Edinburgh claimed top spot in the Guinness PRO14 Conference B with a crushing 61-13 win over basement side Southern Kings at BT Murrayfield.
Richard Cockerill’s men had to work hard for the first hour but then scored at will as Kings capitulated in the final quarter when they were down to 12 men.
Edinburgh only led 19-13 at the break on the back of first-half tries from Mike Willemse, Duhan Van Der Merwe and Matt Scott, along with two conversions from Jaco Van Der Walt.
However, it was one-way traffic after the break as the home side added further touchdowns through James Johnstone, Eroni Sau, Dave Cherry, Charlie Shiel and Mark Bennett, plus a penalty try. Five Van Der Walt conversions completed the job as Edinburgh claimed a convincing bonus-point victory.
Erich Cronje and J-T Jackson crossed for Kings before the break, with Jackson adding the other points with a penalty.
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After an opening nine minutes when both sides were content to boot the ball aimlessly into opposition territory, it was the South African visitors who broke the deadlock.
Cronje was involved at the start and finish. He ran at the Edinburgh defence after a lineout inside the home 22 following a scrum penalty. And a couple of phases later, with the referee playing advantage, Jackson chipped the ball into the corner, where the winger was on hand to dot down.
They dispatched the penalty into touch where Grant Gilchrist gathered the throw and the home pack shunted the visitors backwards, allowing former Kings hooker Willemse to finish off. A successful conversion by another South African, Van Der Walt, nudged Edinburgh into the lead.
Jackson was off target with a long-range penalty but was successful with his next kick, a close-range effort that edged Kings back ahead after Lewis Carmichael was penalised for not rolling away.
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Leinster is already up 26-0 here but after the Munster-Leinster clash was also starved of stars, have to think something is going on here. Is Irish Rugby sandbagging for the 2020 Six Nations after their disappointing World Cup? ??#irishrugby #leinster #connacht #sixnations #6nations #ireland #ulsterrugby #munsterrugby
Edinburgh responded in style with a fine solo effort by Van Der Merwe , whose powerful diagonal run took him past four defenders after Henry Pyrgos and Van Der Walt had combined to free him.
And the lead grew to double figures in the 34th minute when Van Der Walt added the extras after Scott finished off a slick handling move started by Blair Kinghorn and involving five players.
Kings reduced the deficit when Jackson kicked a penalty into touch then finished off the subsequent moved when he dived in at the corner for an unconverted score that left Edinburgh only six points ahead at the break.
However, that was as close as the South African outfit would come as Edinburgh, after a slow start, ended up adding another 42 points without reply in the second period.
The bonus point came within five minutes of the restart when Scott made a break and the ball was moved wide via Van Der Walt and Kinghorn to Johnstone, who sprinted over for a converted score.
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The visitors were reduced to 13 men after being forced to sacrifice a player when a front row injury resulted in uncontested scrums.
Despite that, the hosts failed to add to their tally until the 67th minute when referee Joy Neville awarded a penalty try after Gilchrist was thwarted illegally as he dived over.
Aston Fortuin was yellow-carded for the offence and the hosts made the most of their three-man advantage when Shiel darted into space and released Sau, whose try was converted by Van Der Walt.
And the stand-off added the extras after Cherry blasted his way over and again after Shiel finished off another breakout with try number eight, before completing the scoring when he converted a late Bennett touchdown.
One of Welsh rugby’s biggest characters on and off the pitch, RugbyPass travelled to Brecon to see how life after rugby is treating Andy Powell:
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