Timisoara 17 - 59 Edinburgh: A capital display in Romania

Hat-trick hero: Stuart McInallys try treble was matched by Nasi Manu later
Hat-trick hero: Stuart McInallys try treble was matched by Nasi Manu later
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A record European win for Edinburgh; nine tries, two hat-tricks. You would have to be the harshest of harsh critics to quibble with the way they destroyed their Romanian opponents.

Which is not to say there is no ammunition for doubt. After an-all action first half they did fall away in the second, adding only two more tries to their account.

Though they had run the opposition ragged for most of the match, the final quarter was mostly Timisoara, who were the last team to score.

Quibbles, though. Just quibbles. A new-look Edinburgh side came to Romania and hammered their opponents, with Viliame “Bill” Mata, the Olympic Fijian, setting the tone early on as he wrought exactly the kind of destruction the fans were hoping to see from him,

“It is good for us to win a game of rugby,” said Duncan Hodge, the coach, later. “There are a lot of guys got some game time. There was a lot of good stuff in there. It was good to come out here and get a comprehensive win. I am looking forward to next Saturday.

“It was a bit like last week, things have not been brilliant, we have been a bit short of confidence, so it was good from the first two possessions we got two great team tries, that settled a few nerves.

“We played well in the first half though our defence was not brilliant, it was better in the second half.

“We then made a lot of changes and things got a bit disjointed in the second half. There was stuff to work on there.”

While to a certain extent the trip out to Romania was always a trip into the unknown, Edinburgh must have realised that, however determined the home side were, they did not have what it takes to take on a fully professional side.

They were outclassed from the start, effectively playing for pride before they got their hands on the ball for the first time as Edinburgh ran riot from the first whistle.

Hearteningly for the small group of Edinburgh supporters who had made the trek to Romania, they can claim they were there to see Mata make his club debut and show why they had been so anxious to get him.

The first move the game saw him pop up on the shoulder of Jason Tovey, the stand-off, to crash through a couple of tackles, offload to Stuart McInally who put Michael Allen away for the first try.

A couple of minutes later and Mata had gone from provider to finisher, getting on the end of a move that had started in Edinburgh’s half.

There were a lot of strings to the Edinburgh attack, so for their next trick, they turned to the forwards, who ended up driving three line out mauls to the line with McInally in the fortunate position of being the man given the chore of touching down for all three tries.

Then it was back to Mata, bashing his way through Romanians to set up Nasi Manu for his first Edinburgh try, quickly followed by his second as he got on the end of arguably the move of the game as almost every Edinburgh player handled the ball to put him over.

“Our attack’s definitely growing; it’s just about doing the basics right,” Manu said.

“Against Harlequins [next week], if they come and throw the ball around, it’s going to pressure our defence so it’s important we front up there as well as in attack.”

With seven tries in the bank, they were looking at getting towards 70 or 80 but the second half was a much more disjointed affair, with Mata brushing off tackles to get his second and Manu taking a tap penalty to complete his hat-trick, but with replacements flooding on the cohesion had gone and Stephen Shennan, the Timisoara wing, had the final word with is second try.