Edinburgh beat Cardiff but fog makes it farcical

Edinburgh dug deep to claim their second win of the season in foggy conditions that bordered on the farcical. They had to work all the way against Cardiff Blues, and never looked entirely secure despite a 10-0 half-time lead, but they got there in theend, winning 18-0 at BT Murrayfield.

Edinburgh players celebrate David Cherry's try against Cardiff Blues at a foggy BT Murrayfield. Picture: Ross Parker / SNS
Edinburgh players celebrate David Cherry's try against Cardiff Blues at a foggy BT Murrayfield. Picture: Ross Parker / SNS

Lee Roy Atalifo celebrated his debut with one try, David Cherry got the other, and Nathan Chamberlain added the rest of the points with the boot. Following on last week’s spirited away win over Scarlets, it was a performance all the more commendable given the patchwork nature of the side put out by Richard Cockerill.

Conditions were foggy yet benign in the first half, but visibility got steadily worse after the break. First some box kicks were hard to track, but then, as the haar thickened only the near touchline and the first ten yards of the infield were clearly visible from the West Stand. In the end, though, that hardly mattered, as Edinburgh stuck to their task to pick up four more much-needed points.

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The match began in encouraging fashion for the home team, with two periods of sustained possession culminating in Chamberlain opening the scoring with a 25-metre penalty. The Cardiff line had not really been threatened, but the home team had stuck to their task assiduously to force the opening.

When the visitors did finally get some width on the ball, they soon conceded a penalty, which Edinburgh sent to touch deep into the Blues’ 22. The initial drive was held, but a series of pick-and-goes edged closer to the posts, then prop Atalifo finished off. Chamberlain converted to take his team into double figures.

Stung into action by falling further behind, Cardiff upped the tempo and soon won a penalty 30m out. Jason Tovey’s kick looked on target all the way, but it bounced off the far post and back into play for Edinburgh to clear.

Despite that failure, the move was the first real warning sign for the home defence, and the closing minutes of the half found them under heavy pressure again. They were equal to the challenge, however, and a spilled ball allowed them to clear their lines and end the half 10-0 to the good.

That lead was under severe threat straight from the restart as a breakdown penalty went to touch and the Blues forwards put together a similar drive to the one that had produced Atalifo’s try. That one was stopped, as was a second on the opposite side of the field.

Edinburgh then got back on to the front foot, and a penalty for offside was sent to touch. Cherry threw in then got on the end of the maul, and a sustained effort ended with the hooker touching down. Chamberlain’s conversion attempt from close to the left touchline drifted just wide of the far post, but Edinburgh were more than two full scores ahead all the same.

With props Dan Gamble and Sam Grahamslaw on for their debuts, Cockerill’s side had late chances to extend their lead, and enjoyed the bulk of possession as Cardiff finally showed signs of admitting defeat. In the end the only clear-cut scoring opportunity was the one that counted, as Chamberlain was on target with a second penalty right on full-time.

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