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SIX TRY EMBRAMEN PUT TREVISO TO THE SWORD

Edinburgh Rugby: 48 (17) Benetton Treviso: 0 (0)



Before this evening's match kicked off, there was a minute's silence for Norman Mair, who passed away recently at the age of 86. He was the doyenne of Scottish rugby journalists and I, like many no doubt, grew up reading his pieces in the Scotsman and, during a brief interlude, the Sunday Standard. He wrote beautifully, but he also knew his rugby inside out.  Neither are qualities that one associates with every rugby scribbler these days.  One feels his passing as acutely as that of his broadcasting equivalent, the late Bill McLaren.  We are much the poorer without them.

On the paddock, the Embramen had more of a problem with the poor conditions than a lacklustre Treviso side, but still managed to run out 48-0 victors, the bonus wrapped up on the hour. There were periodic bursts of excitement, albeit the most entertaining incident was probably a 30 man brawl in the final quarter, sparked off by replacement prop Acosta's repeated punching of a prone Fraser McKenzie and an impressive bit of afters.  Acosta was, rightly, red carded, while 'Larry' Graysonhart saw yellow for retaliation.  I don't think I have ever seen so many advertising hoardings and even metal fences being torn asunder by a dust up on the rugby pitch and it had a certain entertainment value to it.

The Gunners totally dominated this tussle and that in every department.  Up front, they smashed the enemy scrum, while their maul was brutally effective.   Man of the Match Roddy was prominent at the breakdown, as was skipper Coman, while Dave Denton did manage a couple of passes during the evening.  For me, though, the standout was Toolis in the boilerhouse.  Until things started to go a bit awry in the final quarter, he bossed the lineout and gelled well with Fraser McKenzie.

The backs were not consistently threatening, and one frustration was that, in the first half in particular, the Embramen did not do nearly as much as they should have done with their dominance of field position and possession.  But there were little individual cameos that boded well for tougher tests ahead.  Tonks was a busy presence at ten, while both he and Jack Cuthbert were always looking to counter from deep.  I could do with a bit less of the gesturing at the breakdown from SHC (CN!CG!) but he had a good outing, while 'Deadly' Dougie Fife looked eager when the ball made it to him.  There were little glimpses of hope from Tim Visser, reminding his colleagues, one hopes, of what he can do in a bit of space.  And I continue to like what I see of Sam Beard.  A tidy player who hopefully will be paired with Matt Scott at second five eighth if they are ever both fit at the same time.

Defence was awesome, albeit against a team that looked like the poorest in the league.  It would have been easy to sit back and allow them a consolation try near the close, but good to see the Embramen refusing to allow that.

Things could not have started better, with a home try on 55 seconds.Cuthbert and Tonks countered off a Treviso clearance, the ball was moved up the left wing quickly.  Quick ball enabled Tonks to time his pass perfectly for SHC  to arc over in the corner.  The scrummie nailed the difficult coversion for a 7-0 early lead.

Treviso did come back immediately with some field position over the next ten minutes or so, but did not look threatening.  Already, the Embrascrum was smashing the enemy pack and the visitors' penalty count was rising quickly. SHC missed one penalty then put one over on 16 minutes.

The Gunners were starting to take control and build the pressure going into the second quarter and it was little surprise when they scored again, on 24 minutes.  Off an attacking lineout, the home maul rumbled Coman over for a try, converted by SHC for a 17-0 lead, which was to be the half-time margin.

In teh second half, although Treviso started relatively strongly, it was soon 'as you were'.  First, SHC nailed his third penalty, on 49 minutes.  I admit that I thought they should have knocked that one to the corner in search of try #3 en route to the bonus.  I was proved completely wrong ten minutes later.  Shortly after Treviso openside Minto was carded for a breakdown offence - it was inevitable that someone was going to go given the sheer number of penalties - Visser countered from a clearance and came so close to notching a brilliant solo effort.  The Gunners turned over Treviso maul ball and set up some forward smashes before supersub WP 'WP' Nel barrelled over from short range for the third try on 58 minutes.

There was little time to draw breath before the Gunners were over again for the bonus. Again, Visser looked lively on his wing, committed the defender well and put Graysonhart cruising over in the corner for the bonus.  The move was all the more remarkable for having featured that rarity, a Denton pass, earlier in the build-up.  Replacement Heathcote's conversion made it 34-0 and game definitively over.

Then came the rammy followed by a brace of hioome tries.  First, the Gunners walked a maul from outside the 22 for WP to secure his second touchdown on 70 minutes.  And with time expired, a quick tap penalty set up some close in phases before the ball was shipped along the line to Denton on the wing, who cruised over in the corner.  Heathcote's brilliant conversion left the final margin 48-0.  It was not a performance that really hit the heigths at any stage.  But the Gunners took their chances and were dominant in all facets of play.  They deserved the win and the most encouraging thing is that they will know that they can do much better than this.

The Inter-City double header will be interesting.