Edinburgh 32-15 Aironi, Magners League, April 15
Edinburgh power to bonus point win
April 15, 2011
Edinburgh's Mike Blair works hard to protect the ball during the clash at Murrayfield
© PA Photos
Edinburgh scored a morale-boosting 32-15 bonus point win at the end of a poor season to leave Italy's Magners League new boys Aironi still looking for an away win.
An early Fraser McKenzie try followed by two more from Mike Blair and Tim Visser saw the hosts take a 24-8 lead, with Danwel Demas touching down for the visitors. The second-half brought a second try for Aironi, through Nick Williams, but by then veteran Chris Paterson had already added a fourth for Edinburgh to make sure of the bonus point.
Looking for only a second back-to-back win since November, Edinburgh made the best possible start with seven points on the board inside four minutes. McKenzie, whose move to Sale next season was confirmed this week, finished a move that had swept across the field and back again after a precise lineout feed by Scott MacLeod.
Greig Laidlaw converted and put his side 10-0 ahead with a long penalty in 13 minutes after he had been blocked following his own chip ahead. However Laidlaw turned sinner after 17 minutes as the Italians built their first meaningful attack. He deliberately knocked forward a pass from Matteo Pratichetti that threatened to put Williams over. James Marshall kicked the Aironi penalty.
Referee John Lacey sent Laidlaw to the sin bin, so when a penalty came Edinburgh's way three minutes later full-back James Thompson was called upon but failed. Lacey had his yellow card out again in the 28th minute, sending both Edinburgh's Esteban Lozada and Aironi's Marco Bortolami to the sin bin after a fist-fight.
Edinburgh forged ahead with tries after 31 and 36 minutes as first Blair, who broke clear from a post-lineout ruck, and then Visser, who raced past two challengers, scored. Laidlaw converted both. However right on half-time Aironi scored a try through Demas, who was sent in from a slick pass by Gareth Krause. Marshall missed the conversion leaving the half-time deficit at 16 points.
Aironi had the better of the territory in the early stages of the second half, coming close to a second touchdown when the ball was briefly lost in a forward pile up on the home line. They came even closer in the 58th minute, with only a cracking tackle by Visser stopping Demas scoring.
A minute later, in cruel fashion for the Italians, Edinburgh scored the bonus-point try. Off an interception substitute Nick de Luca ran half the length of the park before allowing fellow replacement Chris Paterson to hare in. The busy Italians scored a second try, number eight Williams powering over with Marshall converting.
As the game ran its course Laidlaw knocked over a penalty to confirm the win that takes Edinburgh up one place in the league table to eighth.
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