Dragons 15, Edinburgh 16: Champions Cup hopes still alive

Edinburgh's Stuart McInally rampages past Cory Hill. Pic: Getty Images
Edinburgh's Stuart McInally rampages past Cory Hill. Pic: Getty Images
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Edinburgh Rugby secured their first win in Wales this season to maintain their hopes of a European Champions Cup spot for next season.

After defeats at Scarlets, Ospreys and Cardiff, Alan Solomons’ side finally came away from the Principality with a 16-15 victory. They currently sit in seventh position, four points behind Glasgow.

It might have been a deserved win for Edinburgh, but it was a far from impressive performance as once again they made had hard work of emphasising their superiority.

A high tackle by Tom Brown on Carl Meyer gave Dragons the first chance for points but Dorian Jones was short with an optimistic penalty attempt from inside his own half.

Having started slowly, Edinburgh secured more territory and possession. Sam Beard seemed anxious to impress his new club – he joins Dragons for next season – by testing their defence, but some wasteful kicking from Phil Burleigh gave the home side a chance to relieve the pressure.

The visitors took the lead in the 17th minute when Blair Kinghorn fired over an excellent 50-metre penalty.

Both sides were guilty of aimless kicking and inaccurate passing and as a result, neither could gather any continuity in their play. Still, Edinburgh were becoming increasingly dominant and after 24 minutes, they looked to have scored the first try when Hamish Watson appeared to have placed the ball over the Dragons line as he was tackled by Brok Harris. Sadly, the TMO replays showed that the placement was short.

A knock on from wing Hallam Amos gave Edinburgh a five-metre scrum, but once again they failed to capitalise as they conceded a needless penalty under the Dragons’ posts.

Another error, this time No.8 Toby Faletau for failing to release, allowed Edinburgh to extend their lead with a penalty by Sam Hildago-Clyne.

Back came Dragons with their first real attack of the match. A break from Tyler Morgan led to Amos being forced into touch by Kinghorn just short of the line. From the resulting line-out, a terrible throw from Ross Ford let Dragons prop Phil Price seize the loose ball and come within inches. However, some desperate tackling kept him out.

Dragons were able to 
maintain the pressure for Jones to put them on the scoreboard, but this was nullified by another penalty from Hildago-Clyne to give Edinburgh a 9-3 interval advantage.

Seventy seconds after the interval, Dragons were ahead. They caught the visitors’ defence napping for Amos to spot a gap to score a try, which Jones converted.

Three minutes later, Edinburgh reacted in the best way possible with their first try when Watson forced his way over from a driving line-out for Hildago-Clyne to convert 
before Kinghorn was wide with a penalty attempt.

The second half was proving to be a whole lot better than the first as a third try came after 54 minutes when a sweeping movement was finished off by Amos, who rounded Kinghorn to score.

Jones failed with the conversion as did Hildago-Clyne with two penalties attempts as Edinburgh clung nervously to a one-point lead, but they held on for a deserved win as the final quarter was scoreless.

Dragons: Meyer; Hewitt, Morgan, Warren (Hughes 69), Amos, Jones (O’Brien 61), Pretorius (Davies 69), Price (Stankovich 64), Thomas(c) (Gustafson 74), Harris (Fairbrother 64), Hill (Screech 33), Landman, Evans, Faletau, Cudd (Jackson 76).

Edinburgh: Kinghorn; Hoyland, Allen, Beard (Dean 73), Brown, Burleigh, Hildago-Clyne, Dickinson (Sutherland 67) Ford (c) (McInally 60), Nel (Andress 55), Cox, Bresler, Toolis, Ritchie (Bradbury 67), Du Preez, Watson.