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EMBRAMEN EASE PAST DRAGONS

Edinburgh Rugby:24 (6) Newportgwentdragons: 10 (0)



This was never going to be a match where either side was in danger of securing a four try bonus.  Indeed, it took 34 minutes for anyone to get any points on the board at all, when Heathcote knocked over the first of a brace of three pointers just before the end of the first period.  Happily, things looked up a bit after the break and the Gunners ran out comfortable winners with a morale-boosting victory.

Visser somehow, frustratingly, managed to knee a bouncing ball over the dead ball line on 20 minutes in the first incident of note of the afternoon.  Tonks had taken a long ball and countered, Beard's grubber on was booted ahead by the ever-present Hamish Watson but the big winger managed not to fall on the ball for the first score of the afternoon.

Cornell was stretchered off with a nasty looking injury on 27 minutes.  The TMO denied Gilchrist a try immedaitely afterwards when the big lock charged over the line.  Then both sides were down to 14 men when referee Fitzgibbon carded Andress and Stankovich for a scrum infringement. 

Heathcote's penalties saw the Gunners 6-0 up at the break.  They'd been the 'better' side, relatively speaking, but both sides looked very low in confidence and there was little creativity on show.  Too much aimless tactical kicking, too little ambition.  Edinburgh's discipline let them down at important times, once again, on several occasions costing them good attacking opportunities.  They really need to sort this out.

In the second period, one hoped that the Embramen might start to up the pace a bit.  But in fact it was the Dragons who scored early on with their first attack of any note in the match.  It came off a missed touch from Kennedy,  Pewtner scoring off the counter, Tovey's conversion making the score 6-7 Newport.  But Heathcote aced a third penalty shortly afterwards off a high tackle to regain the lead.

And things really were looking up for the Gunners immediately afterwards.  After a Tonks kick through, Visser charged down an admittedly laughably poor attempted clearance and got his try at last.  Heathcote's extras put the Embramen 16-7 up on 50 minutes.  Just about fair on the run of play thus far.

And the home side did indeed seem to be cranking up the pressure when they knocked a kickable penalty to the corner.  They set up a driving maul and made good progress close to the line, then set up a few phases close in.  Dragons were rocking but held out, then the ball was shipped wide, a few missed passes allowed Sam Beard to put 'Deadly' Dougie Fife over.  The missed conversion put the Gunners a comfortable 21-7 up on 56 minutes against a Dragons side looking bereft of confidence and ideas.

The Newporters clawed three points back with O'Brien's penalty on the hour.  Embra were on the attack immediately after the restart, though, forcing an enemy penalty in their own 22.  Heathcote, striking the ball beautifully, knocked over his fourth for a 24-10 lead on 62 minutes.  It looked like game over, albeit Newport were starting to move the ball a bit wider than before and it was a bit more fun to watch than the first period as a result.

With ten minutes left, SHC and Phil Burleigh came on to add a bit more zip to the Embra attack.  Shortly afterwards, Richie Rees came on to face his former side.  The match came to a close with Newport enjoying some pressure but not doing a great deal with it as Edinburgh's aggressive defence kept them under wraps.  Indeed, it looked like the Gunners had ended on a bit of a high, SHC's pass off the base of the scrum saw Heathcote make a classic stand-off's break. Beard took the offload and it looked like Coman had crossed in the wreckage for the home side's third try of the match.  However, the referee and TMO saw it differently, correctly ruling that Coman had picked up a knocked on ball in an offside position.  And that was that.