With conditions somewhere on the wrong side of rotten at a damp and empty BT Murrayfield, it was therefore surprising that Edinburgh sprung into life from the kick off for an opening try before even a minute was on the clock.
Jack Cuthbert fielded a high kick, broke a few tackles and a nice offload with Greig Tonks and a great take and give from the fullback-cum-standoff put Sam Hidalgo-Clyne into enough space to run round his man for the try. The young scrum-half continued the vein of form that had seen him Man of the Match last time out against London Welsh by converting his own try.
With Italian teams often barely getting off the plane – especially if they look out the window and it’s dreich – Edinburgh had a clear chance to put their season back on track, and they maintained pressure patiently with some nice kicking from hand, powerful running and surprisingly deft handling in the rain that Treviso found hard to live with.
By the half an hour mark Edinburgh had a good lead thanks to two penalties from Hidalgo-Clyne and another try, this time from a lineout drive that Mike Coman bundled over the line. That one represented the dominance Edinburgh had up front even with a fairly new-look front row. Dave Denton was back carrying ball and Roddy Grant being a typical nuisance to the miserable looking visitors.
Tonks was marshalling his back three of Cuthbert, Tim Visser and Dougie Fife well, even if the midfield continues to frustrate. Matt Scott sat this one out with a short-term injury and Strauss/Beard is probably only Alan Solomons’ idea of a good time. Luckily the plan was to get it wide as quickly as possible, which seemed like lunacy. But Edinburgh have always thrived when they’re a little bit silly.
Half Time Edinburgh 17-0 Treviso
Andries Strauss didn’t come back out after half time giving Joaquin Dominguez a chance to make an impression, but the biggest impression was the dent that the Edinburgh front row of Ali Dickinson, Neil Cochrane and John Andress were making on their opponents. Edinburgh have a number of front-row “bubbling-unders” in Cochrane, Nel, Grant Shiells who will view the 1872 Cup as an ideal platform to push for higher recognition next year.
They were giving Denton a good platform to run off and Hidalgo-Clyne kept the tempo high, possibly the exact opposite of what Treviso would have wanted. Tonks was guilty of a few misjudged kicks, but Treviso didn’t really look too interested in capitalising and Edinburgh should have been thinking bonus point even with half an hour to play.
WP Nel got them on the road with a short barreling dive from a ruck close to the line. The early work had been done by the pack, who seemed to break 2 or 3 tackles with every run. Hidalgo-Clyne duly converted to make it 27-0 with twenty to play.
The bonus point try came moments later with Grayson Hart – on for Clyne – supporting Visser who broke through one of those gaps only he seems to get through and made enough space for Hart to run it in.
By that point with Treviso yet to score a point it was job done, but with the likes of Hart and Tom Heathcote looking to stake a claim for starting spots the bench still had plenty to prove.
Unfortunately there wasn’t much rugby that followed as replacement Treviso prop Romulo Acosta decided to throw three vicious punches into the back of the pinned Fraser Mackenzie’s head. Hart – understandably – took offence to this and sparked off a brawl that saw him yellow-carded and red for Acosta after some deliberation by the ref.
Luckily Edinburgh were able to restore some cheer to the largely empty BT Murrayfield crowd with another pushover try. Sam Beard came up with it, but only after Roddy Grant gave him an early Christmas present.
At that point Treviso even thought about scoring some points – possibly out of embarrassment, but Edinburgh’s scramble defence coped with the belated workout and responded up the other end with a well-worked try for Denton on the final whistle.
You wouldn’t learn much from this performance, heartening though it was. Edinburgh didn’t need to hit top gear but the real test will come against title contenders – and most of the Scotland team – with the 1872 Cup derbies against Glasgow Warriors over the next two weeks.
SRBlog Man of the Match: Denton was very good deserved his late try, while Fife put in plenty of work around the park. Hard to disagree with the official verdict and go for Roddy Grant though. Tireless tackling and was appearing everywhere he needed to be, and often where Treviso didn’t want him. Time on the Sevens tour has added back spark in attack too.