Edinburgh coach rues penalty count as Zebre fight back

Alan Solomons
Alan Solomons
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Edinburgh Rugby coach Alan Solomons expressed his disappointment today following his team’s 18-10 defeat at Italian outfit Zebre in the Guinness PRO12.

After seeing his charges crash in just their opponents’ second win of the season, the South African said: “It’s a game I felt we should have won – it’s disappointing, to say the least.

“Although we struggled in the first half, the penalty count was massive against us – five penalties in the first eight or nine minutes – and there were one or two incidents in the game that sealed our fate.”

Second-half tries from Giulio Bisegni and Michele Visentin earned victory for Zebre against an Edinburgh side without the injured Grant Gilchrist, Hamish Watson and Cornell du Preez.

Kelly Haimona’s tenth-minute penalty gave the hosts the lead, striking the frame of the goal before dropping over.

Tom Heathcote missed a penalty before Zebre’s Valerio Bernabo was shown the first of three Italian yellow cards.

Edinburgh were unable capitalise on the advantage but did get on the board just two minutes before the turnaround, Roddy Grant crossing after good work by Tim Visser. Heathcote converted for a 7-3 interval lead.

Winger Dougie Fife was hauled down just short of the line moments after the restart before Heathcote’s first penalty extended the advantage to 10-3.

Rory Sutherland and Zebre’s Dario Chistolin were both dispatched to the sin bin after repeated issues with the scrum. Zebre responded with a three-pointer of their own from Haimona then, at the restart, WP Nel fumbled before centre Bisegni chased nearly 80 metres to touch down under the posts, providing an easy conversion for Haimona.

Replacement centre Visentin then bundled over in the corner, his foot looking in touch. After reviews by the local TMO, the try was given, although Haimona missed the extras.

Zebre’s only previous win against Scottish opposition was in this fixture last season, and this victory ended a four-game losing streak for them.

Scorers:

Zebre: Tries: Bisegni, Visentin. Con: Haimona. Pens: Haimona (2).

Edinburgh: Try: Grant. Con: Heathcote. Pen: Heathcote.

Zebre: Daniller, L Sarto, Bisegni, Pratichetti, Toniolatti, Haimona, Leonard, Lovotti, Manici, Chistolini, Biagi, Bortolami, Bernabo, Cristiano, Vunisa. Replacements: Visentin for L Sarto (56), Geldenhuys for Bortolami (53), Romano for Bernabo (52), Van Schalkwyk for Cristiano (60). Not used: Fabiani, De Marchi, Palazzani, Orquera.

Edinburgh: McLennan, Fife, Scott, Strauss, T Visser, Heathcote, Hidalgo-Clyne, Sutherland, Ford, W Nel, Atkins, B Toolis, Coman, Grant, Denton, Leonardi. Replacements: Hart for Hidalgo-Clyne (72), Hilterbrand for Ford (31), Andress for W. Nel (74), Leonardi for Denton (46), Shiells for Leonardi (54). Not used: McKenzie, Tonks, Beard.

Referee: David Wilkinson (Ireland).

Sin bin: Bernabo (26).

Attendance: 2500.