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Edinburgh begin Rainbow Cup campaign with victory over Zebre

By PA
(Photo by Paul Devlin/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Matt Currie scored a try on his first Edinburgh start as Richard Cockerill’s side claimed an opening PRO14 Rainbow Cup triumph courtesy of an improved second-half display against Zebre.

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The Italians deservedly led at the break at BT Murrayfield but a youthful Edinburgh team secured a 24-18 victory after dominating the second half.

The impressive Eroni Sau notched the first try of the game for Edinburgh before Andrea Lovotti replied, and Carlo Canna’s kicking had Zebre six points ahead at the break.

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But the hosts scored tries from skipper Luke Crosbie and 20-year-old centre Currie as the home team pushed their opponents back for the bulk of the second half, before Johan Meyer bagged a last-gasp consolation try.

Cockerill named a squad with an average age of 24, with 19-year-old Ben Muncaster making his debut among a raft of young Scottish-qualified players.

Canna bagged an early penalty before Sau struck in the 12th minute following a fine team move. Mike Willemse broke off a maul following a line-out on the right and Edinburgh worked it out to the opposite flank where Blair Kinghorn fed Sau to go over in the corner.

Nathan Chamberlain, the 21-year-old fly-half, produced a brilliant conversion but Zebre responded magnificently.

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Stand-off Canna kicked a penalty and was generally dictating play, while number eight Renato Giammarioli was making serious headway through the Edinburgh ranks.

The visitors got their first try in the 26th minute when Lovotti powered over from close range after a penalty kick into the corner. Canna put them 13-7 ahead.

Edinburgh were a changed side after the break and produced a controlled display with the penalty count going in their favour.

Sau was instrumental in Edinburgh’s second try, bursting past six defenders after getting the ball from Crosbie following a line-out. Jamie Hodgson was just held up but Crosbie went over.

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Kinghorn was stopped near the line and Sau came close again after a pass over the top from Chamberlain, but Pierre Bruno’s tackle put him into touch near the corner.

Currie burst on to Chris Dean’s close-range pass and over the line to extend the lead and could have had another try if Damien Hoyland had released him.

Chamberlain added a late penalty to his three conversions and the clock had gone past the 80-minute mark when Meyer finished off a slick breakaway to reduce the deficit.

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B.J. Spratt 4 hours ago
All Blacks vs England takeaways: Richie Who? Time for Cortez

You Poms and Paddies are really nice guys. New Zealand V Ireland - 37 Tests - N.Z. 31 Wins - Ireland 5 Wins - 1 draw. New Zealand V England - 45 Tests - N.Z. 35 Wins -England 8 Wins - 2 draws. Combined - You have beaten the All Blacks 13 Times in 82 attempts over 119 years. The Stats over 100 years + would say, especially England with 6 Times the player pool than New Zealand, you have “a limitation of context” regarding developing your coaches to teach your players how to WIN. So how can England with a 6 times the player numbers have a 17% winning strike rate against New Zealand? and be 8 -0 in Test Series over 100 years. The answer is simple. Your perception of the game. How do you fix it? You need to play in New Zealand for a couple of seasons in your teens, 18 -20 or send coaches over here. Martin Johnstone played 2 seasons here under the mentorship of Colin Meads. When he came here he had rugby shorts with pockets and a handkerchief in one pocket. He played for NZ Under 21 against Wallaby John Eales. He became the toughest player in the game and the best ever English Captain and Captained the Lions twice. Legend! Maybe if he hadn’t come to New Zealand, he may still had those rugby shorts with pockets. Recently Rogan O’Gara spent time at the Crusaders. What a great coach. “Our “mindset is different” and that’s how we have beaten you for 100 years + How the hell he isn’t Coaching Ireland, France, England, Wales, or Scotland I will never know? England has 131,000 Senior rugby Players. Ireland has 21,000 Senior Players. New Zealand has 27,000 Senior Players.

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