|Pro14: Edinburgh 17-10 Connacht|
|Edinburgh 17 (7)|
|Tries: Van der Merwe, Schoeman Cons: Van der Walt(2) Pen: Van der Walt|
|Connacht 10 (0)|
|Try: Adeolokun Con: Carty Pen: Carty|
Edinburgh got their first Pro14 victory of the season with a dominant home win over Connacht.
Matt Scott went close early on, before Duhan van der Merwe finally crossed in the corner after constant pressure.
Edinburgh could not make the most of their supremacy, Van der Merwe wasting a great chance before Pierre Schoeman finally got the second score.
Niyi Adeolokun’s try and Jack Carty’s penalty closed the gap late on, but Edinburgh held on to claim four points.
South African Jaco van der Walt, a late inclusion in the starting line-up after fly-half Simon Hickey dropped out through illness, slotted seamlessly into the backline.
He dummied and scythed through the Connacht defence, sending Scott careering towards the whitewash, only to be halted just short by a brilliant Adeolokun cover tackle.
Edinburgh’s set-piece gave them the platform to dominate, earning 80% of the territory in the first quarter. However, a stubborn Connacht defence and some inaccuracy kept the hosts at bay.
Edinburgh finally make dominance pay
As frustration grew, Blair Kinghorn strode through a gap with typical panache, teeing up Hamish Watson who was brought down five metres short.
Henry Pyrgos went to pass the ball from the base of the ruck, but Connacht captain Jarrad Butler slapped the ball from his grasp, an offence deemed worthy of a yellow card.
Edinburgh ruthlessly took advantage. They opted to scrum, Pyrgos sending Van der Merwe coasting in at the corner a phase later, Van der Walt converting.
Wave after wave of Edinburgh attacked followed, and only their own wastefulness prevented them adding to the score. A Van der Walt penalty provided the only other points of the first period.
Edinburgh’s forward pack was mightily impressive, led by the voracious Watson.
But time and again the platform they laid was squandered, in particular when Van der Merwe fumbled the ball forward when all he had to do was dive over after Van der Walt and Kinghorn set him free in the corner.
Fortunately for Edinburgh the second try came minutes later. Yet another penalty was kicked into the corner and almost the entire team piled into the maul which trundled over the line, Schoeman the man at the base to claim his first score for his new club.
The impressive Van der Walt knocked over the conversion.
Connacht had barely threatened but managed to hit back through Adeolokun, who gathered Carty’s looping pass and scrambled home with 18 minutes remaining.
The fly-half nailed the touchline conversion and a late penalty as the Irish side threatened to steal a draw, but Edinburgh’s defence held firm.
Edinburgh: Kinghorn; Fife, Johnstone, Scott, Van der Merwe; Van der Walt, Pyrgos; Schoeman, McInally, Nel, Toolis, Gilchrist, Ritchie, Watson, Hamilton.
Replacements: Ford, Dell, Berghan, McKenzie, Bradbury, Kennedy, Farndale, Socino.
Connacht: O’Halloran; Adeolokun, Griffin, Godwin, Healy; Carty, Marmion; O’Donnell, Heffernan, Bealham, Thornbury, Dillane, O’Brien, Butler, Boyle.
Replacements: Delahunt, McCabe, Robertson-McCoy, Cannon, Fainga’a, Blade, Ronaldson, Aki.