Edinburgh claimed their second league victory with a win over Treviso in Northern Italy but they did it the hard way and were lucky to escape with the points.
The Italians had a penalty to draw level in the final five minutes of this match but opted for a series of set scrums which they bossed mercilessly. Edinburgh were repeatedly penalised and eventually reduced to just seven forwards, for the second time in the match, in a nail-biting finale. At the fourth attempt to win a penalty try, Treviso were pinged for a technical binding offence and Edinburgh had miraculously got out of jail.
It had looked like a very different game in the opening half. Edinburgh scored three tries in the opening 33 minutes. Phil Burleigh ghosted over on the right flank after a clever kick by Sean Kennedy gave Edinburgh the attacking opportunity. Then a long flowing move saw winger Damien Hoyland fend off his opposite number before stepping inside the final defender.
Sam Beard grabbed the third and with a 24-6 lead inside the last five minutes of the first half Edinburgh were cruising when Treviso woke up. The home side scored 18 unanswered points either side of half-time to draw level with the visitors at 24-24 in the third quarter.
The visitors’ cause was not helped by a yellow card flashed at Neil Cochrane but the main reason for the Treviso fightback was Edinburgh’s defence, or rather the lack of it.
Treviso were not slow to take advantage, especially their Kiwi full-back Jayden Harward who made huge gains every time he carried the ball and Edinburgh’s handling errors must have reached double figures.
Three penalties by Hayward kept Treviso in touch and the hosts scored two good tries thanks to centre Andrea Pratichetti and the big South African lock Duncan Naude who drove over from short range when Edinburgh were short-handed early in the second half.
Hayward’s fourth penalty tied the scores just before the hour mark and Edinburgh, who should have been going in search of the bonus try, were instead forced to dig deep just to keep a lid on a Treviso side that were bubbling with new-found belief.
Tonks fluffed one chance to regain the lead when a long-range kick floated wide of the posts but he made good with an easier attempt eight minutes from time only for Edinburgh to lose the re-start in typically sloppy style.
Ben Toolis had to make a full-stretch try-saving tackle on Hayward to keep the lead intact before an endless series of set scrums, in which Simon Berghan lasted one scrum before being carded, ended in a penalty to the visiting side to the understandable fury of the home support.