ferocious effort at the back on Saturday, alongside Hamish Watson, who was a British and Irish Lion last summer and a long-established top performer, and No.8 Magnus Bradbury, who was named man of the -match.
Bradbury’s physical attributes have never been in doubt, but he has struggled over the years to find the consistency needed to establish himself as a frontline player for club and country. However, he’s had a barn ending this season, and it seems his impending move to Bristol Bears this summer has already had an invigorating effect on the big man.
“I will definitely miss him,” Crosbie said. “Maggy was classy, he’s an Edinburgh legend coming through. I love playing with him because he’s also physical, and I know that if I stand next to him and we make a double hit, it’ll be a decent hit and it’ll probably knock the air out of their lungs.
“All the boys love him. I can’t speak highly enough of him. When I came to Edinburgh he was great at helping young boys and he still does that today. He’s a big club man here and I am sure he will do very well at Bristol.
Before it’s time for a fond farewell, there’s the small matter of Edinburgh’s United Rugby Championship play-off quarter-final clash against DHL Stormers in Cape Town to go out of the way in two weekends. ends. That’s a big ask against a team that’s won its last eight games on the rebound.
“It’s a physical team, but we can put in a performance on the field that can get the result we want,” Crosbie insisted. “We have already shown it. I’m sure we’ll enjoy tonight and then we have a week of training next week to prepare for the quarter-final.
“It was important to get this win tonight after two tough losses. We work hard to get the performances we know we are capable of. It’s frustrating when you get beaten and you know as a collective that we’re good enough to get a good result, so we’re going to build on that confidence and try to take advantage of that.
On a personal level, it has been a generally positive season for Crosbie, who initially maintained the form that saw him named the club’s player of the season in 2020-21 to earn his maiden Scottish cap against Tonga in October. However, it was frustrating to miss the chance to compete for more international playing time during the Six Nations window due to a leg injury.
“It’s sport and you’re always going to get hurt,” he explained. “You can’t let yourself down. I just work hard, stay in the moment and come to the games [as a spectator]. It was great to have opportunities to play for Edinburgh [in recent weeks]and winning such a big game was great for me and for the team.
He is of course aware that Scotland will play three Test matches in Argentina this summer, but insists he hasn’t thought about his participation.
“I’m just enjoying this moment,” he said. “I worked hard all week and prepared well. I did all my work in training and outside of training to get a good result, so I just want to enjoy it. No matter what, I just control what I can control. The rest takes care of itself.