Southern Kings 21
A HAT-TRICK from replacement scrum-half Sam Hidalgo-Clyne during the final ten minutes added sparkle to a well-deserved victory for Edinburgh against a Southern Kings outfit which contains real pace in their back-line but is desperately lacking the power and nous up-front to be a serious force in this league.
Despite a mid-match wobble, the victory was more-or-less in the bag for Edinburgh before Hidalgo-Clyne’s swashbuckling cameo off the bench, thanks to four previous scores from the Scottish side. It might not have been a complete 80 minute performance but head coach Richard Cockerill – a notoriously hard-to-please taskmaster – was clearly satisfied with his team’s performance.
“We did some really good things. We started the game really well and scored three early tries, the Kings came back into it but we kept our composure and dug in deep, so I’m pretty pleased with how the boys performed,” he said.
“Sam had a big impact, as did Ben Toolis when he came on and carried ball for us. The forwards started to get on the front foot, and Sam managed to get in there and really make that count.”
“Overall it has been a good couple of weeks for us,” the coach added – reflecting on the opportunity to have the whole squad away in South Africa together for a week and a half mid-season. “The performance last week against the Cheetahs was good but one or two areas let us down. The boys have worked hard this week and we got a good performance and a good result out there.”
“The pace we played with and the intent we showed with the ball in hand was pleasing. It has not been a feature of Edinburgh in the past, so we fell we are moving in the right direction, but we are not getting ahead of ourselves.”
“We’re on a pretty good run. We’re starting to build something a little bit substantial here both on and off the field and it is a case of continuing to do that with some really big games coming up. I’m beginning to hear a little bit about this 1872 Cup – Edinburgh have got to catch Glasgow, and that’s what we intend doing.”
Edinburgh got off to a flying start when captain Fraser McKenzie barged over from close range in the third minute after a passage of impressive phase play. Jaco van der Walt, making his first start for the club, added the conversion, but could not do the same a few minutes later after Fijian blindside flanker Villame Mata claimed try number two.
Kings prop Schalk Ferreira was sent for ten minutes in the cooler for a high tackle in Neil Cochrane, and van der Walt stepped forward to claim the three points on offer, but the Kings struck back through the boot of Kurt Colman just two minutes later.
Edinburgh were soon back on the offensive, with Grant Gilchrist claiming try number three after a series of powerful bursts from the visiting team’s big forwards, and Van der Walt’s conversion made it 3-22 to the visitors with the game still inside the first quarter.
But they then paid a hefty price when Cornell du Preez’s loose pass towards van der Walt was hacked ahead by home inside centre Berton Klaasen, allowing outside centre Harlon Klaasen to demonstrate serious pace to claim an excellent counter-attacking try. Colman added the conversion, and then knocked over two penalties to reduce the gap to just six points at half-time.
Having been competitive for at least the first half against the Cheetahs last week before falling away at the end, the way Edinburgh had let the Kings back into this game was ominous.
A fairly hectic opening 40 gave way to a stalemate during the first 20 minutes of the second half, until Dougie Fife clinched the bonus point by crashing through three defenders on the blindside of a dominant Edinburgh scrum.
With home full-back Yaw Penxe in the sin-bin, Edinburgh – and specifically replacement scrum-half Sam Hidalgo-Clyne – finished the contest off with three quick-fire tries against an increasingly demoralised looking Kings outfit.
Dries van Schalkwyk grabbed a try for the Kings at the back of a line-out drive in injury time, but it will have provided the South Africans with little consolation. They are now 10 defeats from 10 outings so far since joining the league at the start of the season.
Edinburgh: B Kinghorn; D Fife, J Johnstone, P Burleigh, D van der Merwe; J van der Walt, N Fowles (S Hidalgo-Clyne 56); R Sutherland (M Rizzo 61), N Cochrane (C Fenton 70), S Berghan (M McCallum 70), F McKenzie (B Toolis 56), G Gilchrist, V Mata (L Crosbie 53), J Ritchie, C du Preez.
Southern Kings: Y Penxe; M Makase (J Nel 25), H Klaasen, B Klaasen, A Volmink; K Coleman (B van Rensburg 61), R van Rooyen (G Masimla 68); S Ferreira (L Pupuma 68), S Coetzee, R de Klerk (P Scholtz 19), S Greeff (L Mtyanda 61), B de Wee, A Ntsila (D van Schalkwyk 68), M Burger, R Lerm.
Referee: Stuart Berry (South Africa)
Southern Kings: Try: H Klaasen, van Schalkwyk; Con: Colman; Pen: Colman 3.
Edinburgh: Tries: McKenzie, Mata, Gilchrist, Fife, Hidalgo-Clyne 3; Con: van der Walt 2, Hidalgo Clyne 3; Pen: van der Walt.
Scoring sequence (Southern Kings first): 0-5; 0-7; 0-12; 0-15; 3-15; 3-20; 3-22; 8-22; 10-22; 13-22; 16-22 (h-t) 16-27; 16-32; 16-34; 16-39; 16-41; 16-46; 16-48; 21-48.
Yellow cards –
Southern Kings: Ferreira, Penxe
Edinburgh: Du Preez