Edinburgh down Cardiff in their own backyard
PRO14 REPORT: Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill was left beaming on the final whistle after marking his first PRO14 game in charge of Edinburgh with an away-day 20-10 win at Cardiff Blues.
The game was secured for Edinburgh thanks to a superb kicking display from Duncan Weir and tries from Blair Kinghorn and Chris Dean.
Edinburgh were ruthless in attack, particularly after the break, and were well worth their hard-fought win against a below-par Cardiff.
The clash marked Cockerill’s first competitive match at the Edinburgh helm after he joined over the summer from Toulon and his arrival seems to have installed a new look steel in his side’s defending.
These two teams met in the opening round of last season at the same ground and on that occasion, Cardiff Blues won 34-16 – but it looked very different indeed in the early stages 12 months on as the visitors dominated.
The Blues started like an express train and created the game’s first opportunity early on. A penalty saw Jarrod Evans kick for touch but Edinburgh defended the five-metre line-out well under pressure.
Edinburgh grew into the game as the half wore on and it was the visitors who raced into an 11th-minute lead, Kinghorn finishing expertly in the corner after he beat multiple defenders to touch down.
The ever-reliable Weir added the extras off the tee as Cockerill’s men raced into a seventh point lead.
And Weir extended Edinburgh’s lead just before the half hour mark as he nailed a penalty to put Cockerill’s men 10-0 ahead.
An unforced error from Edinburgh after 37 minutes handed the Blues an unexpected lifeline back into the fixture.
An attempted clearance was foiled on the Edinburgh line, Cardiff recycled the ball, and Josh Navidi touched down, with Evans adding the conversion to leave the score at 10-7.
Cockerill did not look a happy man at the break after seeing his side dominate the opening 40 minutes but still only come in three points ahead.
After playing second fiddle at the scrum in the first half, Cardiff looked a different side altogether after the break and started to dominate the set-piece.
The home team were rewarded for a dominant scrum on 48 minutes and Evans made no mistake to bring the scores level.
Edinburgh edged ahead in the game just a few minutes later as Weir continued his fine kicking off the tee to put the visitors 13-10 ahead.
And the away side got their noses further in front on 58 minutes as Dean stretched to score a 56th-minute try, with Weir adding the conversion to give Cockerill’s men a ten-point lead.
Rather than sitting back on their lead, Edinburgh continued to boss territory and possession and were unfortunate not to add a third score in the final ten minutes.
For Cardiff Blues:
Tries: Kinghorn, Dean
Cons: Weir 2
Pens: Weir 2
Cardiff Blues: 15 Matthew Morgan, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Rey Lee-Lo, 12 Willis Halaholo, 11 Aled Summerhill, 10 Jarrod Evans, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Josh Navidi, 6 Josh Turnbull, 5 Damian Welch, 4 Seb Davies, 3 Taufa'ao Filise, 2 Matthew Rees (captain), 1 Rhys Gill.
Replacements: 16 Kirby Myhil, 17 Corey Domachowski, 18 Keiron Assiratti, 19 Macauley Cook, 20 Sion Bennett, 21 Tomos Williams, 22 Steve Shingler, 23 Tom James.
Edinburgh: 15 Blair Kinghorn, 14 Dougie Fife, 13 Chris Dean, 12 Junior Rasolea, 11 Jason Harries, 10 Duncan Weir, 9 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 8 Magnus Bradbury (captain), 7 John Hardie, 6 Jamie Ritchie, 5 Grant Gilchrist, 4 Anton Bresler, 3 Willem Nel, 2 Stuart McInally, 1 Darryl Marfo.
Replacements: 16 Ross Ford, 17 Michele Rizzo, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Ben Toolis, 20 Cornell du Preez, 21 Nathan Fowles, 22 Jason Tovey, 23 Glenn Bryce.
Referee: George Clancy
Assistant referees: Nigel Correll (Ireland), Adam Jones (Wales)
TMO: Brian MacNeice (Ireland)