Edinburgh put in a clinical display in a 37-21 bonus-point victory over the winless Cheetahs in Edinburgh on Friday. DYLAN JACK reports.
The game was largely a struggle for the visitors, who fell 13 points behind at the break before staging a comeback with wing Sibhale Maxwane scoring a brace in the second half.
However, it was not to be as Edinburgh finished the stronger of the sides to claim their second win in a row.
Despite a solid start from the Cheetahs, Edinburgh took an early lead through a couple of penalties from flyhalf Simon Hickey.
The Cheetahs had a couple of early chances to apply good pressure onto the home side but some sloppiness at the lineout and some poor handling errors hurt them.
After a period of constant pressure, Edinburgh finally scored their first try as lock Ben Toolis crashed over from close range.
The visitors did get some joy when, five minutes before the break, Makwane led a counter-attack from his own 22 and, despite being pulled down short, got his offload away to Nico Lee who crossed.
However, the hosts managed an immediate reply when a Cheetahs mistake off the kickoff handed possession back to the home side, who spread it wide for Darcy Graham to score.
No doubt burning from a stern half-time talk, the Cheetahs came out firing and scored early through Maxwane, who fell over the line in the corner.
They then suddenly took the lead, with Maxwane at the heart of things yet again, bringing the Cheetahs close to the line with an initial run, before he cut in onto a pop-pass from scrumhalf Tian Meyer, shrugging off the attention of a couple of tacklers to score.
Hickey then slotted his third penalty to allow the hosts to regain the lead.
In the final 20 minutes, Edinburgh piled the pressure on and, after a number of goes at the Cheetahs line, No 8 Bill Mata broke off a 5m scrum and reached over to put them in the driving seat.
The evening got worse for the Cheetahs when they lost prop Charles Marais to a yellow card for a high tackle in the final five minutes. Edinburgh took full advantage, forming a maul and driving all the way to the tryline, flank Jamie Ritchie rising with the ball.
Edinburgh – Tries: Ben Toolis, Darcy Graham, Bill Mata, Jamie Ritchie. Conversion: Simon Hickey (4). Penalties: Simon Hickey (3).
Cheetahs – Tries: Nico Lee, Sibhale Maxwane (2). Conversions: Tian Schoeman (3).
Edinburgh – 15 Blair Kinghorn, 14 Darcy Graham, 13 James Johnstone, 12 Juan Pablo Socino, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Simon Hickey, 9 Henry Pyrgos, 8 Bill Mata, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Magnus Bradbury, 5 Grant Gilchrist, 4 Ben Toolis, 3 WP Nel, 2 Stuart McInally, 1 Rory Sutherland.
Subs: 16 Ross Ford, 17 Murray McCallum, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Luke Hamilton, 20 Jamie Ritchie, 21 Sean Kennedy, 22 Jaco van der Walt, 23 Chris Dean.
Cheetahs – 15 Louis Fouché, 14 William Small-Smith, 13 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 12 Nico Lee, 11 Sibhale Maxwane, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Tian Meyer (c), 8 Stephan Malan, 7 Junior Pokomela, 6 Neil Jordaan, 5 JP du Preez, 4 Justin Basson, 3 Johannes Coetzee, 2 Jacques du Toit, 1 Ox Nche.
Subs: 16 Joseph Dweba, 17 Charles Marais, 18 Günther Janse van Vuuren, 19 Walt Steenkamp, 20 Daniel Maartens, 21 Abongile Nonkontwana, 22 Shaun Venter, 23 Ali Mgijima.
Photo: Andrew Surma/NurPhoto via Getty Images