Cardiff 10-20 Edinburgh: Cockerill era off to winning start

John Hardie of Edinburgh is tackled by Josh Navidi of Cardiff Blues during the visitors' 20-10 victory at Cardiff Arms Park. Picture: Getty Images
John Hardie of Edinburgh is tackled by Josh Navidi of Cardiff Blues during the visitors' 20-10 victory at Cardiff Arms Park. Picture: Getty Images
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Edinburgh got the new season off to an impressive win on the road, with full-back Blair Kinghorn the kingmaker as he scored one try and made one to cement the win.

When given space, even just a small amount of it, he was impressively able to wrongfoot the defence just enough to turn that pressure into points on two precious occasions.

As Edinburgh celebrated in a huddle on the pitch after the final whistle, there were plenty of signs things are going to be a little different under new head coach Richard Cockerill.

If their most successful spell came under Englishman Andy Robinson, they will feel after this win the signs are good 
that they could return to those levels.

For all that the expanded Pro14 now encompasses two hemispheres, this fixture at the Arms Park goes back into the last century and the Welsh/Scottish League which led to the Celtic League and started off all the international co-operation, with just the addition of the word Blues to the Cardiff name. If there was something old for the Blues, then the new for Edinburgh was their head coach. The capital club got Cockerill’s reign in charge off to a good start with a couple of their young, homegrown players combining for the opening score.

Scrum-half Sam Hidalgo-Clyne went blind from a scrum, delayed his pass long enough to put full-back Kinghorn through the gap from a flat pass and he was able to force his way over the line. Outside half Duncan 
Weir converted from wide out.

Edinburgh’s scrum power was proving useful in terms of relieving pressure and gaining territory. It also led to Weir having a penalty chance he slotted from 40 yards. However, the Blues hit back with a period of pressure of their own, outside half Jarrod Evans kicking for the corner where flanker Josh Navidi was open to catch and come back inside the defence for his side’s first try. Evans converted to narrow the lead at half-time.

Edinburgh’s scrum, so strong in the first half, crumbled at the start of the second, conceding two consecutive penalties, the second from their own put-in just 25 yards out from their posts. Evans kicked the easy penalty to bring the two sides level.

If we wondered how decisive Cockerill might be in terms of his substitutions, then we were given an early indication as he yanked the entire front row off and brought on replacements.

The new scrum remained untested when Weir was given the chance of another penalty kick at goal from a ruck infringement and he duly put his team back ahead.

Better was to come as Edinburgh regained the ball near the Blues line after it appeared an attack had broken down. Once again Kinghorn was the lynchpin, able to create space where there appeared little, this time a passback inside allowing centre Chris Dean to stretch over the line. Weir’s conversion meant a 
little flurry of points and 
substitutions resulted in the visitors restoring their ten-point advantage.

Edinburgh were confident enough to turn down a shot at goal and go for the corner, but the Blues defence held out.

There was time for one final push, Kinghorn again the threat as he burst out of defence before kicking forward for left wing Jason 
Harries.

For West Walian Harries, who played for Wales Sevens as none of the regions wanted to pick him up, it would have been a score he craved, but unfortunately for him the ball rolled into touch before he could get the try.

However Edinburgh as a team would not have been too bothered. They had done enough to clinch the victory and get their season off to a more than solid start.

This sort of game on the road was an area the capital club would have wanted to improve and develop, so this was a good test and one they passed with flying colours.

Cockerill had plenty of reasons for a wry smile at the end as his team celebrated.