Benetton Rugby v Edinburgh
A hardy, physical Treviso side proved too strong for Edinburgh tonight in north Italy, securing a 21-6 victory at Stadio di Monigo.
Tries from Robert Barbieri and Angelo Esposito gave the Italians a solid platform to build, with stand-off Ian McKinley proving exceptional with the boot and adding a further 11 points from the kicking-tee.
Edinburgh’s points came from the boot of McKinley’s opposite number, Jason Tovey, who kicked two penalties for six points.
The loss for Hodge’s charges sees them retain ninth spot in the table. However Dragons and tonight’s opposition, Treviso, have closed the gap in the standings and now trail Edinburgh by two and four points respectively going into the penultimate round of championship fixtures.
Edinburgh dominated possession in the opening exchanges, but found it difficult to break down a resolute home defence.
Damien Hoyland came close to making the breakthrough on 24 minutes, collecting the ball in the backfield and making a scintillating break through the guts of the opposition, only to be brought down metres from the line.
His efforts, however, were rewarded as Treviso were penalised at the next phase and Tovey slotted the kick to put Edinburgh ahead (0-3).
McKinley provided his side’s reply with a successful penalty just two minutes later, before putting the Italian outfit ahead with another strike from the tee on the half-hour mark (3-6).
With momentum in their favour, the home-side started to crank up the pressure on their visitors as the interval approached.
A series of scrum penalties on Edinburgh’s line eventually provided the home-side the platform to score the first try of the game on 35 minutes, with number eight Robert Barbieri picking the ball from the back of the scrum and pouncing over the whitewash. McKinley made no mistake with the conversion to give his side a 13-3 lead.
HALF-TIME | Treviso 13 – 3 Edinburgh Rugby
McKinley maintained his 100% kicking record as he slotted a further penalty immediately after the break (16-3).
Edinburgh rallied in the following ten minutes, building possession within metres of the opposition line. A Phil Burleigh break nearly resulted in a try, yet the final offload to the supporting Glenn Bryce was intercepted bringing an abrupt end to the promising attack.
Edinburgh were awarded a penalty at the subsequent phased and Tovey duly kicked his second penalty of the game to close the gap to 10-points in the favour of the home side.
The half-back’s effort was soon nulled, however, as Treviso’s reply came through a well-worked team try, which was finished out wide by wing Esposito. McKinley failed to convert as the game entered the final quarter (21-6).
Both sides had attacking chances as the game became fraught, yet neither were able to capitalise on possession as the error count continued to rise.
The referee, Frank Murphy, referred two Treviso touchdowns to the TMO in the final ten minutes, both of which were disallowed; initially for a lack of grounding and secondly for a forward pass in the build-up to the player crossing the whitewash.
FULL-TIME | Treviso 21 – 6 Edinburgh Rugby