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United Rugby Championship: Edinburgh beat Zebre to keep play-off hopes alive


Comment on the photo, Ben Vellacott’s try was the perfect choice for Edinburgh

  • author, Andy Burke
  • Role, BBC Sport Scotland Chief Correspondent
  • Report from Cell stadium

United Rugby Championship

Try: Ashman 2, Neil, Dean, Vellacott, Sebastian; Transfers: Healy 3, Scott 2

Try: Preciantelli, Trulla; Transfers: Dominguez, Montemori

Edinburgh kept their Rugby United Championship qualifying hopes alive with a bonus-point win over bottom club Zebre Parma.

Two tries from Euan Ashman – either side of a solo effort by Geronimo Prisciantelli for the Italians – and one from WB Neill put Edinburgh ahead at half-time.

Jacopo Trulla’s effort gave the visitors hope, but substitutes Chris Dean, Ben Vellacott and Gavan Sebastian crossed to put the game beyond doubt.

The win lifts Edinburgh to sixth place in the table ahead of the rest of the weekend’s matches.

On a brilliant evening in Edinburgh, the home team knew that anything less than the maximum five points would be unsatisfactory against bottom side URC.

The Italians started well until the power of the heavy strike in Edinburgh proved too much, with Ashman scoring with the opening try of the match.

The home fans watched in disbelief as Prisciantelli delivered a clearance inside his own half and proceeded to slide straight through the Edinburgh defense all the way to the goal line to put the visitors ahead.

At times Edinburgh’s attack looked a bit disjointed, but they reverted to the tried and tested to send Ashman back at the back of the attack to restore a 12-7 lead.

Neal powered his way in from close range for a third try just before half-time to ensure the home side’s 12-point lead to the better.

The platform was there for Edinburgh to go ahead and win comfortably, but that has not been their strength this season.

A foul-filled start to the second half prevented any sort of flow to the match, that was until Trulla ended a spell of Zebre pressure to get the Italians back into the game at 19-12.

The Edinburgh bench brought some much needed urgency to proceedings and one of the substitutes, Dean, was on hand to collect Ben Healy’s brilliant offload to score the hosts’ fourth try.

Vellacott capped off a lively cameo off the bench at the fifth attempt and Sebastian nailed the final play to give the scoreboard a bit of a shine, but Edinburgh know the sterner tests are yet to come.

Edinburgh coach Sean Everett: “Happy with the five points; disappointed with the second half. Credit to Zebre, it’s a team that doesn’t disappear.

“We knew that we would face a struggle, but we are happy that the players showed their composure in the round of 20 to resolve the matter easily.”

Formations

Edinburgh: Goosen, Currie, Bennett, Lange, van der Merwe, Healy, Price; Schumann, Ashmann, Neill, Skinner, Gilchrist (centre), Ritchie, Watson, Mata.

Replacements: Cherry, Venter, Sebastian, Sykes, Crosby, Vellacott, Scott, Dean.

zebra: Prisciantelli, Trulla, Paya, Locchin, Jesi, Montemurri, Dominguez; Haasa, Ribaldi, Benetari, Canali, Zambonen, Ferrari, Fox Matamoa, Licata (C)

Replacements: Di Bartolomeo, Taddei, Genovese, Cisse, Staveli, Garcia, Mazza, Bani.



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