Edinburgh 21 - 12 Cardiff: Edinburgh rediscover their mojo

EDINBURGH put a difficult few weeks behind them to record their second win of the season over Cardiff, which will give the capital side a timely boost ahead of their upcoming Heineken Cup match against Ulster on Friday.

The home side triumphed after re-discovering some fighting spirit, unearthing some individual brilliance and gratefully accepting some hopelessly incompetent goal-kicking from the visitors who missed three penalties in the final quarter of this match.

Edinburgh looked ill at ease for the first half hour of this match, perhaps still suffering the hangover inflicted by back-to-back derby defeats. The whole game was then turned on its head by two tries, one either side of half time, which transformed Rob Moffat's men. With a couple of classy scores in their pocket Edinburgh's confidence got the boost it needed and they played with some of the self-belief that has been missing in recent weeks.

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"That was a better performance for us and that led to the win," said Moffat. "At 18-6 I thought that we should have kicked on from there so that was a bit disappointing for us. I felt that we had the momentum and we lost it due to some stupid penalties that killed the game for us. We felt that we should have scored four tries tonight, it was better, we were a bit more like our ourselves."

Still the home team had to withstand a late fightback from Cardiff and some questionable calls from the Irish referee who was roundly booed off the pitch at the end of the match after making any number of unintelligible calls. He also sent both Fraser McKenzie and Roddy Grant to the sin bin in a final quarter that was far tenser than it should have been.

The two kickers, Chris Paterson and Ceri Sweeney, swapped early penalties, two apiece, but it was the visitors that bossed the early exchanges with Edinburgh unable to get their hands on the ball. The home side even had the indignity of losing their own put in at a couple of set scrums and tighthead David Young was penalised at another.

Having weathered the early storm Edinburgh slowly worked their way into this game and manufactured a couple of early openings. At one point Paterson had a free run to the line from 50 yards out but failed to grasp the wet ball. On another occasion Ross Rennie won a useful turnover ball only for Greig Laidlaw to put the kick straight into touch with great swathes of Murrayfield unmanned.

Eventually Paterson's boot gave Edinburgh at attacking lineout five metres from the Cardiff line but Blues turned over the ball at the first attempt and dropped the maul at Edinburgh's second drive for the line. Rather than go for another three points Paterson put the ball into the corner once again and once again Edinburgh lost the ball in the contact area. After much huffing and puffing the home team eventually bought a couple of yards for John Houston on the right flank only for the big centre to kick the ball straight into touch when attempting to chip the last man.

Just when Edinburgh were playing way too fast and loose, and retreating all the time, their debutant fly-half conjured up a try out of thin air. While it will be credited to Rennie, it was Rory Hutton who deserves all the plaudits. On his competitive debut for Edinburgh the slight stand-off ducked this way and dived the other, ghosting past umpteen blue defenders before having the brass neck to send full-back Leigh Halfpenny the wrong way. It looked for a moment as though the Hawick youngster might grab a brilliant solo score but he was scragged just shy of the Cardiff line. He still had the presence of mind to pop the ball into the grateful arms of Rennie who flopped over the line.

It was Edinburgh's first try in over four games of rugby and, needless to say, having finally remembered the way to the try line Edinburgh repeated the trick immediately after the break and Hutton again had a hand in it. The fly-half made a cheeky half break before Tim Visser and Jim Thompson swapped passes on the left wing to send the latter over.

The shackles were well and truly off now and Edinburgh, who had stuttered through much of the first half, were a different side with two tries and a healthy lead on the score board. Grant picked from the base of a scrum and made huge inroads into the Cardiff defence. Laidlaw hustled and bustled and Rennie disproved the theory that you cannot steal in the house of a thief by picking the pocket of the rugby's very own Artful Dodger, Martyn Williams. Had he done nothing else that alone justified the flanker's man of the match award. Allan Jacobsen then enjoyed a trundle up the middle of the park that broke records for distance covered if not the time it took him. The popular prop made the final 15 yards with Halfpenny along for the ride and even Edinburgh's scrum started to dominate the set pieces; the transformation was complete.

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Cardiff stuck back with penalties by Halfpenny and Sweeney which reduced the deficit to just six points and then Edinburgh's fans were momentarily panicked when Cardiff breakaway Andries Protorius almost had an interception on his own 22. It would have been a lot closer had either Sweeney or replacement Dai Flannigan done better with three other simple enough attempts at goal, two of which sailed well wide while one hit the post.

Paterson put a little space between the two teams once again with his third penalty of the night with ten minutes still to play although Edinburgh spent those final minutes of this match just as they had spent the opening period, in desperate defence.

Edinburgh: C Paterson; J Thompson, B Cairns, J Houston, T Visser; R Hutton (M Robertson 60), G Laidlaw; A Jacobsen, R Ford (A Kelly 70), D Young, S MacLeod (C Hamilton 56), J Hamilton, S Newlands (F McKenzie 56), R Rennie, R Grant.

Cardiff Blues: L Halfpenny; R Mustoe, C Laulau, J Roberts, T James; C Sweeney, G Cooper (R Rees 52); S Hobbs (S Andrews 70), R Thomas, F Filise, D Jones, P Tito (B Davies 62), A Pretorius, M Williams, A Powell.

Scorers: Edinburgh: Tries: Rennie, Thompson. Con: Paterson. Pens: Paterson (3). Cardiff: Pens: Sweeney (3), Halfpenny.

Yellow card: McKenzie, Grant (both Edinburgh).

Referee: J Lacey (IRFU). Attendance: 1569.

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