Edinburgh 25 Zebre 23
Two consecutive home wins in all competitions would give Edinburgh some confidence going in to tonight’s game against Zebre, despite what has been a relatively disappointing season thus far.
Although relatively unconvincing in prolonged passages of play, the home-side stuck it out to record a well-needed victory.
Going into the match Edinburgh were sitting in tenth place- only three points clear of basement club Cardiff, and one point ahead of tonight’s opposition Zebre. Despite the visiting Italians only recording one win in six, with Edinburgh missing a number of key squad members due to international duties, a victory tonight would be no easy feat.
Reminiscent of last week, the opening quarter was a quiet affair, neither side looking to play an attacking brand of rugby, instead resorting to a battle of the boot. The only points came from Zebre stand-off Luciano Orquera, with a penalty in the 17th minute.
However on the stroke of 20 minutes, a scything break from Dougie Fife allowed him to deliver a simple pass to the supporting Greig Tonks who finished well in the corner.
This seemed to ignite some flair in the Edinburgh side, as eight minutes later sustained pressure saw WP Nel, crash over for the second week in a row - Harry Leonard converting(12-3).
Edinburgh seemed comfortable at this stage, looking to take firm control of the game.
However, two simple mistakes from the Gunners allowed Zebre to get back into the match, as they took full advantage stealing 14 points in capitalising on the hosts’ errors - Zebre’s centre Tommaso Iannone and winger Leonardo Sarto with a try a piece, Orquera converting both.
This brought a sombre end to the half as Edinburgh marched down the tunnel, the score lying 12-17 in favour of the visitors.
Despite Zebre starting the half looking the more hungry of the sides, a Harry Leonard penalty and try from man of the match, Cornell Du Preez – converted brilliantly by the Edinburgh stand-off- put the Gunners back in the lead approaching the 60 minute mark(22-17).
The next ten minutes only produced a penalty a piece for the stand-offs, the game being tightly contested with both sides making mistakes.
Orquera reduced the deficit to within two points in the 74th minute, once again ensuring a tight finish for the Edinburgh side.
However, the impatience of the Zebre stand-off seemed to be the saving grace of the Edinburgh team in the closing minutes of the game as he forced two drop goals – one falling to the right of the posts, the other being charged down.
Full time score: Edinburgh 25 Zebre 23
Edinburgh: Greig Tonks; Dougie Fife, Joaquin Dominguez, Ben Atiga, Jack Cuthbert; Harry Leonard, Sean Kennedy; Wicus Blaauw, Aleki Lutui, WP Nel, Grant Gilchrist, Izak Van Der Westhuizen, Tomas Leonardi, Roddy Grant (captain) and Cornell Du Preez.
Replacements: James Hilterbrand, Alasdair Dickinson, Geoff Cross, Sean Cox, Ross Rennie, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, Sam Beard and Lee Jones.
Zebre: Dion Berryman; Leonardo Sarto, Tommaso Iannone, Gonzalo Garcia, Giovanbattista Venditti; Luciano Orquera, Brendon Leonard; Salvatore Perugini, Davide Giazzon, Dario Chistolini, Quintin Geldenhuys, Marco Bortolami (captain), Filippo Cristano, Emiliano Caffini and Samuela Vunisa.
Replacements: Luciano Leibson, Andrea De Marchi, David Ryan, Michael Van Vuren, Andrea Manici, Alberto Chillon, David Odiete and Giulio Toniolatti.
Referee: Leighton Hodges (Wales)