It took the home team more than half of the match at Murrayfield to get on top of the Italians, and, after choosing a fairly inexperienced starting line-up, Richard Cockerill had to bring some of his senior forwards off the bench before the game went decisively in his team’s favour.
But they got there in the end to set themselves up nicely for the forthcoming double-header against Glasgow.
A Carlo Canna penalty gave the visitors an early lead, but Edinburgh soon hit back with the first try of the night. Kicking a penalty to touch, they won clean lineout ball then went down the line from the right wing to the left, where Eroni Sau finished off in the corner. Nathan Chamberlain added the conversion, and that looked like being the start of a period in which the home team would go on to take control. Instead, it was Zebre who went on to have the better of the first half.
Some slack tackling by the Edinburgh defence allowed the Italians to set off on a break that ended in another penalty from Canna. Then, with 25 minutes gone, the stand-off sent a pinpoint penalty to touch.
The Edinburgh defence held up the first assault on the line, but eventually Andrea Lovotti powered over. Canna added the extras to put his team 13-7 up, and they still held that lead at the break.
Edinburgh got the first score of the second half on 46 minutes through captain Luke Crosbie after an electrifying break from Sau. Chamberlain converted to put his team back in front.
Going into the last quarter, centre Matt Currie celebrated his first start by grabbing his team’s third try. Chamberlain’s conversion put his team more than a full score ahead for the first time in the match, then he wrapped things up with a penalty. Johan Meyer got a consolation try for Zebre in the last play of the game.