EDINBURGH duly saw off the worst team in the league and earned their first four-try bonus of the season into the bargain. In truth the home side did not have to find the best of themselves to win. They did enough on the night but they will need to improve hand over fist if they are to take points from Glasgow next Saturday.
Scorers: Edinburgh: Tries: Hidalgo-Clyne, Coman, Nel, Hart, Grant, Denton. Con, Coman, Hidalgo-Clyne (3), Heathcote (3) Pen: Hidalgo-Clyne (2):
The home team scored two tries in the first half and added another four after the break with the bonus point try coming on 62 minutes. All six conversions were good and Sam Hidalgo-Clyne added two first-half penalties to complete the routine victory. By way of response all the Italians could offer was effort and not nearly enough of it to transform this match into a genuine contest.
Treviso have not won a game all season and they didn’t look remotely like ending that sorry streak yesterday evening at BT Murrayfield; at least not after the first 45 seconds – the time it took Edinburgh to open the scoring. The first time the home team got hands on the ball they grabbed a well-worked try.
Jack Cuthbert fielded a kick on the left flank and fed Greig Tonks, the ball went back to Cuthbert and again to Tonks before the fly-half sent Hidalgo-Clyne scurrying over the line from 20 yards out. The little scrummy kicked a wobbly conversion and Edinburgh were on their way.
The domination of the home team was almost embarrassing at times although the Italian’s indiscipline cost them dearly with one yellow and one red card, both in the second half. Four of Edinburgh’s six tries came when Treviso were short-handed. Italian teams can usually be relied upon to scrummage well but Treviso’s set scrum only had one gear and they engaged reverse at every opportunity.
Edinburgh fluffed a couple of throws at the sidelines but they drove the opposition in mauls and when they weren’t winning the ball at the breakdown they were winning penalties instead. You fancy Edinburgh have endured tougher training runs because Treviso’s defence started in powderpuff mode and got progressively worse as the match wore on.
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Edinburgh took full advantage of the fact and had great fun doing so. David Denton looked full of running after a stop-start season. Tonks controlled things from ten well enough although his kicking from hand alternated from awesome to awful…which was one better than John Andress who had obviously not read the small print in his prop’s contract forbidding him from putting boot to ball. Cuthbert and Dougie Fife found huge acres of space where there should have been none and Tim Visser carved out a second-half try for Grayson Hart.
After that early score Edinburgh went further ahead thanks to a penalty by Hidalgo-Clyne and then went to sleep and allowed Treviso to spend some time on the offensive – not that the visitors ever threatened the try line.
When Edinburgh got back into the Italians’ red zone they lost one attacking lineout five metres from the try line but made no such mistake when awarded another throw on the opposite side of the field. The big men flexed their muscles and drove over, skipper Mike Coman the last man up with the ball in hand and a grin on his face.
The rain which made handling tricky in the first half cleared up after the break and Argentinian Joaquin Dominguez had replaced Adrian Strauss in the Edinburgh midfield when hostilities resumed. Hidalgo-Clyne kicked his second penalty ten minutes into the half when the Italians were pinged for cheating at the breakdown and indiscipline then cost Treviso the use of flanker Francesco Minto who spent ten minutes in the bin. It was a costly mistake with Edinburgh scoring two tries in his absence. Replacement prop WP Nel barreled over from short range just minutes after being called off the bench and then Hart combined with Visser up the left flank for the scrum-half to score the bonus point try three minutes later.
There was still time for a free-for-all fight the likes of which you simply don’t see in the professional game any more. It even spilled over the advertising boards and into the crowd at one point. Treviso prop Romula Acosta was shown a red card for kicking off the rammy with a flurry of punchers aimed at Fraser McKenzie who was on the ground. Hart was yellow carded for retaliation.
It was without question a distasteful incident, but with their dander up Edinburgh scored again with Roddy Grant just one of several who could have grounded the ball. Denton made it six with the last play of the game.
Edinburgh coach Alan Solomons would not be drawn on the late fracas that blighted the match except to say that it was “not something one wants to see in a game of rugby” and to confirm that no spectators had been hurt when the all-in fight crashed through the hoarding that separates those watching from the players.
“I was happy with the performance,” he said when matters reverted to rugby. “We started really, really well though I thought we lost our way a little bit in that first half.
“We got ahead of ourselves and you have to build an innings, things don’t just happen, you have to make things happen and it was important that we stuck to our systems and make sure that we had field position because once we did that they were in real difficulty.
“We went and did that in the second half.”
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