Edinburgh beat the Blues to stay top

In a tightly-contested and turgid affair, Edinburgh brought their undefeated run at home to double figures as they beat Welsh outfit Cardiff Blues under the lights of BT Murrayfield.

This 10th game undefeated leaves Edinburgh seven points clear at the top of the Guinness PRO14 Conference B, with the capital club set for a two-week tour of South Africa against Southern Kings and Cheetahs.

A George Taylor try followed later by a penalty from Simon Hickey would’ve put the hosts in a good position towards the break but two penalties from Welsh fly-half Jason Tovey left the visitors uncomfortably close with a half-time score-line of 8-6.

The second half was a slow-burner, with no points being added until the 72nd minute, when Hickey added a second penalty to widen the gap.

The second half was a slow-burner, with no points being added until the 72nd minute, when Hickey added a second penalty to widen the gap.

With the total points being shared between only three players, it would be Hickey again who left the final stamp on the game, with a third penalty right before full-time to make it 14-6 to the home side on the final whistle.

Edinburgh were moving tactically from the get-go, piling relentless attacks onto the Blues defence. However, the visitors were no pushovers, flexing their counter-attacking prowess as they slowly progressed towards the Edinburgh try-line. They were the first to draw blood this match, as a ten minute penalty allowed fly-half Jason Tovey to put the ball between the sticks, putting them 0-3 up.

However, the ball had barely been in play again before Edinburgh snapped back. Simon Hickey’s kick from the restart was collected by Dan Fish, who let loose with his own boot. George Taylor saw this coming though, and charged it down, blocking the kick, gathering himself and making it across the whitewash for a spectacular response from the capital side. [5-3]

Unfortunately, this was as far as Taylor’s game would go this time, as he was brought off the field minutes later with his arm in a makeshift sling, making way for replacement Chris Dean.

It was end-to-end play from here on out, with some great phases from both sides – and names like Duhan van der Merwe and Damien Hoyland carrying well for Edinburgh. There were a couple of false starts, as both Edinburgh and Cardiff penalties either hit the woodwork or went wide. Simon Hickey got it right in his second try though, as the whistle went for an Edinburgh penalty in the 31st minute, and the New Zealander slotted the kick for his first points of the match. [8-3]

Unfortunately, it was the visitors who had the final say of the first half. A long phase of play based deep in Edinburgh territory culminated in a Cardiff penalty, which Jason Tovey stepped up to take. The kick was a simple one, and sure enough the Welshman punted it for the three points, leaving the score-line at 8-6 as the players headed for the tunnel.

It was a tense affair from the restart this time, with both clubs vying for dominance over a match that thus far, was proving to be a true tug-of-war for any real control.

Cardiff point-hauler Jason Tovey was taken off just eight minutes into the half after a huge collision with Pierre Schoeman, and this proved to be a dent in the armour of the Welsh side, as Edinburgh began driving their way towards the line, with the likes of Schoeman and Luke Crosbie offering powerful individual efforts.

Both defences were proving tough nuts to crack, with no real chances developing for either side, and a lot of broken-up play as scrums and stoppages dominated much of the game. Replacements for both teams came and went, as the match clock ticked into its final 20 minutes.

It would be well into the 72nd minute before the first points of the half were claimed. They came in the form of a Simon Hickey penalty, after an Edinburgh advantage was called, when Duhan van der Merwe was bundled into touch after a cross-field kick. Hickey stepped up and hit the target from some ways out, putting a five-point gap between them and the visitors as Edinburgh’s points tally finally reached double figures. [11-6]

There were still points to be taken from this fixture though, as a trademark Hickey kick-and-chase gained Edinburgh massive ground. A swift penalty followed, with the posts right in front. Of course, Hickey was willing to go for goal, and a conclusive three points were added, as the final whistle went just a minute later, bringing the curtain down on a match that ended 14-6.

live commentary 7:35 PM Friday 28 Feb 2020

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Kick-off 7:35 PM

Edinburgh

Cardiff Blues

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