Kinghorn stars as Edinburgh beat Benetton
URC REPORT: Blair Kinghorn was at the heart of the action as in-form Edinburgh moved up to second in the United Rugby Championship with a bonus-point 24-10 victory against Benetton at Edinburgh Rugby Stadium.
The number 10 helped create the Scots’ opening two tries and then scored the third himself as Mike Blair’s team posted a fourth consecutive victory and leapfrogged Ulster – who visit the Ospreys on Saturday – in the table.
Benetton got the first points on the board in the eighth minute when Leonardo Marin pinged a penalty between the posts after Edinburgh were penalised for not rolling away quick enough.
The game swung back in the hosts’ favour in the 12th minute when Benetton captain Dewaldt Duvenage was sin-binned for cynically stopping a try-scoring opportunity. It proved costly for the Italians as Edinburgh scored two tries in his absence.
The first came within two minutes of his departure from the fray when Ben Vellacott scooped the ball from the back of the scrum and quickly fed Kinghorn, who in turn played in Darcy Graham to dart over the line wide on the right. Kinghorn hooked his conversion attempt well wide.
Edinburgh’s second try came after some excellent build-up play in the 23rd minute, just before Duvenage returned to the field.
The move began with brilliant work by both Kinghorn and Graham to drive the team forward wide on the right, before the ball was worked across to the left by Vellacott, Jamie Hodgson, Matt Currie and Damien Hoyland, who fed Emiliano Boffelli. The Argentine duly powered over the line to mark his home debut with a score. Kinghorn once again missed the target with his conversion.
Edinburgh asserted their authority five minutes after the break when the opportunistic Kinghorn had the easy task of slamming the ball down for a try after Benetton dropped the ball into his path wide on the right. This time the fly-half successfully converted to open up a 17-3 lead.
Benetton got themselves back into it on the hour when replacement Manuel Zuliani forced his way over the line after a sustained spell of pressure. Marin added the conversion.
Edinburgh regained full control in the 67th minute when Stuart McInally touched down just to the left of the posts after a strong line-out drive, having stepped off the bench. Kinghorn again converted as the hosts avenged their last-gasp defeat in Treviso in Round Two.
Player of the match
Kinghorn, again deployed at number 10, was heavily involved in Edinburgh’s opening three tries as he fed Graham for the first, sparked the move that led to the second and then got on the scoresheet himself.
However, the individual honour went to Magnus Bradbury on the occasion of his 100th appearance for the club, having made more carries than any other player during the match.
Play of the match
Edinburgh’s second try – scored at a time when Benetton were down to 14 men – was the result of some fine work by no less than seven of their players.
It was triggered by some excellent attacking on the right by Kinghorn before Graham picked up the baton and drove the team further forward.
The ball was then superbly shuffled across to the left by Vellacott, Hodgson, Currie and Hoyland for Boffelli to score.
Tries: D Graham, Boffelli, Kinghorn, McInally
Cons: Kinghorn 2
Edinburgh: 15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Darcy Graham, 13 Matt Currie, 12 James Lang, 11 Damien Hoyland, 10 Blair Kinghorn, 9 Ben Vellacott, 8 Viliame Mata, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Magnus Bradbury, 5 Grant Gilchrist (captain), 4 Jamie Hodgson, 3 WP Nel, 2 Dave Cherry, 1 Boan Venter.
Replacements: 16 Stuart McInally, 17 Pierre Schoeman, 18 Lee-Roy Atalifo, 19 Marshall Sykes, 20 Jamie Ritchie, 21 Henry Pyrgos, 22 Charlie Savala, 23 Mark Bennett.
Benetton: 15 Rhyno Smith, 14 Ratuva Tavuyara, 13 Ignacio Brex, 12 Tommaso Menoncello, 11 Monty Ioane, 10 Leonardo Marin, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage (captain), 8 Toa Halafihi, 7 Michele Lamaro, 6 Giovanni Pettinelli, 5 Federico Ruzza, 4 Niccolò Cannone, 3 Tiziano Pasquali, 2 Hame Faiva, 1 Federico Zani.
Replacements: 16 Gianmarco Lucchesi, 17 Thomas Gallo, 18 Ivan Nemer, 19 Carl Wegner, 20 Manuel Zuliani, 21 Alessandro Garbisi, 22 Joaquin Riera, 23 Edoardo Padovani.
Referee: Adam Jones (Wales)
Assistant referees: Finlay Brown (Scotland), Ross Mabon (Scotland)
TMO: Ian Davies (Wales)