Edinburgh posted a second straight Guinness PRO14 victory and marked the first home win of Richard Cockerill’s tenure with a 35-18 triumph over the Dragons on Friday evening.
The hosts led at half-time through a Blair Kinghorn try, converted by Duncan Weir, who also landed two penalties. Sam Hidalgo-Clyne and Junior Rasolea bagged further tries, before Robbie Fruean marked his first appearance for the club with the bonus-point score. Weir added two of the conversions, and another penalty.
All of the Dragons’ points came from the boot of Gavin Henson, who was on target with five penalties and a drop goal at Myreside.
The visitors had an early spell of pressure, but the Edinburgh defence held firm until the 10th minute when Henson slotted a close-range penalty to ease the Welsh outfit into the lead.
And the Dragons stand-off doubled his tally with a sweetly struck drop goal four minutes later, as his side continued to have the momentum in their favour. Indeed, Edinburgh had visited the opposition only twice in the opening 20 minutes.
However, the first involvement of debutant Fruean injected some urgency into the home side’s offensive effort and the higher intensity paid off on 22 minutes when Weir banged over a 25-metre penalty.
And with the Scottish side now in the ascendancy, a bristling run by Kinghorn was the precursor to a second successful kick by Weir to restore parity.
The hosts grabbed the lead with half an hour gone when Weir fed Chris Dean and his exquisite flip freed Kinghorn, who hurtled over near the posts to leave Weir a simple conversion.
Kinghorn was again prominent with a surging run that carried play back into the Dragons’ 22. But, as they sought to capitalise on the latest incursion, over-zealous use of the boot by Weir handed possession back to the visitors and earned the Scotland international 10 minutes in the sin-bin.
Dragons had trimmed the deficit to 13-9 by the interval after Henson booted a penalty in the final action of the half.
The home side bounced back with a second try seven minutes after the restart, and again Kinghorn was at the heart of the action, taking a pass from Rasolea and racing into space before a one-handed offload to Hidalgo-Clyne allowed the scrum-half to scamper in between the sticks and leave Weir a straightforward conversion that took his side’s advantage into double figures.
Henson clawed back three points with another penalty and the visitors appeared to have added another five points when Angus O’Brien launched a cross-field kick and Hallam Amos flipped the ball inside, but Elliot Dee was deemed to have had a foot in touch.
Henson maintained his flawless kicking effort with a further penalty and he set nerves fluttering among the home supporters with another three-pointer.
However, with 66 minutes on the clock, Weir restored calm in the Edinburgh ranks with another penalty, and the hosts moved 10 points clear with 10 minutes to play when Fruean delivered the scoring pass for Rasolea to power over in the corner.
That sparked the race for the bonus-point try and it came with four minutes to play when reserve scrum-half Nathan Fowles picked out Fruean with a beautifully weighted pass and the centre raced over. Weir’s conversion completed the victory.