Benetton Treviso 8-29 Edinburgh: Visitors close gap

Sam Hidaglo-Clyne gets his pass away in last night's win in Italy. Picture: Marco Sartori

Sam Hidaglo-Clyne gets his pass away in last night's win in Italy. Picture: Marco Sartori

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WITH Connacht losing this weekend Edinburgh had a golden opportunity to make up some of the ground standing between them and that precious sixth place in the league, and they didn’t disappoint.

The capital club earned a bonus-point victory to narrow the deficit but Edinburgh went to sleep in the middle of this match. They scored two tries at the tail end of the first quarter then sat back and did next to nothing for the next 40 minutes, waiting until the final quarter to put this game to bed.

There is something a little too structured and predictable about the way Alan Solomons’ side play and Treviso were probably the more enterprising of the two teams. Both teams were equally guilty of kicking for the sake of kicking, long and clueless, the only aim being to play the game in the opposition half.

Edinburgh still scored four tries in all, including two in as many minutes in the middle of the first half that must have demoralised the home side and gone some way towards winning this game. In addition Sam Hidalgo-Clyne added nine points with the boot, with three conversions and one first-half penalty. All the hosts could manage in reply was one try and one penalty from the boot of full-back Jayden Hayward.

Hamish Watson opened the scoring after a Dougie Fife chip and chase won the visitors an attacking lineout and the flanker was the last man up as the forwards rumbled the ball over the line.

Two minutes later Treviso were attempting an exit but stand-off James Ambrosini’s clearance kick was charged down by Ben Toolis and fell nicely for Matt Scott. The centre had an impressive game, looking for space rather than bodies. He scored a brace of tries and is slowly getting back to his best.

He wasn’t the only one to impress. David Denton probably did enough of the heavy lifting to book a seat on the bus to Twickenham before limping off the field after 60 minutes. Greig Tonks was quietly effective at stand-off and Toolis continues to catch the eye. On his first start at hooker, Stuart McInally had a mixed evening, excellent in the loose, as you would expect, a little less sure at the sidelines.

Vern Cotter may be looking for a replacement winger after Sean Lamont was carted off the Scotstoun pitch on Friday evening. Both Tim Visser and Fife had their moments without either man being too busy. The Dutchman showed a nice touch with a pass out the back of his hand to his fellow winger but was at fault for the hosts’ only try late on.

Treviso had the better of the third quarter, battering away at the Edinburgh defence which held firm. But when Edinburgh initially lifted the siege they failed to create much of a threat, looking a little leaden-footed in attack.

Eventually Watson made the initial break and a few passes stuck. Scott was involved twice, carrying hard and then giving the scoring pass for Andries Strauss to dive over in the right-hand corner. There had been exactly 40 minutes between Edinburgh’s second and third tries.

Edinburgh had 20 minutes to secure the bonus-point try and Scott scored it with seven to spare following a mazy solo run from midfield, but only after Treviso had grabbed a try for themselves.

Visser was stripped of the ball in a tackle by his opposite number Simone Ragusi, who showed everyone a clean pair of heels to the Edinburgh line 30 yards away.

• Glasgow Warriors remain top of the Guinness Pro12 after second-placed Munster lost 26-12 away to Ospreys. Elsewhere, Scarlets beat Leinster 23-13 at Parc y Scarlets.

Scorers: Treviso: Try: Ragusi. Pen: Hayward. Edinburgh: Tries: Watson, Scott 2, Strauss. Cons: Hidalgo-Clyne 3. Pens: Hidalgo-Clyne.

Treviso: Hayward; Ragusi, Pratichetti, Christie, Nitoglia; Ambrosini (Carlisle 40), Lucchese (Seninoli 65); Zanusso, Giazzon (Anae 63), Manu, Pavanello, Fuser, Barbini, Budd, Luamanu.

Edinburgh: Cuthbert (McLennan 74); Fife, Scott, Strauss, Visser; Tonks, Hidalgo-Clyne (Powells 74); Sutherland, McInally (Cochrane 60), Nel, Bresler, Toolis, Coman, Watson, Denton (Grant 62).

Referee: Nigel Owens (WRU).

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