Edinburgh Rugby vs Dragons Rugby, Fri, 27/11/2015 - 19:35

Edinburgh Rugby celebrated their first bonus-point win of the season with a dominant display against Dragons on their return to Guinness PRO12 action at BT Murrayfield tonight (32-13).

The home side played some enterprising rugby in attack and were resolute in defence - first up tackles in particular making them a force to be reckoned with - as the pack put in a power of work.

In a controlled first-half, a try from prolific prop Willem Nel and the boot of scrum-half Sam Hidalgo-Clyne put the hosts 13-6 to the good at the stroke of half-time.

That said it was case of could, and should, have been more come the close of the first 40; with wing Tom Brown knocking on a gilt-edged opportunity and Nel having a second touchdown chalked off as the interval beckoned.

The second-half saw more of the same from the men in black and red, whose dominance in the pack - and the scrum in particular - started to yield a number of penalties, and subsequently a string of yellow cards for the Welshmen.

A total of four Dragons were given their marching orders for infringing as Edinburgh turned the screw, with credit due for first putting their opponents in a place where they felt the need to infringe, and second for capitalising on the resulting overlap; Alasdair Dickinson, Tom Brown and Matt Scott all crossing the whitewash for a well earned-win in the capital.

Match report...

Edinburgh opened the scoring after what was effectively their first chance to showcase their increasingly renowned physicality, winning a penalty at scrum time, which Hidalgo-Clyne converted (3-0).

The hosts looked set to build on this score shortly after, when a fine offload from back-row John Hardie kept the ball alive and saw it move to stand-off Phil Burleigh.

The New Zealander’s deft chip landed in behind the Dragons’ rushing left wing, where it was knocked on by opposite man Tom Brown as he raced through and tried to scoop up the ball at pace on the 22; with a run in a near certainty were he to collect it successfully.

Edinburgh’s frustrations were then compounded when the visitors were awarded a scrum penalty, allowing Dorian Jones to level matters from just outside their 22 after quarter of an hour (3-3).

The men in black and red showed no sign of aggravation, however, and rampaged downfield just three minutes later, where they were duly rewarded for their commitment to crossing the paint.

Burleigh broke through and offloaded to Du Preez, forcing Dragons to infringe at the breakdown deep in their 22. Not perturbed, Edinburgh kicked for a 5m lineout and piled on the pressure.

The home side’s powerhouse pack then rumbled over the five metre line, where Nel dove over from short range.

Hidalgo-Clyne added the extras with a fine conversion from out wide to extend the home side’s lead (10-3).

Edinburgh appeared to have done their homework on the Dragons’ rush defence, with Burleigh putting another well-weighted chip over top and in behind the Welshman, only for the knock on demons to strike back-row Mike Coman on the opposite wing.

Then, as the game approached the half hour mark, Hidalgo-Clyne – with a penalty coming – went for broke at the 5m line.

After being shut down by a Dragons brick wall, he duly struck the close range kick before Jones hit back with one of his own, keeping the visitors in contention (13-6).

As the half ticked on Edinburgh continued to knock at the door as they sought out a second score to celebrate before the interval.

A superb passage of play saw the ball go through the hands with purpose; a gliding break from Burleigh combined with fine footwork from replacement full-back Blair Kinghorn, before centre Matt Scott straightened up, passed inside to Toolis, who then offered the ball out the back door to Nel to touch down with an outstretched arm.

Unfortunately for the home side, referee Marius Mitrea referred the act of scoring to TMO Jim Yuille, who subsequently ruled out the try as a double movement.

Half-time: Edinburgh Rugby 13-6 Dragons

In a demonstration of things to come, Edinburgh opened the second-half with penalty-yielding scrum just outside their 22 – which earned a yellow card for prop Boris Stankovich – and allowed Kinghorn to clear the ball up to the opposition 10m line, where they continued to attack.

Edinburgh continued to press the Dragons' defence as they edged into their 22 but they could not find the decisive maneuver to breach the line.

However such an opportunity was presented by a Dragons knock in the tackle, as Edinburgh attacked, which gave the hosts the platform to win another scrum penalty.

The pack opted to re-scrum, ultimately securing another penalty which resulted in another yellow card, this time for Phil Price who had not long arrived for the sin-binned Stankovich.

Disappointing for the hosts, however, was the fact that, after successfully claiming the 5m lineout, the big men couldn’t pile the maul over from short range, while the backs cried out for width, with the Welshmen down to 13.

It didn’t take long for Edinburgh to capitalise on the man advantage however, as they went from wing to wing in their efforts to cross the paint and make a bid for the all-important bonus point.

Lock Alex Toolis showed good hands with a fine offload out the tackle, as the ball was shipped wide, before Alasdair Dickinson collected the ball out wide and strode out the tackle and over the line.

The Dragons' frustrations were compounded when – having just conceded – they lost Jones to a yellow card for tip tackling Toolis in the build up to the score, all while Hidalgo-Clyne converted with another superb kick (20-6).

With two tries to go it was clear that Edinburgh were intent on going for the jugular.

Exploiting the scrum dominance that had been evident throughout it was the maul that then earned a penalty.

Smelling blood, Edinburgh kicked and mauled once more.

It was here that Dragons picked up an astonishing fourth yellow, this time for Nic Cudd, who was forced to infringe as Edinburgh bulldozed into the 22.

The hosts then kicked the penalty for touch once again, allowing the pack to maul the collected ball to the 5m line, sapping the Dragons with repeated pick and goes before flashing the ball to short-side winger Tom Brown (25-6).

Edinburgh continued to threaten, even from deep, as Will Helu raced free from his own 22, only to run out of steam agonisingly close to the Dragons try-line.

However centre Matt Scott ensured they were not made to suffer the fate of a thee-try win, latching on to the ball after a superb snipe and break from replacement scrum-half Sean Kennedy, to score the all-important try, which Kinghorn converted (32-6).

The Dragons were to have the last say in the match with a consolation try from Cudd, though it mattered not to the outcome of the game, as the conversion sailed through the posts to the sound of the final whistle, signaling the completion of a job well done in the capital.

Full-time: Edinburgh Rugby (13) 32-13 (6) Dragons

Edinburgh Rugby: 15 Greig Tonks; 14 Tom Brown, 13 Chris Dean, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Will Helu; 10 Phil Burleigh, 9 Sam Hidlago-Clyne; 1 Alasdair Dickinson, 2 Ross Ford, 3 Willem Nel, 4 Alex Toolis, 5 Fraser McKenzie, 6 Mike Coman, 7 John Hardie, 8 Cornell Du Preez. Substitutes: 16 Neil Cochrane on for Ford (73’), 17 Rory Sutherland on for Dickinson (73’), 18 John Andress on for Nel (73’), 19 Jamie Ritchie, 20 Hamish Watson on for Hardie (65’), 21 Sean Kennedy on for Hidalgo-Clyne (76'), 22 Michael Allen on for Burleigh (74’), 23 Blair Kinghorn on for Tonks (29’).

Dragons: 15 Carl Meyer, 14 Tom Prydie, 13 Adam Hughes, 12 Adam Warren, 11 Ashton Hewitt; 10 Dorian Jones, 9 Chrlies Davies; 1 Boris Stankovich, 2 Elliot Dee, 3 Shaun Knight, 4 Matthew Screech, 5 Rynard Landman CAPTAIN, 6 Nick Crosswell, 7 Ollie Griffiths, 8 Ed Jackson. Substitutes: 16 Rhys Thomas, 17 Phil Price, 18 Lloyd Fairbrother, 19 Cory Hill, 20 Nic Cudd, 21 Sarel Pretorius, 22 Jason Toby, 23 Ross Wardle.

Referee: Marius Mitrea (FIR)

Team lineups

Edinburgh Rugby
Dragons Rugby

Backs

Backs

15 Carl Meyer
14 Tom Prydie
13 Adam Hughes
12 Adam Warren
11 Ashton Hewitt
10 Dorian Jones
9 Charlie Davies

Forwards

1 Boris Stankovich
2 Elliot Dee
3 Shaun Knight
4 Matthew Screech
5 Rynard Landman
6 Nick Crosswell
7 Ollie Griffiths
8 Ed Jackson

Substitutes

16 Thomas Rhys Thomas
17 Phil Price
18 Lloyd Fairbrother
19 Cory Hill
20 Nic Cudd
21 Sarel Pretorius
22 Jason Tovey
23 Ross Wardle
Attendance: 
3 354
Man of the match: 
Willem Nel

GUINNESS PRO12 2015/16 table

PosTeamPWLDPts
1Leinster 22166073
2Connacht 22157073
3Glasgow Warriors22147172
4Ulster22148069
5Munster22139063
6Scarlets22148063
7Cardiff Blues221111056
8Ospreys221110155
9Edinburgh Rugby221111054
10Dragons Rugby22418026
11Zebre22517024
12Benetton Treviso22319020