Edinburgh Rugby coach Alan Solomons offered a realistic assessment of his side’s 31-16 win over Romania at the Greenyards last night,
Declaring himself satisfied with the result, he conceding that there are plenty of areas requiring attention before the opening round of league fixtures in two weeks’ time.
Skipper Roddy Grant led the way with a personal haul of three tries and there were impressive contributions from a pack in which Fraser McKenzie and Neil Cochrane stood out during a contest that was every bit as physical as Solomons had anticipated.
Among the backs, Tom Brown looked lively during his 80-minute contribution, while Jade Te Rure was composed at stand-off and Chris Dean offered glimpses of the potential that he undoubtedly possesses.
The game also offered a run out for James Hilterbrand, who left the club in the summer but has returned on a contract until the end of the World Cup.
After a sprightly start by the home side, Edinburgh scrum-half Nathan Fowles missed with the first scoring opportunity, a 30-metre penalty. The international outfit, with former Edinburgh coach Lyn Howells at the helm, began to enjoy the bulk of the possession and a period in the ascendancy yielded a 30-metre penalty. Florian Vlaicu banged over the kick to open the scoring with 15 minutes on the clock.
Edinburgh’s response was to set up camp in the opposition 22. The pressure yielded three penalties. All were dispatched into touch and after the first two attempts were halted illegally, the third lineout was gathered by Fraser McKenzie who fed Grant and the captain forced his way over for an unconverted score.
Three minutes later, Edinburgh added a second try. A break from deep by Nick McLennan was continued by Tom Brown and when he was tackled, the recycled ball was shipped quickly along the line. Neil Cochrane made the dent and off-loaded to McLennan who freed Cornell Du Preez to complete the job. Fowles found his range to add the conversion points.
A failed penalty attempt by Vlaicu was all the Romanians had to show for their next visit to Edinburgh territory but he then made amends with a mighty effort from half way.
However, Edinburgh ended the first half with a flourish, and another penalty was booted into touch where a reprise of the first score gave Grant his second touchdown of the evening to send Edinburgh into the break 17-6 ahead.
The visitors reverted to a tighter game after the restart and the task for the home side became even tougher when Anton Bresler was sin binned for an off-the-ball tackle.
The visitors took advantage when they shunted Edinburgh off the ball at a close range scrum, allowing Adrian Apostol to dot down in the corner. Dan Dumbrava added the conversion to cut the deficit to four points. And the gap tumbled to a single point entering the final quarter when the same player stroked over a straightforward penalty.
However, the game turned on another captain’s contribution from Grant who bustled into the opposition 22 and released Te Rure who touched down then added the conversion to ease Edinburgh nerves. Then, having restored a winning gap, Grant completed his hat trick when he rumbled over. Te Rure’s conversion completed a morale boosting win for Solomons’ men.
The coach was realistic in his assessment, saying: “I’m happy with the fact that we got a result which is always good because success generates confidence. But you could see that we were very, very rusty.
“I think what was important was that we gave everybody game time. Obviously there are areas of our game that we have to work on.”
Among the more satisfying aspects for Solomons was the composure of his side under sustained pressure in the second half. “That was very good because I thought at that stage our scrum was under the cosh and I thought we were a bit under the cosh but we showed resilience there to come through for the win,” he added.
Edinburgh will have a second pre-season outing against Ulster at Goldenacre on Friday before opening their Guinness PRO12 campaign on September 4 against Leinster at Meggetland.
Edinburgh: Tries – Grant (3), Du Preez, Te Rure. Con – Fowles, Te Rure (2)
Romania: Try – Apostol. Con - Dumbrava. Pens: Vaicu (2), Dumbrava
Referee: G Garner (IRFU)
Edinburgh: N McLennan, J Farndale, C Dean, A Strauss, T Brown, P Burleigh, N Fowles, G Shiells, N Cochrane, J Andress, A Bresler, F McKenzie, J Ritchie, R Grant, C Du Preez
Subs Used: J Hilterbrand, G Turner, J Cosgrove, A Dell, S Berghan, A Toolis, M McAndrew, J Te Rure, S Beard, J Johnstone, O Katoa, J Cuthbert
Romania: S Starlita, F Ionita, P Kiniikinlau, F Vaicu, I Botezatu, M Wiringi, F Surugiu, M Lazar, E Capatana, H Pungea, J Van Heerden, M Dremceanu, O Tonita, R Morrison, S Biurcea
Subs Used: O Turashvili, I Paulica, A Radoi, V Ursache, V Macovei, T Bratu, D DDumbrava, C Gal