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Rugby | Pro14

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Edinburgh outgun the Kings

Mark Bennett produced a man-of-the-match display on his Edinburgh debut, and return from a lengthy injury lay-off, to help his new club to a convincing Guinness PRO14 victory over the Southern Kings.

In a hailstorm at Myreside, centre Bennett looked accomplished in his first competitive action for ten months as he completed his comeback from a cruciate ligament injury – running hard with ball in hand and looking solid defensively in the 37-7 win.

Bennett’s injury woes meant this was the first time he had pulled on an Edinburgh jersey since his summer move from Glasgow Warriors and although he didn’t cross the whitewash, tries from Grant Gilchrist, Blair Kinghorn, Duhan van der Merwe, Cameron Fenton and Dougie Fife wrapped up a bonus-point triumph.

Ntabeni Dukisa got the Southern Kings on the board with a late consolation try but Edinburgh’s impressive home record was never really threatened – their only defeat as hosts this season remains when Benetton Rugby were the visitors in round three.

Despite not having played a Guinness PRO14 game in more than a month, the Kings showed no signs of ring rust as they started the stronger at Myreside, setting up camp in the home 22.

However, they failed to turn territory into points as the Edinburgh defence held firm on their own line and fly-half Kurt Coleman pulled a relatively straightforward tenth-minute penalty wide of the left upright.

As Edinburgh finally gained a foothold in the game, Jaco van der Walt slotted a three-pointer midway through the first half and that seemed to galvanise the hosts as they ran in two tries shortly after.

The first was slightly fortuitous as towering lock Gilchrist charged down a box kick from Rudi van Rooyen in his own 22, hinted at a previous life as a handy footballer by delicately tapping the ball round the covering Coleman and fell on it over the line in the right corner.

Van der Walt missed the tricky conversion but made no such mistake two minutes later following a try started and finished by Kinghorn.

The talented full-back making the initial electrifying break before Chris Dean kicked through the onrushing Kings defence, allowing Kinghorn to race away and drop on the ball in the in-goal area.

The 15-0 half-time advantage became 18-0 early in the second period as van der Walt added another penalty before the Kings were ironically undone by a South African connection on 58 minutes.

Van der Walt lobbed a pass wide to his compatriot van der Merwe who touched down in the corner to put the result beyond any doubt at 25-0.

It took 71 minutes for Edinburgh to secure the four-try bonus point and it came from an inexorable driving maul right up the middle of the field, which Fenton guided over the line for the score.

Shortly after, a dinked kick into the corner was not handled by Edinburgh defence and Dukisa opportunistically dotted down for a Kings consolation but the Scots would have the last laugh in similar circumstances right on full-time.

Van der Walt grubber kicked through and although Masixole Banda looked perfectly placed to deal with the danger, he missed the ball when trying to dive on it allowing Fife to gleefully touch down for Edinburgh’s fifth and final try.

- https://www.pro14rugby.org


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