Edinburgh 50 – 10 Treviso
Crowds are up, the temperature is down and Tim Visser is doing what he always does: scoring tries.
On a night when Michael Bradley struggled to explain what Edinburgh had learned against an Aironi side that could not cope with the physicality and breaking ability of Edinburgh the real positives are that they finally have a big win in the RaboDirect Pro12 this term and that Tim Visser looks like he could score regardless of which team is in front of him. He scored a hat trick last night, but could have had more.
“[This season] I’ve scored eight tries in the Rabo and two in the Heineken Cup.” The winger accounted.
“The [Scotland] chat started a long time ago since I started doing well in my first season. It doesn’t really affect me to be completely honest because I’m concentrating on Edinburgh whilst I can’t play for Scotland.”
Concentrating or not, it was one of those evening’s where a finisher like Visser was always going to have chances to score. If this perhaps sounds a little harsh on Edinburgh’s Italian opposition then you only had to see the first try of the night to understand that it was not going to go their way.
6 minutes in Greig Laidlaw lined up a kick directly in front of the posts but over 40m away. He looked to have taken a garden hoe to the driving range as he clipped his kick short. It spun in the air, dropping a couple of paces away from the bar, but the Aironi line seemed not to be paying attention. The ball bounced through hands and onto the ground in front of Nick De Luca who crashed onto it. It was sent left by a few players and David Denton thrust out a massive hand to clear space for himself, diving over for his first Edinburgh try as Aironi realised that they were in for a long night.
Denton careered into contact all match, as did Lozada, but it was when Harry Leonard picked his runners and one of many defensive holes that Edinburgh looked like scoring.
Visser’s first try came from a break out run from Leonard and simple hands from his support. De Luca hung out a gorgeous pass for the Dutchman and he ran on to it, blurring past opponents. His second try came from a blind-starting loop –the same loop he has scored from all season –and Edinburgh were 21-0 up after 16 minutes.
Aironi flirted with nipping back, scoring from a charged down kick 5m out. The reply came from a position that dangerous 9 Tito Tebaldi worked them into, but a little later the very same player killed a ball under the posts that King was trying to unleash and Aironi’s one creative back was sent to the bin. Laidlaw kicked the penalty.
Just before the half Denton was himself yellow carded but by then Nick De Luca had scored a bonus point try from good Edinburgh running in the 22 and this contest looked over. In the first 40 minutes Edinburgh had exercised the demon of their 13-12 loss to Aironi in September. 31-5.
After the break, though, there was 10 minutes of Edinburgh trying to score off of every phase. Their tails were up and they could afford to smile a little. Substitutions came in. Houston replaced De Luca and eventually the whole front row, who had bossed the set scrummage, were allowed to put their feet up.
Tim Visser was not going to miss his chance to best a brace, though.
As phase after phase crashed into Aironi’s aqua marine defensive wall Harry Leonard drifted a little wider than he normally would. He was numbers down and had only two men on his outside but luckily one of those men was a Tim Visser high on confidence and when Leonard chipped over the top the number 11 raced past the cover to score his third and Edinburgh’s fifth, making it 38-5 and already a rout.
5 minutes from time Aironi scored with a final whimper through flanker Ferrarini, but not before the capital side scored twice more: once from a beautifully weighted crossfield kick that left Phil Godman’s boot and landed in a racing Lee Jones’ bread basket, and once from Chris Leck taking an offload off of the deck from Visser.
Edinburgh had score half a century of points and everyone left the stadium with a reinforced belief in one magical winger.
“He is playing very well, enjoying his rugby as well and enjoying playing with the guys he is playing with,” Bradley claimed. “Edinburgh are a dangerous side when they are in this sort of mood.”
They are indeed, but Visser and his cohorts will have to be in similar mood down in Cardiff if they are to have any hope of progressing to the knockout stages of the Heineken Cup. Edinburgh are freely scoring against Aironi but they need a point at least down in Wales against a team also unbeaten in Europe. The fans are out in force because they expect.
Edinburgh: Paterson; Jones, De Luca, King, Visser; Leonard, Laidlaw; Jacobsen, Cross, Gilchrist, Lozada, Cox, Grant, denton.
Subs: Lawrie, Traynor, Niven, Talei, Rennie, Leck, Godman, Houston.
Aironi: Trevisan; Sinoti, Pratichetti, Pizzaro, Venditti; Olivier, Tebaldi; De Marchi, Santamaria, Staibano, Geldenhuys, Biagi, Cattina, Ferrarini, Sole.
Subs: D’Apice, Perugini, Romano, Bortolami, Viljoen, Keats, Pavan, Toniolatti.
Referee: John Lacey (IRFU)