Edinburgh 24-10 Benetton: Capital club drop second as Blair Kinghorn and Darcy Graham impress

Darcy Graham of Edinburgh scores the first try of the game against Benetton. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

Starting the game from a distance, he had a major role to play in the first half trials for Darcy Graham and Emiliano Boffelli. An injury to Damien Hoyland saw Kinghorn go to the wing and he showed his versatility by scoring his own try in the second half and also reversed two conversions.

Stuart McInally scored a fourth try just as Benetton looked set to return to the game and the 24-10 victory means Edinburgh have now won four in a row and overtake Ulster who face the Ospreys on Saturday. Leinster is in the lead by one point ahead.

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Edinburgh had to weather an early storm and the only damage caused was the concession of a seventh-minute penalty to Leonardo Marin.

Matt Currie raises his arm in celebration as Emiliano Boffelli scores Edinburgh’s second try of the game. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)

The home team needed a spark and it was provided by Hamish Watson. The flanker, making his first club appearance of the season, has embarked on a mad race deep into Italian territory. The ball went through the hands of Boffelli, Dave Cherry and Ben Vellacott and when the scrum half tried to bring it back to Watson, Benetton captain Dewaldt Duvenage threw his hand out.

It was a deliberate move and Duvenage was sent to the sin-bin. Edinburgh kicked the corner and from the driving roster maul Vellacott went blind, fed Kinghorn who starred in Graham for the game’s first down. The winger, wearing his club socks, was free to land on Hawick High Street.

Edinburgh increased their advantage with a second try eight minutes later. Kinghorn was the instigator, escaping halfway, then playing Graham with a one-handed pass.

The winger danced around a group of Benetton defenders before being stopped but Edinburgh was able to retrain and when the ball was played down the line towards Boffelli there were acres of space for the ‘Argentinian could score.

Blair Kinghorn had just enough downward pressure to score Edinburgh’s third try after a loose pass from Benetton. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)

Graham turned out to be a thorn in Benetton’s side and showed his worth at the other end of the pitch with a test tackle on Michele Lamoro after a nice break from Tommaso Menoncello.

Edinburgh lost Viliame Mata and Hoyland to injury towards the end of the first half, but the momentum remained with the home side after the turn. They increased their lead when Benetton gave them a score with a few loose passes on their own line. When the ball landed between two defenders, Kinghorn jumped up and had just enough downward pressure to get the score.

Despite the 14-point deficit, Benetton continued to threaten and they got the try their game deserved when substitute flanker Manuel Zuliani pushed his way through after a period of sustained pressure. Marin’s conversion brought the Italians to an Edinburgh convert try as the game entered its final quarter.

The response from the home team has been overwhelming. Henry Pyrgos, in Vellacott’s place, eased the pressure on Benetton when he continued his own kick into the corner. Edinburgh continued to turn the screw and Stuart McInally was at the end of the roster maul training to get the bonus point try. Kinghorn converted.

Scorers: Edinburgh: Tryouts: Graham, Boffelli, Kinghorn, McInally. Cons: Kinghorn 2

Benetton: Try: Zuliani. Disadvantage: Navy. Pen: Marin

Edinburgh: Emiliano Boffelli; Darcy Graham, Matt Currie, James Lang (Mark Bennett 70), Damien Hoyland (Charlie Savala 39); Blair Kinghorn, Ben Vellacott (Henry Pyrgos 62); Boan Venter (Pierre Schoeman 50), Dave Cherry (Stuart McInally 50), Lee-Roy Atalifo (Angus Williams 62), Jamie Hodgson (Marshall Sykes 65), Grant Gilchrist (c), Magnus Bradbury, Hamish Watson, Viliame Mata (Jamie Ritchie 29).

Benetton: Rhyno Smith; Ratuva Tavuyara (Edoardo Padovani 24), Ignacio Brex, Tommaso Menoncello, Monty Ioane; Leonardo Marin (Joaquin Riera 70), Dewaldt Duvenage (Alessandro Garbisi 70); Federico Zani (Thomas Gallo 27), Hame Faiva (Gianmarco Lucchesi 46), Tiziano Pasquali (Ivan Nemer 46), Niccolò Cannone (Carl Wegner 33), Federico Ruzza, Giovanni Pettinelli (Manuel Zuliani 46), Michele Lamaro, Toa Halafihi

Referee: Adam Jones (WRU)

Attendance: 5,438

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