Edinburgh score nine in Kings win

Edinburgh’s start to 2020 hit cloud nine as the capital side ran in nine scores – six of those in the second-half – to secure a convincing bonus-point win over Conference B rivals Southern Kings at BT Murrayfield.

In an often turgid encounter, which saw play stop and start due to an abundance of penalties at the breakdown, the capital eventually showed their class with a flurry of end-to-end scores to add some polish to the scoreline.

The match elevates Edinburgh to the summit of Guinness PRO14 Conference B – three points clear of second place Scarlets – with the capital side now turning their attention the final two rounds of Challenge Cup pool stage action.

Pieter Scholtz’s early red card undermined Kings’ positive start, and despite tries from Erich Cronje and JT Jackson, home scores from Mike Willemse, Duhan van der Merwe, Matt Scott, James Johnstone, Eroni Sau, Dave Cherry, Charlie Shiel, Mark Bennett and a penalty try sealed victory for the hosts.

Edinburgh have now been beaten just once in nine in all competitions and leapfrog Scarlets at the top of Conference B, while defeat leaves the South Africans with just one win to their name in 2019/20.

It was a hotly contested start to proceedings at BT Murrayfield, and both Nick Haining and Jackson were subjected to big hits in the opening minutes as both sides looked to gain the ascendency.

Kings looked full of energy from the off and they were the first to get on the scoreboard when Cronje latched on to Jackson’s sumptuous cross-field kick to dot down inside 10 minutes.

But the visitors’ joy was short-lived, when Scholtz was shown a red card just three minutes later for striking John Barclay in the throat.

And the hosts immediately made the most of their one-man advantage, Willemse bulldozing over in his first match against his old side, with Jaco van der Walt converting to give Edinburgh the lead after quarter-of-an-hour.

Despite the momentum now seemingly in Edinburgh’s favour, the away side fought back valiantly, and Jackson restored their advantage with his boot after Lewis Carmichael was penalised under the posts.

With the half-hour mark looming however, South African star van der Merwe made his first real contribution to the game for Edinburgh, producing an individual piece of brilliance to evade the Southern Kings defence and go over in the corner for his fifth Guinness PRO14 score this season.

Just three minutes later, a glorious offload from Sau set up Scott who finished off smartly in the corner to give Richard Cockerill’s men some breathing space, but there was still time for Jackson to go over before the break to leave everything to play for in the second half.

But within five minutes of the restart Edinburgh had secured the bonus point, Johnstone being left with an easy finish after Blair Kinghorn had drawn Jackson into a challenge on the right flank, with van der Walt converting to hand the hosts a 13-point lead with 33 minutes to go.

With only 27 minutes left on the clock, the Kings’ task got even harder when they were reduced to 13 men as a result of De-Jay Terblanche going off injured, and despite battling bravely, Edinburgh eventually broke through for their fifth score with a penalty try in the 67th minute.

A yellow card for Aston Fortuin reduced Robbi Kempson’s men to 12 temporarily, and Sau capitalised with a great finish with ten minutes left, before Cherry, Siel and Bennett added gloss to the scoreline.

live commentary 7:45 PM Saturday 4 Jan 2020

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Kick-off 7:45 PM

Edinburgh

Kings

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