Capital club beat Romania in Melrose belter

The suggestion that, as Romania are 19th in the world of international rugby tonight’s 31-16 win at the Greenyards would put Edinburgh at 18th in the World Rugby rankings brought a wry smile to head coach Alan Solomons’ lips.

He said: “I’m happy with the fact that we got a result, which is always good, because success generates confidence, but you could see we were very rusty.

“The good thing is we gave everybody game time. There are areas we’ve got to work on but that’s our very first hit-out this season so it’s good to get the win.”

A 1300-strong crowd at the Greenyards enjoyed some great end-to-end rugby including a hat-trick of tries from man of the match Roddy Grant.

He said: “It’s always nice to come down to Melrose – it’s a good stadium, a good ground and a great crowd.

“It wasn’t the performance we wanted  - the first game of the season is always scrappy, a bit too many errors, but it’s always good going into next week’s training having won rather than lost.

“It was great to see the younger players getting game time and they’re going to have a huge part to play going into the Rugby World Cup. It’s a big thing getting a first game in the jersey for Edinburgh and all of them did really well.”

Edinburgh set out their stall early on, despite a missed penalty from Fowles in the opening minutes, with sustained pressure and nippy footwork from Burleigh and Dean, however it was Romania who went 0-3 ahead after the visitors won the penalty.

Halfway through the first half, however, captain Roddy Grant crashed over from short range for the first try to edge Edinburgh ahead.

Buoyed by the score, three minutes later the forces of Burleigh, Brown, Ritchie and Cochrane combined to put back row Cornell Du Preez over the whitewash and this time Fowles nailed the kick.

A hiccup towards the end of the first half, with issues in the scrum, saw Edinburgh pinged and Romania make the yards for their first score.

Just shy of the break, however, good work from Dean and Burleigh again forced the errors from Romania and Grant went over for a mirror image of his first score to make it 17-6 at half time.

With Romania fielding an almost completely changed side for the second half, Edinburgh found themselves adjusting their style and, after a hugely physical opening ten minutes, lock Anton Bresler was sent to the sin bin for a late tackle.

A man down, Romania took full advantage and were nearly over the line had it not been for a try-saving tackle from Tom Brown. The score was always on, however, and Romania crossed shortly after, with the conversion, to make it 17-13.

With Edinburgh under the cosh they gave away another penalty to close the gap to 17-16. However that man Grant replied in style barely a minute later, putting Te Rure over with the stand-off himself adding the extras in front of the posts, to make it 24-16.

Two minutes from the whistle it was Grant again, crossing for his hat-trick, Te Rure finding the space between the sticks once more to make the final score 31-16.

With all players getting game time and prop Jack Cosgrove, alongside this week’s new signings Murdo McAndrew and Otulea Katoa, with Scotland 7s' James Johnstone, getting their first taste of the new black and red jersey, there’s plenty to build on in advance of next week’s fixture.

Ulster, a team Edinburgh know well, will provide a different battle for to-knights victors, however, in what – based on this evening’s attacking style – will be a match not to miss at Goldenacre.

Edinburgh Rugby take on Ulster on Friday 28 August at Heriot’s RC, Goldenacre, kick-off 6.30pm.