Acting head coach Duncan Hodge got a first win under his belt last night as Edinburgh enjoyed a comfortable seven-try 45-10 rout of Italian strugglers Treviso to make it two victories from six in the Guinness Pro12.
Hodge paid tribute to his troops after they registered a first bonus-point win of the season and got back to winning ways a week-and-a-half after Alan Solomons stepped down as head coach.
Two tries each from wingers Damien Hoyland and Tom Brown, plus scores from Hamish Watson, Magnus Bradbury and Blair Kinghorn, allied to ten points from the boot of the impressive Jason Tovey, brought some much-needed positivity back to BT Murrayfield, although tougher tests lie ahead on the road to the top half of the table.
Hodge said: “It’s been a tough five, six weeks and they’ve not stopped working. To score seven tries at home was good. We owed people a performance and I think the players and the coaches, we all feel expectation. It’s just nice to reward some hard work and the fans.
“There was a lot of plusses there but my message to the players has just been we start again on Monday. There is still so much to do. There’s a lot of great things at the club but everyone else marches on and improves and we’ve got to do likewise.”
This was Hodge’s second game in charge following last Friday’s 28-15 loss at Connacht and he said there hadn’t been too many changes to the way the side approached the game.
“We couldn’t change too much,” said the former stand-off. “With pro rugby these days Monday and Tuesday are your big days. Thursday is just a bit of clarity.
“We had two training days to try and change some stuff. Tonight there was a lot of mistakes but in terms of our effort and desire and willingness to try and find space, it was great.”
With the Italian clubs caught in a worrying backward slide over the past few seasons a win at home over a side who came into the match with an opening record as bad as the hosts was fully expected.
Such expectation can make these kind of games no-win situations against physical and stuffy opponents, but things could barely have got off to a better start as Edinburgh forged into a 14-0 lead inside eight minutes.
First a ball squirted out of the ruck straight into the hands of right wing Hoyland, who saw clear green ahead of him and burned home from well inside his own half, stand-off Tovey converting.
An even healthier lead on the scoreboard was soon forthcoming as a well-worked move saw openside Watson take possession for a second time when he took centre Chris Dean’s inside pop then broke some weak tackling to charge over with the Welshman again adding the extras.
The former Scotland Under-20 stand-off Tommaso Allan pegged back three points for Treviso to bring the opening quarter to a close but Edinburgh responded eight minutes later as Dean got his second assist of the night and Hoyland his second try as the winger got over again in the right for an unconverted score.
The shackles were off now as Bradbury shrugged off the attentions of several Treviso tacklers then showed impressive pace to power down the right flank and his momentum took him over after being caught by a despairing last-ditch challenge. Tovey converted and, bonus point in the bag, Edinburgh were 26-3 to the good.
There was a slack start to the second period as Marco Fuser was allowed to get a try back for Treviso but normal service was soon resumed as Brown scored in the left corner and Tovey converted to keep the Italians under the pump.
The match entered a sleepy phase but Tovey lit up the evening once again with a superb chip and collect which almost led to another try but was snuffed out by desperate Italian defending.
The Welshman’s deft cossfield kick was collected well by Brown for his brace and Kinghorn’s stoppage-time score, with Tovey again instrumental in the lead-up completed the scoring and sent the home support home happy heading into European fortnight.