Edinburgh made an impressive start to their season by achieving a solid win over Romania at The Greenyards last night in the first of two warm-up games in preparation for the Guinness Pro12 League starting on the first weekend of September.
Although missing a number of frontline players involved with the Scotland squad, Edinburgh for the most part were the more inventive of the two sides, their one area of concern perhaps being the set-scrum where in the second half and against Romanian players based in France the capital side were at times under the cosh.
Head coach Alan Solomons, however, stressed that in the second half it was Edinburgh’s less experienced players against Romania’s best. He said: “In the scrums we took a bit of a beating in the second half but we came back strongly at the end. The only way they’re going to learn is putting them out there in that kind of situation.”
Behind the scrum, stand-off Jade Te Rure impressed with his fluent play and clever running. Tom Brown, aside from a lively all-round display, brought off one glorious try-saving tackle on his opposite number, while sevens cap, James Johnston, making his debut for Edinburgh, looked the part.
For Romania, who are in the same World Cup group as France, Ireland, Italy and Canada, the result last night was a blow ahead of the global championship. “I think this showed that we’re in the middle of preparing for a World Cup. We haven’t really done any team work,” admitted Romania’s head coach, Lynn Howells, who was in charge of Edinburgh eight years ago.
Romania’s tight tactics brought them the game’s first points with a penalty goal from their centre Florin Vlaicu but Edinburgh quickly struck back, executing a driving maul to perfection for skipper Roddy Grant to score the first of his three tries.
Then, after Nick McLennan had sliced through the defence, Brown and flanker Jamie Ritchie provided the support before the ball was moved left for Neil Cochrane to lay on the scoring pass for Cornell Du Preez, Nick Fowles converting for a 12-3 lead.
A second Vlaicu penalty brought Romania back into the game but just before half-time Edinburgh again set up a driving maul and once more it was Grant who scored.
Romania brought on their heavier pack for the second half and for the most part dominated the set-scrum, winger Adrian Apostle benefitting from a tighthead strike to score in the corner. Dan Dumbrava converted before kicking a penalty goal to bring his side within a point of Edinburgh.
The capital side then pulled away as first Grant set up a try for Te Rure which the stand-off converted and Grant himself completed his hat-trick with a burst from a lineout maul, Te Rure’s conversion completing the scoring.
• Glasgow Warriors have appointed Peter Murchie as captain for the start of the new season.
The 29-year-old full-back, who has made 93 appearances for the club, will take over from Al Kellock who retired at the end of last season after leading Glasgow to the Guinness Pro 12 title.
Murchie will be skipper while a number of his international colleagues are away at the Rugby World Cup.
Warriors begin the defence of their title at home to the Scarlets on Saturday 5 September.
Edinburgh: N McLennan; J Farndale, C Dean, A Strauss, T Brown; P Burleigh, N Fowles; G Shiells, N Cochrane, J Andress, A Bresler, F McKenzie, J Ritchie, R Grant, C Du Preez. Subs used: J Hilterbrand, G Turner, J Cosgrove, Allan Dell, S Berghan, A Toolis, M Bradbury, M McAndrew, J Te Rure, S Beard, J Johnstone, O Katoa, J Cuthbert.
Romania: S Stralita; F Ionita, P Kinikinilau, F Vlaicu, I Botezatu; M Wiringi, F Surugiu; M Lazar, E Capatana, H Pungea, H Von Heerden, M Drenceamu, O Tonita, M Randall, S Burcea. Subs used: O Turashvili, I Paulica, A Radoi, V Ursache, M Macovei, T Bratu, D Dumbrava, C Gal.
Referee: G Garner (Ireland)