It has been a long time coming but Edinburgh’s first away win of the season in the Guinness Pro12 allowed Duncan Hodge’s team to end a difficult year on a high note.
Zebre has not been a particularly happy hunting ground for the capital side in recent years – Saturday was veteran hooker Ross Ford’s first win there – so Hodge could take a measure of satisfaction from the result, even if Edinburgh lost the try count 3-2.
“We’re extremely happy to come here and come away with the win,” the acting head coach said. “We managed to play as we wanted; we played a lot in their half and put some phases together. What let us down was a couple of knock-ons and turnovers, and we conceded the first try too easily with a missed tackle.”
Hodge remains in limbo as far as his long-term future is concerned. His interim appointment was made without any time limit and it remains to be seen if he will be given the job permanently.
Results like Saturday’s won’t do his chances any harm, with the precious away win ending a run of three successive defeats in the Pro12.
Duncan Weir excelled with the boot, kicking four penalties and a conversion. His first successful penalties came in the 14th minute before Zebre took the lead with a Tommaso Boni try that Carlo Canna converted.
Before the half-hour mark Weir had closed the gap with another penalty and heading into the break Chris Dean restored Edinburgh’s advantage with a score in the corner that Weir converted.
Will Helu won a footrace to extend the Scots’ lead but Zebre’s response was to grab a try through Canna in the 61st minute. The stand-off failed to add the extras, however, and back-to-back penalties from Weir gave Edinburgh a 12-point cushion heading into the final five minutes.
South African No 8 Dries van Schalkwyk made it a nervous finale with his last-gasp try, converted by Canna, but Zebre had fallen short of recording a first home win of the season.