Edinburgh Take The Bonus Point Against Wasps In First Match Of Back To Back Fixtures
Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill was pleased with the bonus point result, but acknowledged that his team still needs to improve their game if they are to proceed in the European Challenge Cup this season.
Blair Kinghorn assisted two tries and scored one of his own. (Photo: Edinburgh Rugby twitter)
Edinburgh Rugby maintained their home record this season, in both European and domestic leagues, as they bested Challenge Cup rivals Wasps 31-20 in a bonus point win at BT Murrayfield.
Eventual man of the match Duhan Van Der Merwe ran in a brace, with Blair Kinghorn and George Taylor getting in on the try scoring action, and Simon Hickey being 100% with the boot.
Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill summarised his side’s performance, saying: “I felt we could have played better tonight. We’ve got to get out the habit of being in front and then letting teams back in the game by really simple, basic, fundamental errors.”
“In key moments we have the elbow on people’s throats, and when we need to finish them off we want to finish them off. We need to do that better.”
“But we’re playing pretty well,” he added. “We could have scored more tries, and I think there are a few test boys still rusty after the World Cup. We need to get them up to speed.”
It was a bonus point win that many an Edinburgh supporter would not have predicted in the opening quarter of the encounter. The opening of play was somewhat lacklustre from the home side, as Wasps came out of the tunnel with purpose, whilst Cockerill’s side seemed rather tired.
Wasps were the first on the scoreboard, as the set piece – which seemed a point of contention throughout the match – was infringed on by Edinburgh a little too much for referee George Clancy’s liking, allowing Lima Sopoaga a shot at goal.
With Wasps three points ahead, Edinburgh seemed to start to attempt to knuckle down on their game. The capital side put the English outfit under tremendous pressure on their own line, with the first try of the match eventually being produced off the back of a scrum.
Edinburgh got the ball out of the set piece well, trying to put the ball across the field quickly. The passes found Kinghorn who lauded a long floaty pass to Van Der Merwe, and it is well known that the South African never has any issues running things over the line from the wing. Simon Hickey added the conversion to give Edinburgh the edge in the scoreline.
Less than ten minutes later, Hickey’s boot advanced the home side’s score once more as he kicked a penalty from in front of the posts as Wasps prop Kieran Brookes had clearly not made any real attempt to roll away at the breakdown.
Wasps captured the closing score of the half, as Sopoaga kicked a penalty of his own from right in front of the posts on the 40 minute mark, sending the teams back in to the locker room.
Upon emerging for the second half, play proved to be rather back and forth. That was until Kinghorn was located as option in the wide channels and the young fullback powered down the wing to run in Edinburgh’s second try. Hickey added the extras to take the home side a further seven points away from the visitors.
It was rather like a strange case of déjà vu as Kinghorn found himself releasing Van Der Merwe on the wing for a second time. The South African stepped inside of the defence to run in another score, as the reliable Hickey added the conversion.
Simon Hickey was 100% with his goal kicking. (Photo: Edinburgh Rugby twitter)
Wasps’ Jack Willis tore through the Edinburgh line following the restart, eventually brought down by a combination of Nick Haining and Hickey just metres from the Edinburgh line. He got redemption for his side, however, as he dove over the top of the ruck to score Wasps’ first try following some recycling of ball. Sopoaga stepped up to the tee to add the extra two points.
The visitors were reduced to 14 men shortly after as Brookes was shown a yellow card by referee Clancy after one too many fumbled set pieces.
Frustration seemed to enrapture both sides in the aftermath of the sin-binning as Wasps tried to stay alive in the game and Edinburgh attempted to take advantage of the 14-man side.
BT Murrayfield let its unrest known as Ashley Johnson came flying in to the breakdown, and right in to replacement scrum half Nic Groom. The resulting lineout in Edinburgh’s favour popped ball out to George Taylor, who preceded a Bill Mata carry and a Jamie Ritchie barging run.
Ultimately, the quick ball out wide allowed Taylor, who had resituated himself on the wing, to find himself with open space between him and the line for the simple run in. The try sealed the bonus point for the hosts, and Hickey’s conversion simply added a further two points.
Wasps had one last scoring chance in the closing minute of the game, getting the penalty for an Edinburgh offside and choosing to go for the lineout in the corner. They took the ball quickly across field, and a step out of the defensive line from Hickey – in an attempt to go for the interception – gave Nizaam Carr just enough space to go over for the score. Replacement Jimmy Gopperth took the conversion as a drop goal in the dying seconds to see out the game.
The two sides will meet again in just seven days’ time, as Wasps will welcome Edinburgh to the Ricoh Arena on Saturday 14th with an earlier kick off of 3pm.
Edinburgh: B Kinghorn; D Graham, J Johnstone, G Taylor, D van der Merwe; S Hickey, H Pyrgos; P Schoeman, S McInally, S Berghan, B Toolis, G Gilchrist, J Ritchie, H Watson, N Haining. Subs: M Willemse, J Bhatti, P Ceccarelli, S Thomson, B Mata, N Groom, J Van Der Walt, D Hoyland.
Wasps: R Miller; Z Kibirige, M Fekitoa, M Le Bourgeois, J Bassett; L Sopoaga, D Robson; Z Zhvania, T Taylor, K Brookes, T Vukasinovic, T Cardall, J Willis, N Carr, S Vailanu. Subs: T Cruse, T West, J Toomaga-Allen, B Shields, T Youngs, A Johnson, W Porter, J Gopperth.
Referee: George Clancy.
Edinburgh: Tries: Van Der Merwe 2, Kinghorn, Taylor. Cons: Hickey 4. Pen: Hickey.
Wasps: Tries: Willis, Carr. Cons: Sopoaga, Gopperth. Pens: Sopoaga 2.
Scoring sequence (Edinburgh first): (0-0), (0-3), (5-3), (7-3), (10-3), (10-6) HT (15-6), (17-6), (22-6), (24-6), (24-11), (24-13), (29-13), (31-13), (31-18), (31-20) FT.
Yellow cards: Kieran Brookes (Wasps).
Man of the Match: Duhan Van Der Merwe.