Edinburgh Rugby coach Alan Solomons praised his squad’s “strength in depth” after the Capital outfit kept up their 100 per cent record in the European Challenge Cup with a 24-6 win away at London Welsh.
The victory at the Kassam Stadium in Oxford may not have been topped off with a bonus point, but Solomons’ men are now five points clear of second-placed Bordeaux Begles with two games remaining.
A fine kicking display from Sam Hidalgo-Clyne and two tries from Dougie Fife and Roddy Grant broke down a stubborn London Welsh side, who stayed within touching distance of Edinburgh at half-time when only 9-3 down before the visitors turned up the heat.
“What these wins in the Challenge Cup have proved is that our strength in depth is much, much better than it has been in the past,” said Solomons. “We are playing without a number of international and front-line players, yet we are still managing to put in some strong performances.”
“The first thing is always to win the game. That’s important and that’s what we did.
“What was also very positive was the way in which our tight five dominated the scrum, line-out and maul. They were very good and meant we were buried in their territory in the second half. We have to continue to work on those areas in order to improve even more, because we didn’t make the most of our dominance in terms of tries in the end.
“If we can keep on developing a winning culture and mentality then the confidence in the squad will grow. If we win our next two games, then we’ll be through to the quarter-finals. That would be a significant step forward for this group to reach the last eight in a European tournament.”
Edinburgh went in 9-3 ahead at half-time thanks to Hidalgo-Clyne’s three penalties to Chris Elder’s one.
However, the hosts should have done much better as Edinburgh centre Andries Strauss was sin-binned, but they failed to do so, losing Lachlan McCaffrey to a yellow card just before the break to go down to 14 men themselves.
Hidalgo-Clyne and Elder again traded penalties soon after the restart before Scotland wing Dougie Fife made the significant breakthrough with a try in the 56th minute. Welsh lost a second player, lock Dean Schofield, to a yellow card before the end and their misery was complete three minutes from time when Roddy Grant crossed and Greig Tonks converted.
London Welsh: Pens – Elder (2)
Edinburgh: Tries – Fife, Grant. Pens – Hidalgo-Clyne (4). Con – Tonks
London Welsh: E Kear; C Elder, A Awcock (N Reynolds 57), T May (P Weepu 66), N Scott; O Barkley, R Lewis (P Rowley 68); E Aholelei (R Reeves 40), N Morris (N Vella 61), T Vea (B Cooper 68), D Schofield, J Down (M Corker 61), P Browne (B Pienaar 51), C Kirwin, L McCaffrey
Edinburgh: J Cuthbert; D Fife, M Scott, A Strauss (A Beard 76), T Visser; G Tonks, S Hidalgo-Clyne (G Hart 76); R Sutherland (G Shiells 32), N Cochrane (J Hilterbrand 68), J Andress (WP Nel 68), A Bresler (F McKenzie 66), B Toolis, T Leonardi (S McInally 48), R Grant, M Coman (Stuart McInally 19-25)