Ben Healy takes centre stage as Edinburgh Rugby rally to post opening-day win over Dragons

Ashley Crowden/INPHO/Shutterstock
Scotland outside half Ben Healy finished last season in the United Rugby Championship helping Munster to the title – and started this one helping Edinburgh to an opening win, 22-17, over the Dragons in Wales.

Healy scored 17 points in a faultless display of place kicking, as well as making the try for scrum half Ben Vellacott which gave his side victory

“It was a great debut from Ben, it gave us exactly what we wanted from him and that was goal kicking, which is something that let us down last season - he got 100 percent and played a big role in the game tonight,” said new Edinburgh coach Sean Everitt. “His game management was good, the contestable kicks were pinpoint, we turned them over a couple of times and got good reward from that. You need accurate kicking for that and he was superb in that department.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“A win did look unlikely for a while but in the pre season the team spoke about resilience, something they probably felt they lacked in the previous URC campaign, and they certainly showed that tonight. We stuck to the plan in the second half, we tweaked it a bit at half time with our contestable kicking because we got good reward from our two in the first half. We are just happy to get the win and it does not matter about the bonus point away from home so I am very happy and proud of our team.”

Edinburgh lost another of their returning Scotland World Cup players just before kick off, with Sam Skinner pulling out and fellow France returnee Luke Crosbie stepping into the starting line-up It was also a big test under new coach Everitt, made all that bit bigger when the home side scored under the posts after a minute, left wing Jared Rosser slicing through and giving the scoring pass to centre Sio Tompkinson.

Edinburgh were adventurous in attack, but were not able to make the passes stick or benefit through the bounce of the ball. Wing Corey Baldwin was the next try scorer for the home side, collecting a cross kick from outside half Angus O’Brien after the forwards had sucked in any defence. Evans again converted.

Edinburgh’s efforts were summed up by great lineout drives from 30 yards out eating up territory, but any lineouts five yards out went wrong or were turned over. It meant all they had to show for their first half efforts was a penalty for outside half Ben Healy making his debut after his move from Munster.

He added to that tally with another penalty straight after the break, though it was rapidly cancelled out by an Evans reply. Healy kept chipping away at the Dragons lead with another penalty and then he created their first score, a dummy and half break creating space for him to give scrum half Ben Vellacott a run to the line.

Healy converted to put his side within a point and then put them ahead with a penalty after the backs had come close to forcing a try with a break from half way.

A final breakdown penalty in the final minute sealed the result and got Healy and Everitt’s Edinburgh careers off to a winning start.

Dragons scorers: Tries – Tompkinson, Baldwin. Cons – Evans (2). Pen – Evans.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Edinburgh scorers: Try – Vellacott. Con – Healy. Pens – Healy (5).

Dragons: C Evans; C Baldwin, S Tomkinson, S Hughes (Capt), J Rosser; A O’Brien, R Williams; R Martinez, B Roberts, L Fairbrother, M Screech, B Carter, G Nott, H Keddie, O Griffiths. Replacements: J Benjamin not used, R Jones for Martinez 63, L Yendle for Fairbrother 63, J Davies for Screech 69, S Lonsdale for Keddie 35-41 and Nott 63, D Blacker for Williams 63, W Reed for Evans 65, J Dixon for Baldwin 57.

Edinburgh: C Scott; R McCann, M Bennett, M Currie, W Goosen; B Healy, B Vellacott (capt); B Venter, D Cherry, J Sebastian, G Young, J Hodgson, T Dodd, C Neild, L Crosbie. Replacements: A McBurney for Cherry 68, R Hislop for Venter 61, A Williams for Sebastian 61, M Sykes for Hodgson 61, C Boyle for Neild 30, C Shiel not used, C Dean for Healy 72, J Edmunds for McCann 72.

Referee: Eoghan Cross (IRFU)

Related topics:



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.