BULLDOZED: EDINBURGH BACK TO WINNING WAYS
Edinburgh Rugby got back to winning ways in the United rugby Championship tonight with a hard-fought win over Vodacom Bulls in front of a 6002 crowd at the DAM Health Stadium (17-10).
The home side carved out a 14-3 half-time lead courtesy of a try from Henry Immelman and the boot of stand-off Jaco van der Walt.
Wing Damien Hoyland threaded a beautifully weighted grubber kick through the Bulls’ defence as it drifted across to handle the short-side attack, with the powerhouse full-back racing on to touch the ball down over the line.
Van der Walt missed the conversion but, after Bulls counterpart Chris Smith sent a penalty through the sticks, made amends with a trio of penalties in a ten-minute spell.
That would be van der Walt’s last act of the half and the match, however, as he was forced off the field with a shoulder injury to put a dent in an otherwise positive opening 40.
HT: Edinburgh Rugby 14-3 Vodacom Bulls
Classically the wet weather came in and the game altered accordingly, although Edinburgh still showed a lot of intent with flurries down the short side getting the crowd on their feet.
Consensus pre-match would have almost certainly been that such conditions would favour the monstrous Bulls pack, however it was the home side who turned the screw in the close quarters – back-row Magnus Bradbury pushing Viliame Mata all the way for his man of the match award – and the scrum in particular a moment to celebrate as it contorted and bulldozed infringements out of their Springbok littered opposite eight.
It was, however, the visitors who were next to cross the whitewash, taking route one through the big men and, while Edinburgh defended repeatedly across the try line, back-row and captain Marcell Coetzee forced his way over from a yard out.
True to form, replacement stand-off Morne Steyn made no mistake with the extras to set up a tense finish to an enthralling match.
James Lang – operating at 10 since the break – was then forced off the field injured, so it fell to centre Mark Bennett to send a nerveless three pointer through the sticks to return the lead to seven points, while a significant shuffle in the back division got underway with the game in the balance and ten to go.
The match looked set to take another turn as wing Madosh Tambwe raced through and touched the ball down on the white line with an outstretched arm, however the TMO adjudged his slide to the line to include a double movement and was subsequently chalked off.
A one score game always carried the threat of a repeat of last week’s draw – especially with Steyn available behind the tee if a score came – but, when the Edinburgh scrum powered through their opponents with three minutes left on the clock, it seemed destined to be the home side’s night, as chants of ED-IN-BRA rung round the ground to see out the triumph.
FT: Edinburgh Rugby 17-10 Vodacom Bulls
Kick-off 5:15 pm