Edinburgh hold on against hard-charging Bulls
URC MATCH REPORT: Edinburgh scored an important win when held out against a hard-charging Bulls team in their Round Four encounter on Saturday.
The teams scored one try each, but three first-half penalties by Edinburgh’s South African-born, Scottish flyhalf Jaco van der Walt proved to be the difference.
An early Henry Immelman try, another one of Edinburgh’s numerous South Africans, and the Van der Walt penalties gave the home team a 14-3 lead.
Try as they might, including a Marcell Coetzee try 10 minutes from time, the Bulls just could not close the gap.
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It was a grim tussle, but both teams showed plenty of character to make it a compelling contest.
Edinburgh snatched a seventh-minute lead when the first slick passage of play in the match led to Damien Hoyland setting up a Henry Immelman try with a well-weighted grubber.
The Bulls pulled three points back when Chris Smith bisected the posts after Stuart McInally was penalised for holding onto the ball on the deck.
Jaco van der Walt had missed the tricky conversion of Immelman’s early try, but he was on the money with three penalties in quick succession to make it 14-3 to the hosts at the break.
However, the Edinburgh No.10 then picked up a painful-looking shoulder injury whilst making a tackle during the last play of the first half and had to be replaced by James Johnstone, with James Lang moving inwards from centre to the stand-off slot.
Edinburgh twice had the Bulls in bother early in the second period, first after a searching kick from Mark Bennett, and then after a scything break from Johnstone, but could not make it count on the scoreboard.
A powerful Edinburgh scrum, immediately after the introduction of WP Nel at tight-head prop, earned a penalty for the home side, but Lang hit the post with his shot at goal.
With 10 minutes to go, Bulls captain Marcell Coetzee muscled in for the try, and Morne Steyn’s conversion made it 14-10, which was just a bit too close for comfort for the hosts.
But they showed good composure to get back in the strike zone and then earn a ruck penalty.
With Lang now off injured as well, Bennett stepped forward to take the shot at goal and made no mistake.
It looked like Madosh Tambwe had scored a try which would have set up a conversion to square it with five minutes to play, but referee Ben Whitehouse chalked it off for a double movement after a trip to the TMO.
Pens: Van der Walt 3, Bennett
For the Bulls
Edinburgh: 15 Henry Immelman, 14 Darcy Graham, 13 Mark Bennett, 12 James Lang, 11 Damien Hoyland, 10 Jaco van der Walt, 9 Charlie Shiel, 8 Viliame Mata, 7 Luke Crosbie, 6 Magnus Bradbury, 5 Grant Gilchrist (captain) 4 Marshall Sykes, 3 Luan de Bruin, 2 Stuart McInally, 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Dave Cherry, 17 Boan Venter, 18 WP Nel, 19 Pierce Phillips, 20 Mesu Kunavula, 21 Connor Boyle, 22 Ben Vellacott, 23 James Johnstone.
Bulls: 15 David Kriel, 14 Madosh Tambwe, 13 Cornal Hendricks, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 10 Chris Smith, 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Muller Uys, 7 Arno Botha, 6 Marcell Coetzee (captain), 5 Ruan Nortje, 4 Janko Swanepoel, 3 Robert Hunt, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Lizo Gqoboka.
Replacements: 16 Schalk Erasmus, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Jacques van Rooyen, 19 Walt Steenkamp, 20 Elrigh Louw, 21 Marco Jansen van Vuren, 22 Morne Steyn, 23 Lionel Mapoe.
Referee: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)
Assistant referees: Ben Blain (Scotland), Graeme Ormiston (Scotland)
TMO: Sean Brickell (Wales)