Van der Merwe double seals Edinburgh win
PRO14 REPORT: Quickfire second-half scores from Magnus Bradbury and Duhan van der Merwe were enough to see Edinburgh home as they toppled the Dragons 34-17 at Murrayfield on Friday.
They had twice taken the lead in the first 40 through James Johnstone, but for Tyler Morgan to reply each time.
The visitors took a 17-14 advantage into the break, but were largely nullified by an impressive Edinburgh effort as they were held scoreless in the second 40, with van der Merwe adding Edinburgh’s fifth score late on.
Edinburgh was ahead with less than ten minutes on the clock: a well-worked line-out saw Bill Mata find Chris Dean whose line was perfect.
The centre was brought down at the 10-metre line, but for quick ball to be recycled out to Johnstone, who slipped through to cross the whitewash spectacularly.
Dragons were back on terms just three minutes later when pragmatic play from the Welsh side eventually forced an overlap for Morgan down the left, with the winger making no mistake to score in the corner.
The hosts re-took the lead from another set-piece straight off the training ground, this time from the scrum.
Pyrgos wasted no time in spreading play to Jaco van der Walt, whose pop-pass inside to Darcy Graham was exquisite, with Johnstone on-hand once again to put the finishing touches to the move.
Morgan wasn’t to be outdone, however, as he snaffled an intercept to level things under the posts.
A Josh Lewis penalty gave the visitors their first lead of the match and it was one that they carried into the break.
The Dragons were given a warning early in the second half when Graham found open grass ahead before chipping into the goal area and entering a lightning foot-race with Will Talbot-Davies, but it was the bounce of the ball that won out in the end as it dribbled agonisingly across the dead-ball line.
Van der Walt made it 17-17 with a penalty, keeping up his imperious 100% record from the tee in the Guinness PRO14, his 21st successful effort on the spin.
And the hosts went back in front once more, Bradbury driving over under the posts, with Pierre Schoeman hanging off his shoulder from the pick-and-go.
They were desperate not to repeat past mistakes, fighting to extend their lead and getting their reward when Van der Merwe wriggled and rolled through a couple of Dragons tackles to escape attention and dot down.
Edinburgh took the sting out of things as they looked to keep hold of the ball with time running out, and van der Merwe added his second in the corner on the stroke of full-time to put a gloss to the scoreboard.
Tries: Johnstone 2, Bradbury, Van der Merwe 2
Cons: Van der Walt 3
Pen: Van der Walt
Tries: Morgan 2
Cons: Lewis 2
Edinburgh: 15 Dougie Fife, 14 Darcy Graham, 13 James Johnstone, 12 Chris Dean, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Jaco van der Walt, 9 Henry Pyrgos, 8 Viliame Mata, 7 Luke Crosbie, 6 Magnus Bradbury, 5 Ben Toolis, 4 Fraser McKenzie, 3 Pietro Ceccarelli, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 David Cherry, 17 Rory Sutherland, 18 Murray McCallum, 19 Callum Hunter-Hill, 20 Ally Miller, 21 Nathan Fowles, 22 Simon Hickey, 23 Juan Pablo Socino.
Dragons: 15 Jordan Williams, 14 Jared Rosser, 13 Tyler Morgan, 12 Jarryd Sage, 11 Will Talbot-Davies, 10 Josh Lewis, 9 Rhodri Williams, 8 James Benjamin, 7 Ollie Griffiths, 6 Harrison Keddie, 5 Matthew Screech, 4 Joe Davies, 3 Lloyd Fairbrother, 2 Richard Hibbard (captain), 1 Brok Harris.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Lawrence, 17 Rhys Fawcett, 18 Dan Suter, 19 Lewis Evans, 20 Taine Basham, 21 Rhodri Davies, 22 Gavin Henson, 23 Zane Kirchner.
Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Sam Grove-White (Scotland), Paul Haycock (Ireland)
TMO: Neil Paterson (Scotland)
An explosive display from the @EdinburghRugby flanker 💥
The all-action back row capped his injury return with a vital try to hand his side #GUINNESSPRO14 victory 🙌
— PRO14 RUGBY (@PRO14Official) February 15, 2019