Edinburgh Rugby vs Zebre, Fri, 01/04/2016 - 19:35

The white-knuckle ride that’s Edinburgh’s journey to reach the top six in the Guinness PRO12 showed no signs of slowing down tonight at BT Murrayfield as the home side took the bonus point win in the last minute after a nerve-wracking first 40 minutes.

Following the whistle head coach Alan Solomons said: “At half time I said to the boys you have forty minutes to save your season.

“As the game went on we got better and better, and we got the critical bonus point.

“For me, I thought Jason Tovey was outstanding for us. He gave us direction, he kicked magnificently, he’s a really good distributer of the ball, had a couple of great breaks and had a really good game.”

It was new recruit Tovey - eventual Guinness PRO12 man of the match - who got the first points on the board after a tense opening fifteen minutes which saw captain Mike Coman, in his 50th appearance, leave the field after seven minutes. Twenty-year-old Magnus Bradbury was his replacement and the former Scotland age grade player made his mark immediately, putting in some big hits and hard graft in defence.

Zebre had looked likely to be the first to score, after starting strongly and subjecting their hosts to an onslaught of driving and rolling mauls took them within five metres of the whitewash.

The home side held firm, however, forcing mistakes and eventually getting the first chance at the sticks. From the halfway line, stand-off Tovey lined up the kick which sailed effortlessly between the uprights to make it 3-0.

After some clinical kicking from hand to work Edinburgh back up the field, a solid line break seemed to have put Michael Allen over by the posts, just after the 20-minute mark, but the last pass was adjudged to be forward.

Zebre pressed ahead and took advantage of knock-ons and missed passes but weren’t able to capitalise on their opportunities. Just shy of half time, however, it seemed hooker Fabiani had put the visitors ahead but his try was ruled out when referee Leighton Hodges judged the home side had been obstructed.

Things continued in a nervy manner until almost the last quarter of the game. After being pinged at the breakdown, and Zebre missing the ensuing penalty, Edinburgh stepped on the gas. After a a sloppy clearance from the visitors, substitute scrum-half Hidalgo-Clyne chipped through to Hoyland who used his football skills to see the ball over the whitewash and charge down on it to claim the score which Tovey quickly converted.

In under five minutes, Hoyland had completed his brace. Good hands and numbers saw the ball go wide and dotted down in the corner. Again Tovey’s boot didn’t let him or his new team down and it was 17-0.

With the visitors tiring visibly, Hidalgo-Clyne then broke from the back of the ruck and dived over the line, Tovey again slotting the conversion to make it 24-0 approaching the 70 minute mark.

The clock ticking down, a bonus point seemed a bridge too far as the advantage went back and forth. Edinburgh dug in, however, and camped on the Zebre line going into the last few minutes, flanker Hamish Watson the power in the pack as ever. Pick and goes over and over in overtime eventually saw Alex Toolis reap the rewards to make it 29-0 and a bonus point win for the home side.


Edinburgh now lie fifth in the table, with no game next week but the prospect of a trip to the RDS the week after, for the third last game in the league, where a tougher test awaits.

Team lineups

Edinburgh Rugby
Zebre

Backs

15 Kayle Van Zyl
14 Ulrich Beyers
13 Tommaso Boni
12 Matteo Pratichetti
11 Leonardo Sarto
10 Kelly Haimona
9 Guglielmo Palazzani

Forwards

1 Andrea Lovotti
2 Oliviero Fabiani
3 Dario Chistolini
4 Quintin Geldenhuys
5 Marco Bortolami
6 Jean Cook
7 Federico Ruzza
8 Johan Meyer

Substitutes

16 Bruno Postiglioni
17 Guillermo Roan
18 Pietro Ceccarelli
19 Gideon Koegelenberg
20 Emiliano Caffini
21 Luke Burgess
22 Carlo Canna
23 Giulio Bisegni
Attendance: 
3 779
Man of the match: 
Jason Tovey

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