Edinburgh remain top of Conference B in the Guinness PRO14 after edging past Cardiff 14-6 in a far from thrilling affair at BT Murrayfield.
There was no sign of the swashbuckling rugby that had seen Richard Cockerill’s men demolish Connacht seven days earlier.
However, the result was more important than the performance and Edinburgh continued their march towards the play-offs while preserving a run the means they are still unbeaten this season.
And the only scoring of the second period came in the closing eight minutes when Hickey added two further penalties.
After 10 minutes in which both sides applied the boot more than they handled the ball, the visitors opened the scoring when Tovey, back on the turf that was his home patch for two seasons, banged over a penalty.
Hallam Amos gathered the restart but paid the price for dithering when his clearance was charged down by Taylor, who gathered well and plunged over. Hickey’s conversion attempt rattled back off the post.
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Cardiff sought an instant response and Amos came within a whisker of atoning for that error with a bristling run down the right flank, but he was bundled into touch just short of the whitewash.
The visitors continued to press and Tovey had a chance to nudge his side back into the lead with a penalty for a line-out offence but his kick was just wide of the target.
The hosts also squandered a three-pointer when Hickey hit the left hand post for a second time. But he made amends a couple of minutes later with another award that sailed over.
Cardiff battled back and by half-time, the deficit was down to two points after Tovey slotted is second penalty from close range.
Neither side threatened the opposition line in the opening 10 minutes of the second period, but Edinburgh gradually ratcheted up the pressure and it looked to be only a matter of time before they eventually unlocked the Cardiff defence. The chance came in the form of a penalty, but Hickey was just short with a 45 metre effort.
The game stuttered towards the final 10 minutes with Edinburgh still in the ascendancy, but the lack of a cutting edge within sight of the line meant that the score remained unchanged.
A huge signing, both literally and figuratively for Leicester Tigers. https://t.co/gy3RG36QvY
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) February 28, 2020
With advantage being played, Duhan van der Merwe latched onto a cross kick from Hickey and was thwarted just short of the line as he tried to extend his try scoring record to six matches. However, the referee brought play back to the original offence and this time Hickey steered his kick between the posts.
A penalty just inside their own half allowed Cardiff to mount a final effort to win the game.
A knock on inside the home 22 meant the hosts could boot the ball clear and a further penalty 35 metres out with two minutes left to play handed Hickey the chance to clinch the win.
He stroked over the kick to bag the victory and leave the visitors empty handed.
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