CARDIFF BLUES 10-20 EDINBURGH

Edinburgh got their 2017/18 season off to a winning start with a gutsy victory over Cardiff Blues at the Arms Park on Friday.

It was the capital club’s first victory over the Blues since Tom Brown, Dougie Fife and Andries Strauss were the scorers in a 28-13 win at BT Murrayfield in November 2014, and their first away win in the Welsh capital since 2012.

Following his first competitive game in charge, Head Coach Richard Cockerill, said: “I wasn’t sure, when the bullets were real, how we’d cope with it all, but I’m really pleased for the group because they’ve worked very hard. It’s good to see their work come to fruition this week.

“Hopefully we’ll get some confidence from this, but we’ve played one team away from home where we’ve managed to win. Physically we were very good but across the board we’ve got to keep working, that’s the key.

“Now the challenge is to go into a good training week and do it again next Friday. That’s the really important thing now.”

It was fullback Blair Kinghorn who was given the honour of kicking off the new and expanded Guinness PRO14 season.

But from Kinghorn’s kick, it was Cardiff who made the most commanding start. As the hosts pressed the Edinburgh line, they spilled the ball on the right wing, and the visiting pack took the opportunity to dominate the opening scrum.

Sam Hidalgo-Clyne’s clearing kick up-field was picked out of the sky by wing Jason Harries, who linked up with Jamie Ritchie to recycle the ball and mount Edinburgh’s first purposeful attack.

From a scrum inside the opposition 22, newly crowned captain Magnus Bradbury peeled off the back and released Hidalgo-Clyne who linked up with Kinghorn. The fullback burst through multiple defenders to register the opening try of the night. Duncan Weir was on target with the conversion. (0-7)

Cockerill’s charges continued to show intent in both attack and defence when centre Chris Dean slid along the artificial surface to collect a wide pass from Hidalgo-Clyne. Cardiff turned over position and burst down the left wing where a grubber from fullback Matthew Morgan was collected by Weir. The hosts somewhat unorganised attack eventually came to nothing as the Edinburgh defence held firm.

Weir was on target with his second shot at goal, a penalty on the half hour mark. (0-10)

Cardiff opened their account just before the break when centre Aled Summerhill popped a neat pass out of the back door as the Blues’ backs careered towards the line. They recycled on the Edinburgh five metre line and Jarrod Evans chipped it out wide where flanker Josh Navidi was waiting to crash over the line. Evans converted. (7-10)

Half-time score: Cardiff Blues 7-10 Edinburgh Rugby

As Edinburgh had dominated the scrum in the first half, Cardiff seized the forward initiative at the start of the second.

Two big shoves from the Blues resulted in scrum penalty in front of the posts from where Jarrod Evans levelled the score. (10-10)

Edinburgh respond by changing their entire front row.

Weir brought Edinburgh back in front when Cardiff were pinged for holding on the ground. (10-13)

Some terrific work from the forwards, including Jamie Ritchie who was working hard out in midfield, wrapped up the Cardiff defence and opened space on the wings. Kinghorn stepped is opposite man and passed inside to Chris Dean who bundled over the line, doing well to ground the ball. Weir converted. (10-20)

Edinburgh were unlucky not to add a third try to their tally when Junior Rasolea made a barnstorming run – fending off his opposite man – to pop the ball inside to Harries. The Welsh winger put in replacement scrum-half Nathan Fowles but it was lost across the line.

Cardiff mounted an unrelenting attack in the dying minutes, building through the phases and cutting into the Edinburgh 22 but they couldn’t overcome a much more convincing Edinburgh team performance.

Fulltime score: Cardiff Blues 10-20 Edinburgh Rugby

Cardiff Blues: Matthew Morgan; Alex Cuthbert, Rey Lee-Lo, Willis Halaholo, Aled Summerhill; Jarrod Evans, Lloyd Williams; Rhys Gill, Matthew Rees CAPTAIN, Taufa'ao Filise, Seb Davies, Damian Welch, Josh Turnbull, Josh Navidi, Nick Williams
Replacements: Macauley Cook, Kirby Myhill, Corey Domachowski, Keiron Assiratti, Sion Bennett, Tomos Williams, Steven Shingler, Tom James

Edinburgh Rugby: Blair Kinghorn; Dougie Fife, Chris Dean, Junior Rasolea, Jason Harries; Duncan Weir, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne; Darryl Marfo, Stuart McInally, WP Nel, Anton Bresler, Grant Gilchrist, Jamie Ritchie, John Hardie, Magnus Bradbury CAPTAIN
Replacements: Glenn Bryce for Fife (40mins), Ross Ford for McInally, Michele Rizzo for Marfo and Simon Berghan for Nel (all 47mins), Ben Toolis for Bresler (54mins), Nathan Fowles for Hidalgo-Clyne (58mins), Cornell Du Preez for Bradbury (68mins), Jason Tovey

Guinness Man of the Match: Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh Rugby)