Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues
Edinburgh Rugby were unable to take advantage of an 11-point lead with 20 minutes left on the clock, as two late tries from the visitors, Cardiff Blues, gave the Welsh outfit a one-point lead which the home side were unable to overcome.
A Neil Cochrane try, converted by Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, gave Edinburgh a 7-6 lead at the break with the visitors’ points coming through the boot of Steven Shingler.
Wing Rory Scholes scored a brace of tries in the opening 20 minutes of the second-half to give Hodge’s men a comfortable lead (17-6), but back-row Sion Bennett and scrum-half Lloyd Williams crossed the whitewash in the closing stages of the match to see the visitors snatch victory at the death.
Cardiff opened the scoring on seven minutes through a Shingler penalty following an Edinburgh ruck infringement (0-3).
The home side retaliated in fine fashion making a number of foray’s into the opposition’s 22, before their persistence paid dividends and Cardiff were reduced to 14-men as prop Anton Peikrishvili was shown a yellow-card for side entry at the maul.
Edinburgh did not hesitate to take advantage of their extra man as Neil Cochrane bundled over the whitewash just a minute later following a well-worked driving lineout maul. Hidalgo-Clyne successfully added the extras (7-3).
The visitors were quick to reply as Shingler added his second penalty of the night to reduce the home side’s lead to a point (7-6).
Cardiff were reduced to 14 men for the second time in the game on 29 minutes as lock Jarrad Hoeata was sent to the sidelines, again for a side entry.
This time, however, Edinburgh were unable to turn pressure into points and the visitors managed to withstand the ten minute period without leaking any further points.
HALF TIME: Edinburgh Rugby 7 – 6 Cardiff Blues
Edinburgh came out of the tunnel looking lively with dogged defence from Cornell Du Preez and Chris Dean forcing a Cardiff knock-on in their own 22 metre.
From the resulting scrum, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne released wing Scholes, who displayed incredible footwork to beat his opposite man and race into the corner for a sensational individual try. The scrum-half was unable to add the extras (12-6).
The duo linked-up just six minutes later as Hidalgo-Clyne exhibited some impressive peripheral vision to find Scholes on the blindside with the pass, the wing duly diving over to secure his brace. Hidalgo-Clyne was again unable to hit the target with the conversion (17-6).
However, the Blues were in a resilient mood and soon launched their comeback with a try on the hour mark through back-row Sion Bennett, with Shingler adding the extras (17-13).
The try was an indication of the momentum swing and the visitors found themselves with possession in another attacking position shortly after.
The Blues continued to crank-up the pressure before scrum-half Williams made the most of a penalty advantage in taking the decision to chip over the defensive line and collected the ball for the score. The conversion from directly in front of the uprights was charged down meaning the Blues held a one-point advantage going into the last 10 miuntes of the encounter (17-18).
Edinburgh were not willing to back down and Blair Kinghorn stepped-up for an extremely long-range penalty effort on 76 minutes, yet his attempt landed wide of the mark.
The home side recollected possession and continued to build phases in a bid to force the visitors into submission, yet their efforts failed to bear fruit as the final whistle was blown to bring an end to proceedings.
FULL TIME: Edinburgh Rugby 17 – 18 Cardiff Blues