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Edinburgh back into play-off picture

MATCH REPORT: Edinburgh had to fight against a spirited Zebre Parma side but in the end, they secured a 40-14 bonus-point victory to give their United Rugby Championship play-off hopes a considerable boost.

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After an opening spell in which they were on the back foot, Edinburgh steadily began to exert more pressure on Zebre, and that pressure told just past the quarter-of-an-hour mark when Scotland hooker Ewan Ashman finished off from a lineout maul after a penalty had been sent to touch on the right. Ben Healy hooked the conversion attempt just wide of the far post.

Zebre hit back less than 10 minutes later when Geronimo Prisciantelli slalomed through the Edinburgh defence and touched down close to the posts. The home team protested that Grant Gilchrist had been blocked in the build-up but, after a review, referee Ben Breakspear ruled that the try should stand. Thomas Dominguez’s conversion put the Italians in front.

Edinburgh had a chance to hit back immediately when they sent a penalty to touch some 15 metres out on the left, but this time the throw-in was stolen by the defence.Two or three minutes later, however, they tried again from the identical position, and this time they got it right, with hooker Ashman claiming his second.

Healy converted, and a couple of minutes later he added another two points after WP Nel had got Edinburgh’s third try. The scoring move again began with a lineout, but this time the play went out to the backs.

The pack joined in the close-range assault on the line, and Nel finished off from very close range.

Beginning the second half 7-19 behind, Zebre were far from finished, and, after a long period of stalemate, they scored a try when wing Jacopo Trulla finished off following lengthy pressure and Giovanni Montemauri converted.

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Edinburgh got the elusive fourth try with a quarter of an hour to play. A maul was collapsed illegally but play continued and, after good work by Ben Vellacott, Healy popped up a pass from which Chris Dean scored in the right corner, with the former converting to make it 26-14.

Vellacott added a fifth a few minutes from time, then in time added on Javan Sebastian got a sixth touchdown off a lineout, with Cammy Scott converting both.

Man of the Match: Ewan Ashman helped give Edinburgh a vital platform by scoring the first two tries. His work in the loose was just as impressive as he put in an energy-packed performance before giving way to Dave Cherry quarter of an hour into the second half.

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Scorers:

For Edinburgh:
Tries: Ashman 2, Nel, Dean, Vellacott, Sebastian
Cons: Healy (4), Scott

For Zebre:
Tries: Prisciantelli, Trulla
Cons: Dominguez, Montemauri

Teams:

Edinburgh: 15 Wes Goosen, 14 Matt Currie, 13 Mark Bennett, 12 James Lang, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Ben Healy, 9 Ali Price, 8 Viliame Mata, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Jamie Ritchie, 5 Grant Gilchrist (captain), 4 Sam Skinner, 3 WP Nel, 2 Ewan Ashman, 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Dave Cherry, 17 Boan Venter, 18 Javan Sebastian, 19 Marshall Sykes, 20 Luke Crosbie, 21 Ben Vellacott, 22 Cammy Scott, 23 Chris Dean.

Zebre Parma: 15 Geronimo Prisciantelli, 14 Jacopo Trulla, 13 Fetuli Paea, 12 Enrico Lucchin, 11 Simone Gesi, 10 Giovanni Montemauri, 9 Thomas Dominguez, 8 Giovanni Licata (captain), 7 Taina Fox-Matamua, 6 Giacomo Ferrari, 5 Andrea Zambonin, 4 Matteo Canali, 3 Juan Pitinari, 2 Giampietro Ribaldi, 1 Muhamed Hasa.
Replacements: 16 Tommaso Di Bartolomeo, 17 Samuele Taddei, 18 Riccardo Genovese, 19 David Sisi, 20 Bautista Stavile, 21 Gonzalo Garcia, 22 Damiano Mazza, 23 Lorenzo Pani.

Referee: Ben Breakspear (Wales)
Assistant referees: Ru Campbell (Scotland) and David Sutherland (Scotland)
TMO: Ian Davies (Wales)

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