Edinburgh bounce back against Dragons
MATCH REPORT: Edinburgh Rugby ensured they got back to winning with a 20-7 win over Dragons in a cagey PRO14 affair at BT Murrayfield.
It was a close-fought encounter in the Scottish capital, with neither side enjoying a wealth of clear-cut opportunities and the visitors defending defiantly throughout.
But tries from Blair Kinghorn and Duhan van der Merwe either side of half-time proved decisive, heaping misery on a Dragons side who were unable to seal their third PRO14 victory of the season.
And despite Dragons’ Adam Warren marking his 100th appearance for the club with a try, the hosts were too strong and were able to secure their fourth win of the campaign and consolidate their promising position in Conference B.
Dragons came out of the blocks quickly, enjoying considerable territory and frustrating the hosts who conceded two early penalties.
But it was Edinburgh who struck first, as Richard Cockerill’s side made perfect use of an advantage to release the dangerous Kinghorn who bisected the Dragons defence to dot down on 15 minutes.
Dean Ryan’s team rallied, however, with flanker Taine Basham breaking free from a ruck well inside his own half to penetrate the Edinburgh defence before being stopped by several defenders.
And it was a case of profligacy in possession costing Dragons throughout the opening period, failing to make use of territory in an area of the game Ryan said before would prove crucial to the outcome.
The hosts extended their lead on the brink of half-time after an extended advantage culminated in a penalty that fly-half Simon Hickey notched over with ease.
It was to be another frantic start to the second-half, and on 47 minute Cockerill’s side were reduced to 14 after returning Scotland international Ben Toolis was sent to the bin for impeding the kick and chase of Dragons fullback Jordan Williams.
And despite a Huw Taylor yellow card for the visitors and Hickey kicking them further into the lead, Dragons hit back through the enterprising Warren, who celebrated his centenary for the club by going over to reduce the deficit.
But their resistance didn’t last long. Edinburgh hit back almost immediately, spraying the ball wide in a fluid passing move to set up the clinical van der Merwe for an easy score in the corner, his fourth PRO14 try of the season.
The hosts used the momentum of that decisive score – converted once again by the metronomic Hickey – to dominate the final exchanges, going close through No.8 Magnus Bradbury but failing to extend their advantage.
But despite not going away with the full five points, it was a professional performance from Edinburgh that got their PRO14 season well back on track.
Tries: Kinghorn, Van der Merwe
Cons: Hickey 2
Pens: Hickey 2
Edinburgh: 15 Blair Kinghorn, 14 Eroni Sau, 13 Mark Bennett, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Simon Hickey, 9 Henry Pyrgos (captain), 8 Magnus Bradbury, 7 Luke Crosbie, 6 John Barclay, 5 Ben Toolis, 4 Lewis Carmichael, 3 Pietro Ceccarelli, 2 Mike Willemse, 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Cameron Fenton, 17 Rory Sutherland, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Grant Gilchrist, 20 Jamie Ritchie, 21 Charlie Shiel, 22 Jaco van der Walt, 23 George Taylor.
Dragons: 15 Jordan Williams, 14 Owen Jenkins, 13 Adam Warren, 12 Jack Dixon, 11 Ashton Hewitt, 10 Sam Davies, 9 Rhodri Williams (captain), 8 Harrison Keddie, 7 Taine Basham, 6 Huw Taylor, 5 Matthew Screech, 4 Joe Davies, 3 Leon Brown, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Brok Harris.
Replacements: 16 Ellis Shipp, 17 Josh Reynolds, 18 Lloyd Fairbrother, 19 Max Williams, 20 James Benjamin, 21 Luke Baldwin, 22 Arwel Robson, 23 Tyler Morgan.
Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Ian Kenny (Scotland), Graeme Ormiston (Scotland),
TMO: Colin Stanley (Ireland)