Debutant Blair Kinghorn backs Edinburgh to bounce back

Blair Kinghorn
Blair Kinghorn
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Debutant Blair Kinghorn insists Edinburgh Rugby will bounce back after seeing their 100 per cent start to the PRO12 season end with a 19-11 defeat at Zebre.

The 18-year-old fly-half came off the bench with ten minutes remaining at the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi and narrowly missed a long-range penalty which would have given Edinburgh a bonus point.

“It felt great to run onto that pitch with the Edinburgh shirt on. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time and I’m just glad that my chance came,” he told Edinburgh Rugby TV. “It was a frustrating result for us, though. It’s hard for the boys when sometimes the game just doesn’t go your way, and that was one of them.

“We came close to getting the bonus point on that last play, and when it came off the boot I thought it was looping over but it just fell short.

“It’s very frustrating for the lads but everyone wants to get straight back out there and show what we can do because that definitely wasn’t a top performance by us. We know that we can be a lot better and hopefully we’ll get a result over in Ireland at Connacht.”

Zebre fly-half Carlo Canna, on his return from Italy’s World Cup campaign, chipped in with a 14-point haul to get his side off the mark, with Dion Berryman scoring their only try.

Hamish Watson touched down for Edinburgh, with Nathan Fowles adding two penalties, but it was not enough for the Capital side.

Edinburgh, who also lost 18-10 on their last visit to Parma in 2014, started well and kept Zebre penned inside their own 22 after Jack Cuthbert’s initial break from deep put the hosts on the back foot.

Scrum-half Fowles slotted a penalty on eight minutes to give them something to show for their efforts, but Canna replied with three of his own to give Zebre a deserved 9-3 lead after 26 minutes.

Zebre, who welcomed seven of their World Cup stars back into their starting line-up, crumbled just before the break though and Edinburgh took advantage to snatch an 11-9 lead at the interval.

First, Fowles pulled it back to 9-6 with his second penalty – despite missing one moments earlier – and then Watson made the crucial breakthrough, darting over after Phil Burleigh’s break to put the visitors back in front, although Fowles missed the conversion.

Zebre drove forward with intent after the restart and wing Berryman eventually crashed over after 54 minutes as Edinburgh buckled under the pressure on their own line. Canna added the conversion and then a penalty soon after to put the Italian side 19-11 up at the end of the third quarter.

The visitors tried to force the issue but were unable to break through. Any hopes of salvaging something from the match were dashed when Sam Hidalgo-Clyne and Kinghorn missed penalties in the 78th and 81st minutes respectively