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Edinburgh: 21 (10) Benetton Treviso: 9 (6)

But a win's a win, particularly on a night when all the club's internationals were rested prior to the Autumn Tests. And this evening's hard fought victory takes Embra up to fourth place in the league, albeit having played one more match than the Irish and Welsh provinces/regions.

It was an atrocious night, with the torrential rain barely letting up throughout the match.  Handling was difficult as a result and both sides struggled to hang on to the ball.  Both sides, too, tried to run the ball a little too much.  Although Treviso had the edge up front for most of the evening, with a strong rolling maul, and in Kristopher Burton had a playmaker whose tactical kicking was sound, they showed surprising adventure in attack.  They would surely have had more joy playing a tighter game. 

Meanwhile, Edinburgh turned up the heat - a little bit - in the second period, after a pretty dire first half, and in the end were fairly comfortable winners, also winning the try count 2-0.  For the capital men, one felt that the back row had a more balanced look about it, with Scott Newlands a late replacement for the indisposed Alan MacDonald at blindside.  Netani Talei really showed his worth as a ball carrier on such a filthy night, consistently getting over the gainline and scoring a try in the first half that owed much to sheer power.  In the back division, John Houston had a super game and was a deserved man of the match, while Lee Jones, another late replacement (for Tim Visser), again showed glimpses of what he is capable of.

Murrayfield microphone maestro Ian Turner's linguistic skills have been lauded in this column many times before and he was at it again this evening.  His lengthy interventions in Italian pre-match provoked gasps of admiration amongst the Embra tifosi and a sympathetic reception on the part of the Benetton Treviso travelling support.  He needs to work on his stamina, though, as he was really struggling during the customary late flurry of visiting substitutions in the final quarter.

For much of a forgettable first half, the linguistic gymnastics looked like being the highlight of proceedings.  An early exchange of penalties between Blair and Botes kept the score tied at three apiece for the first half hour.  And Laidlaw had to look lively to thwart a try opportunity on 18 minutes, while Edinburgh had a couple of decent enough attacks around the enemy 22.  But it was all a bit laboured.

After Botes nudged the visitors into the lead on the half hour with his second penalty, at last Edinburgh showed a bit of a cutting edge in attack. The score was sparked by a Houston shimmy inside his own ten metre line, the centre getting behind the defence and cantering to the 22 before going to ground.  The ball was recycled quickly and fed to Talei, who had plenty to do.  But the No 8 carried pretty much the entire cover defence with him as he bullocked over for the try, converted well by Blair. 10-6 Embra at the break.

Although Treviso narrowed the gap soon after the restart with Botes' third and final penalty, Edinburgh were on the board again on 47 minutes.  This time, a rather extraordinary solo attack by Lee Jones saw the winger rampage into the enemy 22.  The ball was recycled and after a few forward drives, Kyle Traynor nudged over for the try, Blair missing the conversion from wide out.

Conceivably, a bonus point victory might have been on, with half an hour left to play.  But Edinburgh did not show enough urgency or control.  Indeed, it was frustrating to see them kick a penalty to touch deep in the enemy 22 yet knock on during the subsequent attack.  They managed to do this twice in the space of five minutes - doubly annoying.  A number of decent scoring chances were wasted through handling errors or poor support play resulting in the ball carrier getting isolated and penalised for holding on.

But David Blair made the game safe with two penalties in the last quarter to see the home side run out comfortable 21-9 victors.



Referee: Hodges (WRU)