Another big win for Edinburgh under Cockerill
South Africa’s Southern Kings made their long trip North to Myreside for Friday night’s PRO14 match to be greeted by a typical cold, wet Edinburgh winter’s day.
And the first 20, or so minutes of the match were matched by the weather as both sides struggled to get going on the soggy pitch, with a slew of penalties and handling ‘problems’ keeping the crowd somewhat underwhelmed.
Edinburgh had an early break, but it was the visiting side who looked more dangerous, however those handling errors, coupled by a strong home defence, stopped them getting over the line to open the scoring.
However, the first real chance at scoring came the way of the Kings around 10 minutes in, but stand off, Kurt Coleman pulled his penalty attempt wide.
The first real chance of scoring for the home side came just before the 20 minute mark, and involved a break from defence by full back. Blair Kinghorn, but, just as they were about to sail through to the try line, his pass out to ‘new start’, Mark Bennett, was dropped by the centre just outside the 22.
With handling being an issue for both teams, Edinburgh gradually worked their way back into the game and put together a string of moves which ended with a penalty award in the left corner. However, the subsequent rolling maul fell foul of the referee and the visitors cleared their lines.
With the greasy ball seemingly a continuing issue, the next penalty Edinburgh were awarded was pointed at goal and stand off, Jaco van der Walt duly obliged with a three-pointer for the lead.
The home side were managing the conditions better by this time and were now in the driving seat, keeping the Kings pinned into their own half for most of the time. The first try of the match came from this continued pressure as Grant Gilchrist used all of his height to charge down a clearance from the visitors’ Rudi van Rooyen and then used all of his footballing skills to dribble the ball over the line and dive on it for a try in the corner. With the kick missed, it was now 8-0 to Edinburgh with just over 10 minutes of the half remaining.
Less than two minutes later, another, converted this time, try opened up the gap to 15-0 as the South Africans seemed still aghast at Gilchrist’s footballing skills. Again, Kinghorn got the play rolling with another break over half way, but this time there were no dropped balls and he raced through to collect centre, Chris Dean’s, chip kick and dive over for the second try. Van der Walt successfully converted this time and the home side were now beginning to dominate proceedings, both on the score board and on the field of play.
It took Edinburgh 10 minutes to open the second half scoring, following an early bought of pressure from the visitors, which came to naught, before the home side set about the task of winning the game. A penalty from van der Walt on the 50 minute mark saw the score out to 18-0 before another try off some fancy footwork from the backs was chalked up. Running the opposition defence ragged, the home side drove deep into the 22, before van der Walt slid a neat grubber through into the goal area for his countryman, Duhan van der Merwe to run onto and dot down for the third try on the night. Van der Walt then converted the touchline kick for 25-0.
By now the game was being played, mostly, deep in the Southern King’s half, with the back division of Edinburgh running rampant all over the place, but it wasn’t until the 71st minute – and after a heavy shower of hailstones – that Edinburgh added to their points tally. A penalty kicked for touch was kept close by the pack, but they were forced sideways by the opposition. It’ wasn’t until the whole affair had crabbed halfway across the pitch that the home side got some purchase and drove forward, allowing sub, Cameron Fenton, to fall over the line for the bonus-point try. Van der Walt then chipped the simple conversion over for the extras and 30-0.
On the 74th minute, King’s full back, Ntabeni Dukisa nipped into the corner for a try, which he converted, but it was immediately back to the script for Edinburgh and their fifth try was scored by wing, Dougie Fife, who followed up on a fumble by the opposition on their try line to score. Van der Walt then kicked another touchline conversion for 37-0 and a hard fought win for the home side in trying conditions.
Images from the match will appear here over the next few days