Richard Cockerill hails Edinburgh’s ‘big win on road’ after PRO14 triumph in Cardiff
Richard Cockeril revelled in a “big win on the road” after Edinburgh Rugby defeated Cardiff 19-11 in the Guinness PRO14.
The Capital outfit, shorn of so many of their international players, stunned the hosts with a try from Mark Bennett and expert kicking from stand-off Jaco van der Walt to take the spoils from Cardiff Arms Park.
Head coach Cockerill said: “These games could be the difference at the end of the season because they are so unexpected. This win and these four points that maybe you shouldn’t get are huge, aren’t they.
“It was a big win on the road for this group. We have a lot of guys missing, but the sum of our parts is the reason we won. Cardiff are in our pool and would probably put this down a match they should win.”
Cockerill had kept changes to a minimum for this match after an impressive opening-day win over Zebre last weekend and his players rewarded him with a gutsy effort.
Each side could only manage a single try with Owen Lane crossing for the hosts and Jarrod Evans kicking two penalties, while Bennett followed up his hat-trick against Zebre last week with his side’s try, as Van Der Walt added the conversion and four penalties.
Van Der Walt gave Edinburgh an early lead with two penalties as Blues infringed four times in the opening ten minutes.
It was then the turn of the Scots to incur the wrath of the referee by conceding three penalties in four minutes with Fraser McKenzie being yellow-carded for a deliberate offside.
Blues chose not to kick for goal and opted for driving line-outs, but it did not pay dividends as Liam Belcher lost possession as he dived over.
However, the hosts did take advantage of McKenzie’s absence when Garyn Smith broke Edinburgh’s defence with Aled Summerhill up in support to send Lane over.
Van Der Walt’s third attempt rebounded back off a post before McKenzie returned from the bin, but he was soon replaced in it by opposition lock Seb Davies, who flip-tackled Lewis Carmichael at a ruck in the home 22.
Despite the absence of Davies, Cardiff picked up the next score with a simple penalty from Evans but one for Van Der Walt nullified this to give the Scots a 9-8 interval lead.
Evans regained the lead with his second penalty before a superb burst from Duhan Van Der Merwe split the home defence to take his side into the opposition 22, from where Blues were penalised and Van Der Walt succeeded for the fourth time in six attempts.
Edinburgh still held a one-point lead going into the final quarter as both sides struggled to bring any continuity to the game, with frequent handling errors and regular penalty awards ensuring it was a disrupted contest.
Another try looked unlikely but, in the 71st minute, George Taylor made a clean break to send co-centre, Bennett, over with Van Der Walt’s conversion depriving Blues of a bonus point.