Edinburgh 41-10 Zebre

Edinburgh recorded a comprehensive victory against Italian new boys Zebre without ever having to raise their game beyond first gear. 

Zebre, who replaced the now defunct Aironi, took to the field with a smattering of familiar faces with Mauro Bergamasco, Tito Tebaldi and Josh Sole amongst their ranks, but the majority would have been unknown to most of the 3541 watching on.  The game started as a scrappy with both sides turning ball over or throwing inaccurate passes straight into touch, it was hardly the sort of rugby that gets the blood pumping.  Despite the scrappy nature Edinburgh looked to have the edge and on 5 minutes the visitors were pinged for not releasing in the tackle and Laidlaw, from about 45 metres, was able to give the hosts a 3 point advantage.

The game continued in a scrappy manner, generally bogged down in midfield as neither side could string together any incisive play.  An ill advised drop goal attempt from Laidlaw was charged down by Tito Tebaldi and had he had anything resembling pace he may have put Edinburgh in real trouble.  Unfortunately for the Italians it is probably fair to say Tebaldi’s game is not built on pace and he wasn’t able to capitalise on the loose ball.  The game was finally lit up when an Edinburgh break burst through the Zebre line and Cox was quick to provide support and had the easy task of dotting down near the posts.  Laidlaw had a simple conversion and Edinburgh had a 10 point advantage.

Zebre responded with a penalty of their own a few minutes later however they never were in a position to put Edinburgh under any real pressure.  Laidlaw converted another try and just before half time Edinburgh put the pressure on at a Zebre scrum on their own 5m line.  Edinburgh demolished the Italian scrum and, with a penalty in the offing, the hosts spun the ball wide through the hands where a grateful Visser was waiting for the easy task of finishing the move off.  Again Laidlaw was solid with the boot and as they team went up the tunnel at half time Edinburgh had a 17 point advantage.

To be honest the game looked over, even at that stage. However any doubts over the result were laid to rest early in the second half.  A fantastic break by Matt Scott took Edinburgh deep into Zebre territory and as Edinburgh recycled the ball quickly the ball came back infield where Ross Ford was able to stroll in.  With the conversion slotted away Edinburgh led 27-3.

Things went from bad to worse as the visiting captain, Quintin Geldenhuys, was sin binned for a high tackle on  Lee Jones.  From there on Zebre faded as an attacking force and Edinburgh were able to be forceful in the attack.  This was no more evident when Zebre, yet again, were having to hold their scrum on their own 5m.  The scrum creaked, collapsed, reset, creaked, collapsed, reset, creaked, collapsed until the referee had no option but to give the penalty try.

Zebre finally got a bit of joy late in the game when Sinoti gathered quick scrum ball and dotted down for a score and a bit of respectability.  However their joy was short lived.  Zebre lost the ball in the Edinburgh half and Visser punted the ball up to the other end.  There was 2 or 3 men between Visser and the ball but he applied the afterburners and collected his own kick and dotted down.  With the conversion good the game ended 41-10.

A solid Edinburgh performance which will give them a lot of confidence going forward.  I do fear for Zebre though, they looked a fair bit off the pace and they may struggle to be competitive in their debut season.

Alan Kerr is a long time rugby lover and occasional player for Broughton FP RFC. Site co-founder Al prides himself on offering the "man on the bus" view of Scottish Rugby!

One comment on “Edinburgh 41-10 Zebre

  1. Rudderchumb on

    Well played lads! Really looking like they could challenge for the Pro12 title with that squad now. Keep it up!

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