Cock­er­ill’s men set­tle a score

Sunday Herald - - RUGBY - BY LEWIS STU­ART

back Blair Kinghorn found a gap, with cen­tre James John­stone there to put Sam Hi­dalgo-Clyne in for the open­ing try with only three min­utes on the clock.

About 25 min­utes in, Tre­viso, de­spite hav­ing flanker Francesco Minto in the sin-bin, cut the deficit with two Ian McKin­ley penal­ties as they started to work their way into the game, with Ed­in­burgh’s line-out a par­tic­u­lar prob­lem.

Tre­viso kept the mo­men­tum after the break and wing An­gelo Es­pos­ito even­tu­ally went over. Ed­in­burgh could now hold their nerve and come through the test or they could fold.

Straight from the kick-off, they won a scrum for Kinghorn to ex­ploit the blind side and put Dougie Fife in. With Ja­son Tovey, later named man of the match, con­vert­ing, Ed­in­burgh were back in front. They eased fur­ther ahead with a Tovey penalty and ce­mented the win when Kinghorn and Fife pro­duced a re­play of the ear­lier try-scor­ing move, this time off a line- out drive. Kinghorn pro­duced a try-sav­ing tackle from the last move of the game, but the good news was that Ed­in­burgh had flirted with dis­as­ter but found a way to avoid it. WHO knows? After star­ing down the bar­rel of de­feat but find­ing a way to come through it and emerge with a con­fi­dence­boost­ing win, Ed­in­burgh may come to see this as the turn­ing point in their sea­son.

It has been a hor­ri­ble few weeks for them off the field, with drink and drug al­le­ga­tions haunt­ing the camp, but on the field they have had a per­fect start to the European Chal­lenge Cup and are show­ing signs that the dif­fi­cult times might be help­ing to pull the squad to­gether.

This was a game they could eas­ily have lost. They had a bright start, but sur­ren­dered the ini­tia­tive to al­low Tre­viso to over­haul them. That was the crunch time; would they find a way back or would they give up? To their credit, it was the for­mer, and head coach Richard Cock­er­ill was de­lighted with the play­ers’ re­sponse.

“It was im­por­tant for us that we proved we can win away against a side that we lost to at home,” he said. “We are get­ting there with the con­fi­dence in the team. Even when we were un­der pres­sure we kept to our game plan, ball-in-hand, and we were a threat the whole game.

“Our game is slowly de­vel­op­ing and grow­ing, though there is still a long way to go. This is a dif­fi­cult place to come – just ask Toulon who spend a con­sid­er­able amount of money more than we do [and needed an ex­tra-time penalty to win 30-29 in the European Cham­pi­ons Cup].

“We are pleased with the win. We said five weeks ago we wanted to win the next five games; now we have won four and have Ospreys at home next week to fin­ish it. We have to front up then.”

Ed­in­burgh had the per­fect start, win­ning a line-out in the home 22 and rum­bling through the phases un­til full- PRO14

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