RaboDirect Pro12: Edinburgh hold off Dragons comeback
Last Updated: 03/04/14 9:52pm
Full-back Jack Cuthbert kicked 13 points as Edinburgh secured a seventh RaboDirect PRO12 victory of the season courtesy of a 23-19 win at Newport Gwent Dragons.
The match was not the greatest despite three tries, one from Dragons replacement back Ross Wardle and the others from Edinburgh prop Williem Nel and centre Matt Scott.
Otherwise, it was a goal-kicking contest between home outside-half Jason Tovey - who landed four penalties and a conversion - and Cuthbert, whose contributions were three penalties and two conversions.
A sometimes turgid first half was livened up towards the break when Nel went over for the only try of the period.
Often during the opening half, the teams seemed content to play aerial ping-pong, hoping for the opposition to make a crucial mistake in wet conditions.
The Dragons, though, had the better of territory towards the half-hour as Tovey landed the first two of his penalties to give them a 6-0 lead.
Wing Hallam Amos, back in action from injury, came close to the opening score when he dashed from the Edinburgh 22 towards the line, only for Sam Hidalgo-Clyne to get a crucial touch on the home man and just cause him to spill the ball a metre from the line.
Cuthbert broke Edinburgh's duck with a long-range penalty on 33 minutes and the Scotsmen began to get their teeth stuck into the game.
When centre Andries Strauss raced to within a metre of the home line with a superb break down the middle, the pressure from the Edinburgh pack from the resultant phases saw Scott feed Nel to drive over under a pile of bodies.
Cuthbert landed the conversion but an infringement by Edinburgh on their own 22 with seconds of the half remaining gave Tovey a third penalty of the night and put the Dragons back to within a point.
A fourth penalty for the Dragons stand-off, this time from 30 metres as Nel turned villain by dropping a scrum, took them into a 12-10 lead.
But the persistence of Edinburgh skipper Mike Conran to play a tight possession game up front and for scrum-half Grayson Hart to kick from the base of the breakdowns brought its rewards.
Scott found two bulky forwards, one being 39-year-old ex-England prop Duncan Bell, in the way of a run to the posts and easily skirted past them from the home 22 to give Cuthbert the simplest of conversions.
But, after Cuthbert slotted his third penalty to give Edinburgh an 11-point cushion, the Dragons came to life.
A yellow card for lock Izak van der Westhuizen did not help the visitors' cause as Wardle drove over from a matter of metres from the resultant attacking line-out and pass from Wayne Evans.
Tovey landed the conversion and, with seconds left, the Dragons had three scrums on the Edinburgh line, a try from any of them would have won the game.
But Edinburgh's seven-man pack held out and they jumped for joy at the final whistle.