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Rugby | SA Rugby

Edinburgh exploit Kings’ post holiday rust



Edinburgh extended their impressive recent winning run to five when they overwhelmed the Isuzu Southern Kings 38-0 in their GuinnessPRO14 clash at Murrayfield in Edinburgh on Saturday night.

The Kings had not played in four weeks and they were made to pay for their time off early in the game as the hosts exploited their lack of sharpness by running up a convincing early lead that effectively put paid to any chance of the Eastern Cape team competing.

South African Duhan van der Merwe played a big hand in Edinburgh’s first try, which was scored all too easily and completed by fullback Dougie Fife after just over three minutes of play. At that stage the Kings were playing like a team that had been on holiday, and it looked ominous for them when wing Darcy Graham quickly added two more tries for Edinburgh to establish a commanding 19-0 lead after just 10 minutes.

The Kings looked in big trouble at that point with a massive scoreline against them appearing to be on the cards. They struggled to get their hands on the ball, were forced to make 28 tackles in the first 10 minutes, and on top of that their defensive play just wasn’t good enough as they appeared to battle to keep pace with their opponents.

However, whether it was Edinburgh losing a bit of focus after effectively wrapping up the result so early, or the Kings just warming up after their slow start, the Kings did manage to limit the damage after that and after conceding three tries in 10 minutes they gave away just the same number in the remaining 70 minutes of the game.

The winners had several stand-outs, with fullback Fife grabbing the man of the match award for his busy performance, but the real eye-catcher was tighthead prop Simon Berghan. The Edinburgh No 3 was prominent as a ball carrier and after playing a big hand in the set up of the second Edinburgh try he was across the line himself for the first try of the second half. It was apparently the Scotland international's first try ever at this level so it was reason for him to celebrate. He nearly scored again before being replaced with a quarter of the game to go.

Rory Sutherland scored the bonus point try for Edinburgh on the stroke of halftime, with the score being 26-0 at the halfway point.

Edinburgh, who have the confidence that comes from having beaten their arch-rivals Glasgow Warriors twice in recent weeks, have not lost at home for nine months and are building up a proper head of steam in the competition and look well on course for a second successive appearance in the finals series.

The Kings have yet to win on the road in the competition since joining at the start of the 2017/2018 season. They were never going to challenge Edinburgh in their home city but their lay-off wouldn’t have helped either and they will be more confident about their chances in the return fixture against these opponents in Port Elizabeth in a few weeks time. They will be helped then by the probability that Edinburgh will have players away on Six Nations duty.

SCORES

Edinburgh 38 - Tries: Dougie Fife, Darcy Graham 2, Rory Sutherland, Simon Berghan and Cameron Fenton. Conversions: Simon Hickey 4. Isuzu Southern Kings 0



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