EDINBURGH Rugby’s unbeaten start to the Guinness Pro12 campaign continued at BT Murrayfield last night.
Skipper Mike Coman’s side had to dig deep for this 16-10 win over Ulster, but they now have four wins from four.
There was a late change to the Edinburgh starting XV prior to kick-off, Allan Dell coming in for World Cup-bound Rory Sutherland at prop.
The switch did not seem to worry the home side, though, and they started well, an early good run from No 8 Nasi Manu showing their intent.
In the fifth minute they then won a penalty which full-back Greig Tonks kicked successfully to make it 3-0.
Five minutes later, Dell was forced from the field for a head injury assessment and Grant Shiells came on in his place.
After some good work by the forwards, the recalled back-row Hamish Watson at the forefront of it all, Edinburgh won a second kickable penalty in the 18th minute. Tonks again did the job and it was 6-0.
Ulster got themselves on the scoreboard in the 24th minute when Peter Nelson, their stand-off, kicked a penalty.
However, it could have been worse for Edinburgh had a crossfield kick been taken cleanly near the tryline before the penalty.
Edinburgh then nearly profited from an attacking kick themselves just before the 30 minute mark, stand-off Phil Burleigh’s effort nearly setting up winger Damien Hoyland for the try.
At that point, Ulster injected a bit of pace into what had been a rather pedestrian encounter up to that point, but their swift attacks were repelled by Edinburgh’s well-organised defence.
It stayed 6-3 to the home side at the interval, but they will have been concerned by the number of penalties they had conceded in the first 40 minutes.
At half-time, Tongan World Cup squad man Will Helu came on in place of centre Chris Dean for his Edinburgh debut.
But it was Ulster who got off to a flying start in the second period, scoring the game’s first try in the 45th minute. Back row Sean Reidy went over for the score with Nelson converting.
Edinburgh were back in front ten minutes later, Manu’s run down the left and nice inside pass seeing Watson over for the converted score.
With 15 minutes to go, a third penalty from Tonks put Edinburgh 16-10, but the game was still in the balance.
In the 72nd minute, Tonks missed a tricky penalty attempt and Edinburgh suffered yet more front-row disruption, but they held on for the win with the season now entering a crucial – and hectic – phase.
EDINBURGH: G Tonks; T Brown, C Dean, A Strauss, D Hoyland; P Burleigh, N Fowles; A Dell, N Cochrane, J Andress, A Bresler, F McKenzie, M Coman, N Manu, H Watson. Subs: G Turner, G Shiells, S Berghan, A Toolis, C Du Preez, M McAndrew, W Helu, J Cuthbert.
ULSTER: L Ludik; C Gilroy, S Arnold, S McCloskey, A Trimble; P Nelson, P Marshall; C Black, R Herring, W Herbst, D Tuohy, F van der Merwe, R Wilson, N Williams, S Reidy. Subs: J Andrew, A Warwick, B Ross, L Stevenson, W Faloon, D Shanahan, I Humphreys, R Scholes.