Duncan Weir kicked 11 points on his debut for Edinburgh but there was little opening-weekend joy for Alan Solomons’ side as they went down in Cardiff.
Cardiff Blues had rounded off Edinburgh’s miserable end to the second half of last season with a 21-17 win on the final day and Danny Wilson’s side inflicted more pain with their third straight league victory against the Scots.
This was a much-improved performance by Edinburgh after last season’s disappointment but Solomons will be desperate for a victory when they host the Scarlets next week to prevent the unwanted hangover from last season going on too long.
Weir was able to notch up his first competitive points for Edinburgh with a simple kick when the home side were penalised after coming under pressure at the set-piece, but the lead lasted just five minutes as Blues stand-off Steve Shingler, a summer signing from the Scarlets, made a far more impressive start to his debut than team-mate Nick Williams.
Shingler had first given Edinburgh a warning with a lovely show-and-go that came to nothing because of a lack of support but he couldn’t be stopped shortly after as he went between two defenders for the game’s opening try.
It was then the turn of another debutant, Edinburgh’s Solomoni Rasolea, to make his mark on the contest after Edinburgh had worked their way deep into the Blues half. A quick pass from the base of a ruck was met by an even quicker Rasolea run and he brushed past the Blues Samoan powerhouse Rey Lee-Lo to crash over.
Solomons had this week spoken about Rasolea’s ability to give Edinburgh’s attack an extra dimension this season and looks to have hit the ground running alongside Sasa Tofilau.
Weir had added the conversion and a long-range penalty from inside his own half to give the visitors a six-point lead but Shingler clawed three points back on the half hour with his first penalty of the evening.
New Zealander Williams was starting to make up for his shaky start with the sort of powerful runs from No.8 which had made him such a popular figure in Belfast last season.
Cardiff haven’t had a player of that ilk since another Kiwi, Xavier Rush, retired four years ago and head coach Danny Williams is hoping for a similar impact from the 32-year-old.
The Blues regained the lead seven minutes before half-time when Edinburgh’s Jamie Ritchie was shown a yellow card for deliberately taking down a rolling maul and referee John Lacey awarded a penalty try.
Weir then missed two long-range penalties in two minutes before the break to leave the visitors trailing by four points at the interval.
Edinburgh flanker Hamish Watson gifted the home side the chance for three points with a needless hand on the ball at a scrum shortly after the break and Shingler added his second penalty of the evening.
The Blues had dominated many teams at Cardiff Arms Park last season and had a formidable home record in which they won 80 per cent of their home fixtures. But they were struggling to control the contest against a solid Edinburgh defence and it wasn’t until the introduction of Wales international stand-off Gareth Anscombe with half an hour remaining that the home side began to turn the screw.
Anscombe’s lively display was finding gaps in the visitors’ defence and after taking the home side deep into the Edinburgh half, No.8 Williams scored his first competitive try for the club as he went over from close range.
New Zealand-born Anscombe added the conversion to open up an 11-point lead for the home side.
With eight minutes remaining the Blues got their third try of the evening when scrum-half Tomos Williams found a big gap in the visitors’ tired defence and went over from close range.
The Blues went searching for the bonus point in the final moments but couldn’t get a fourth score despite some more good work by Anscombe in the backline for the home side.