Edinburgh inspired by Argentina as they turn old adage on its head at Dragons
Edinburgh seem determined to turn the old adage about earning the right to go wide on its head – they went wide from the start to earn the right to go narrow.
Playing against the wind in the first half they key to this bonus-point 30-14 victory was the first 20 minutes, including the first two tries, earning a half-time lead which gave them the right to extend it through penalties with conditions backing them.
Right from the start, deep in their own half, the ball was kept in hand, width was essential, kicking a last resort which was rarely needed.
Once the backs had shown the threat out wide, first the back row and then the rest of the pack could look to contribute a bit of go forward of their own and the all-court variety crept in.
With the game plan in place then it came down to execution and that was easier into the wind than with the wind at their backs, but the Dragons failed to test the Edinburgh defence and Blair Kinghorn kicks stretched the lead to comfortable levels.
Once the victory was assured, then they gambled a little more – an approach which was vindicated when right wing Damien Hoyland burst through for the bonus point-securing fourth try with seconds to go to the final whistle.
“We said it was going to be a big week for us, a few guys who hadn’t played a huge amount of rugby for us or who had been away in the Autumn with Scotland, ” explained head coach Mike Blair.
“There was a huge amount of intent and effort and physicality, then when you get those bits we had the skill levels to stress opposition as well.
“I think you have got to look to hold onto ball and play with tempo into the wind. The kicks almost end up behind you, so you if things slow up you don’t want to keep flogging a dead horse and you have to kick.
“Whilst you have momentum, holding onto the ball, you are putting the opposition under pressure and I thought the half backs did that really well.
“We are developing. We are building in the right direction. There is a long way for us to go but I believe the strength in the squad means we can do that while winning games.”
A clear difference in style from the Richard Cockerill era of the last few years, but with just the one defeat so far this season it is also one which seems to be paying off so far.
The four tries all came from the back three, with a strong Argentinian influence with full back Emiliano Boffelli opening the scoring on his debut and Ramiro Moyano adding the next two.
Two of the tries were the result of ambition from deep, with kicks to chase being held up in the wind.
The Dragons are making forward strides of their own and finished the first half strongly with outside half Sam Davies scoring one try and making another for wing Jonah Holmes.
They had moments in the second half, but Edinburgh were able to defend those easily enough and play territory when necessary. A convincing win in the end, build on the way they started.