Edinburgh 35-18 Dragons

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Pro14 highlights: Edinburgh 35-18 Dragons
Pro14: Edinburgh v Dragons
Edinburgh (13) 35
Tries: Kinghorn, Hidalgo-Clyne, Rasolea, Fruean Cons: Weir 3 Pens: Weir 3
Dragons (9) 18
Pens: Henson 5 Drop-goal: Henson

Edinburgh continued their winning start to the Pro14 season with a bonus-point victory over the Dragons at Myreside.

Gavin Henson’s boot put the Welsh side 6-0 up but Duncan Weir replied with two penalties before Chris Dean’s sleight of hand created a Blair Kinghorn try.

Henson reduced the Dragons’ deficit after Weir was sin-binned, but Kinghorn sent Sam Hidalgo-Clyne diving over.

Three Henson penalties made it 20-18, but Junior Rasolea’s try sealed victory before Robbie Fruean grabbed a fourth.

While Edinburgh could celebrate a second straight victory under new head coach Richard Cockerill after their 20-10 win at Cardiff Blues, the Dragons slipped to a second defeat after an opening home loss to Leinster.

The visitors have now lost their past 14 matches stretching back to last season.

Myreside did not exactly fall into the ‘fortress’ category for Edinburgh last season, and the opening exchanges here served as a reminder why.

The hosts were exposed early on as Dragons wings Hallam Amos and Ashton Hewitt found holes in the home defence.

Dragons were not playing like a side whose last win came in January, and the only saving grace for Edinburgh was their opponents’ relative failure to take advantage. A penalty and a long-range drop-goal from Henson were all they had to show for their bright start.

The home side’s attempts to gain a foothold in the game were undermined by a string of basic errors.

They were in desperate need of a spark and it was Kinghorn who provided it.

Two searing breaks from the young full-back put Dragons on the back foot and forced infringements at the breakdown, from which Weir kicked two penalties to level things up at 6-6.

That hinted at what was to come on the half-hour when the crowd were brought to their feet. Weir fed Dean, who cut a gorgeous line at top pace to tear through the Dragons backline before slipping a stunning pass out the back door for Kinghorn to coast over.

After a passive opening, suddenly Edinburgh were brimming with confidence, with Kinghorn seemingly breaking through at will. Their momentum was checked somewhat, however, when Weir was sent to the sin-bin for dangerous play, and Henson’s penalty made it 13-9 at the break.

Sam Hidalgo-Clyne dived over to score Edinburgh’s second try

In complete contrast to their timid start to the match, Edinburgh exploded out the blocks in the second half.

After forcing a turnover on the Dragons 22, the ball was shipped wide until Kinghorn crashed through the midfield on a straight line and played in Hidalgo-Clyne for a run-in under the posts.

The home crowd were boisterous, but another Henson penalty kept Dragons in touch, and they were desperately unlucky when a well-worked try was ruled out when replays showed Amos’ foot was millimetres in touch before he gave Harrison Keddie a scoring pass.

Henson’s imperious form with the boot continued as he brought his team back to within two points with 15 minutes left.

Robbie Fruean marked his debut by scoring the fourth try late on

But Weir responded with a relieving penalty and with 11 minutes remaining they conjured the crucial try.

Damien Hoyland rose majestically to claim a box-kick and skipped away from a couple of defenders before being hauled down near the Dragons 22. The ball was whipped wide and Fruean put replacement Rasolea over in the corner.

Fruean then marked his debut with a try, slicing through the tired Dragons defence to go under the posts without a finger laid on him.

From teetering on the brink of throwing away a commanding position, Edinburgh had sealed a bonus-point victory. Another step forward in Cockerill’s rebuilding job.

Edinburgh: Kinghorn, Hoyland, Dean, Fruean, Harries, Weir, Hidalgo-Clyne; Rizzo, McInally, Nel, Toolis, Gilchrist, Ritchie, Watson, Bradbury.

Replacements: Ford (for McInally, 58), Marfo (for Rizzo, 66), Berghan (for Nel, 55), McKenzie (for Gilchrist, 66), Du Preez (for Watson, 55), Fowles (for Hidalgo-Clyne, 53), Tovey, Rasolea (for Dean, 41).

Yellow card: Weir (33)

Dragons: Kirchner, Hewitt, Morgan Beard, Amos, Henson, Davies; Harris, Dee, Brown, Landman, Hill, Thomas, Benjamin, Keddie.

Replacements: Buckley (for Harris, 71), Price (for Dee, 71), Fairbrother (for Brown, 71), Screech (for Landman, 67), Williams, Leonard (for Davies, 12), O’Brien (for Beard, 20), Hughes (for Morgan, 71).

Referee: Stuart Berry, SARU


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