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MOSSY HITS NEWPORTERS FOR 28 AS GUNNERS RUN RIOT

Edinburgh: 43 (9) Newportgwentdragons: 3 (3)



Over the years, Embra have dished out a few late season horsings to these opponents, particularly at Rodney Parade.  However, they have also been on the wrong end of more than a few tight games played in the monsoon conditions that always seem to coincide with your correspondent's occasional forays to South Wales.  After a soggy first period, some among the sparse crowd at Murrayfield this afternoon must have feared a repeat of the latter, with Edinburgh only six points to the good, courtesy of three Paterson penalties to one from visiting 10 Tovey.

Happily, by no-side, Edinburgh had produced one of the former performances, with a four try burst in the last quarter securing a 40 point margin and a bonus point that moves the capital side up to third, two points behind Leinster and two ahead of the Ospreys, with one match left to secure their best ever league finish. 

Spookily, Ali 'Hoggy' Hogg, an ever-present thus far this season, was quoted pre-match as saying that Edinburgh may not be playing as much aesthetically pleasing rugby as they did last season, but are dogging out wins more effectively.  Part of that must come down to remaining patient and taking chances when they come, which was a feature of this afternoon's match.

In his Scotsman column, The Sage of Selkirk, Alan Massie,  waxed lyrical about Ben Meyer's contribution to Selkirk this season - even turning out in the back row on occasions - and this afternoon was also about saying goodbye to some great servants of the Edinburgh club.  Three of these gentlemen - Mustchin, Meyer and Hugo - took the field around the hour mark and made an important contribution to securing the win. 

Much has been made about the fact that almost a third of those who started at Croke Park at that extraordinary Heineken semi last weekend were about as Irish as Hugo Chavez.  Some think that's a bad thing.  But consistently qualifying for the latter stages of that tournament over the years has not been too bad for those Irishmen concerned either.  It's a problem that the Scottish clubs would presumably quite like to have.

Yet while Edinburgh's current, limited number of non-Scottish qualified players may not be stellar names, they have made a massive contribution to the squad through their quiet professionalism.  In the case of Matt Mustchin, he was even capped in the national team, showing the sort of application in that role that certain others would do well to emulate.  Meanwhile, Ben Gissing's no-nonsense approach on the park during his time here made him a huge asset.

Meanwhile, this column has always had a soft spot for Hugo, the man with the tan.  Since being plucked from obscurity six years ago on the recommendation of Craig 'Chic' Chalmers, he has amassed a hefty pile of caps.  When his radar was working, there were fewer bigger boots in the British Isles and his lines of running brought many scintillating scores.  He was no mean tackler too. 

It's always a bit emotional when folk move on in the close season.  But all the departees will go with the grateful thanks of the Embra tifosi and good wishes for the next stage in their careers.

Yet one of the striking things about this squad is the number of young guys who are coming through.  And it was one of those, John Houston, who notched the opener on the hour mark (we'll draw a veil over the preceding events).  By that stage, Mossy had added another brace of penalties to see Embra nearly home and - metaphorically - dry.  A quick tap from Mike Blair set up the Houston score, goaled from wide by Paterson.  The full back was to do the same with the remaining three touchdowns.

Blair's replacement, Ben Meyer, marked his last home appearance with a close-range try with virtually his first touch of the ball.

With Hamilton (C) in the bin, Paterson himself scored a try after Hogg had intercepted an enemy pass with three minutes left on the clock, setting up a barnstorming finish.

And Ben 'Cairnsy' Cairns rounded off proceedings with a fourth try for 14 man Edinburgh, bringing home the bonus from distance.

The win was Edinburgh's fifth on the trot in the Magners - a club record.  It was also their eighth Magners home win of the season, with only the narrow 20-15 loss to champions Munster spoiling the perfect record.  It is the away form that has been the problem, though.  Just two Embra wins on their travels - against the Ospreys and lowly Connacht - show where improvements need to be made if this side are to become genuine contenders.  Only Connacht have a poorer record this term.  Munster, meanwhile, have won six out of eight so far.

SCORERS:

Edinburgh: Paterson 1T 4C 5P, Cairns 1T, Meyer 1T, Houston 1T

Dragons: Tovey 1P

TEAMS:

Edinburgh: Paterson; A Turnbull, Cairns, De Luca, Webster; Godman, M Blair (capt); Traynor, Ford, G Cross, C Hamilton, J. Hamilton, Newlands, MacDonald, Hogg.
Dragons: Morgan; M Thomas, Davies, Sidey, Brew; Tovey, W Evans, Gustafson, Willis, R Thomas, A Hall, Charteris, MacDonald, Hill, L Evans.

Ref: Phillips (RFU)