Edinburgh lose battle to Benetton
Edinburgh fell short at Hive Stadium tonight as Benetton clawed back to claim a late victory in a back-and-forth encounter in the capital.
Blair Kinghorn grabbed two tries in his last home outing for the club, while Matt Currie got on the scoresheet as Edinburgh led at 19-10 at the break.
Ignacio Mendy’s try had kept the Italians in touch and a Marco Zanon double secured a win for the Italians.
Despite Eli Snyman red card with three minutes remaining, Ben Healy was just wide with what would have been a winning drop goal in overtime.
Edinburgh got off to the best possible start as Kinghorn hit a sumptuous line for the first points of the evening on five minutes.
Duhan van der Merwe thought he had touched down as he collided with a post protector after two minutes only for the try to be ruled out by the TMO.
The home side did make the early pressure tell a minute later as Kinghorn showed what Edinburgh will be missing as he pounced on a fine Healy pass, with the latter converting.
Edinburgh thought they had a second try when James Lang touched down in the corner after Rhyno Smith spilled a clearance, but the TMO this time ruled that the ball had been in touch.
The capital side again responded immediately to a disallowed try and Healy’s superb chip allowed Currie to touch down in the corner.
Benetton thought they had touched down in their first foray forward, but Malakai Fekitoa was ruled to have lost the ball on the try line.
Currie was denied his second try courtesy of a forward pass from Kinghorn and the visitors made them pay when Mendy raced all the way from his own five-metre line to win the foot race against Healy.
Jacob Umaga quickly followed his conversion by slotting over a penalty to reduce the arrears to two points.
However, Kinghorn was to have the last say of the first half as the Scotland full-back raced down the wing to score, with Healy converting.
Immediately after the break, Zanon crashed over between two tacklers and Umaga’s conversion took Benetton again to within two points of their hosts.
A Healy penalty eased pressure as Mirco Spagnolo was sent to the sin bin for bringing the maul down immediately after coming on as a replacement.
However, back at full strength, Benetton put Edinburgh in trouble with a kick upfield and Zanon pounced on a loose pass to score, with Umaga’s conversion giving his side the lead for the first time.
Second-row Snyman was shown a red card for a high tackle on Van der Merwe with three minutes remaining, but Benetton held out for their second away win this season.
Edinburgh: Kinghorn, Goosen, Currie, Lang, Van der Merwe, Healy, Price; Schoeman, Cherry, Nel, Young, Gilchrist (c), Ritchie, Boyle, Crosbie.
Replacements: Ashman, Venter, Williams, Sykes, Dodd, Vellacott, Swiel, Dean.
Benetton: Smith, Odogwu, Fekitoa, Zanon, Mendy, Umaga, Uren; Gallo, Nicotera, Zilocchi, Iachizzi, Snyman, Izekor, Lamaro (c), Cannone.
Replacements: Bernasconi, Spagnalo, Pasquali, Favretto, Halahifi, Time-Stowers, Hidalgo-Clyne, Da Re.