Edinburgh 37-7 Southern Kings – BBC Sport
|Edinburgh (15) 37|
|Tries: Gilchrist, Kinghorn, Van der Merwe, Fenton, Fife Cons: Van der Walt 3 Pens: Van der Walt 2|
|Southern Kings (0) 7|
|Try: Dukisa Con: Dukisa|
Edinburgh eased aside struggling Southern Kings to earn a bonus-point Pro14 victory at sodden Myreside.
Grant Gilchrist plunged on to his own kick ahead before Blair Kinghorn grounded Chris Dean’s grubber kick to bag first-half tries.
Duhan van der Merwe cruised home after the break, with Cammy Fenton adding a fourth score from a driving maul.
Ntabeni Dukisa bagged a consolation for the visitors, but Dougie Fife touched down in the final minute.
The Kings, newcomers from South Africa, have yet to register a victory since being added to the league ahead of this season.
This was always going to be routine for Edinburgh, an easy chance to get back to winning ways following their defeat last week by Glasgow Warriors.
And an opportunity for Mark Bennett to make his debut after 10 long and miserable months out of the game with an injury picked up before completing his switch from the Scotstoun outfit.
Even the coldest heart had to be warmed by Bennett’s return. This was solid stuff from the centre, laced with some lovely flourishes in attack as Edinburgh began to pull away.
The Kings – 10 defeats from 10 games and 10 four-try bonus points given away into the bargain – would have been expecting nothing but cold and rain in the capital and in that one and only area they were not disappointed.
It was a mistake-fest to begin with. There was always the likelihood of a points mountain later on, but the opening spell was awful.
Edinburgh gave away six penalties in the first 15 minutes, an illustration of how stop-start the whole thing was. The Kings lost four line-outs in the first 25 minutes, an indication of the deep flaws that will only be addressed when they rip up their player roster in the summer and start again.
It was only 3-0 to Edinburgh at that point, Jaco van der Walt’s lone penalty separating the sides. That became 8-0 when Gilchrist charged down an attempted clearance from Rudi van Rooyen before showing some neat skills with the boot to set up the touchdown.
Just after the half-hour, there was a second try when Kinghorn, one of the few capable of gliding across the muddy pitch, made a break, fed Dean, who chipped ahead for the full-back to win the race to the ball. Van der Walt’s conversion and then an early second-half penalty made it 18-0.
Edinburgh’s third try came just before the hour mark, the Kings defence, and morale, stretched to breaking point as the home side moved them around. Eventually, Van der Walt threw a long skip-pass to Van der Merwe to score.
The Kings kept going as best they could. Lock Dries van Schalkwyk and open-side flanker Martinus Burger tackled their hearts out, but it was hopeless.
How savagely difficult must it be to be one of these Kings this season. Thrown together at the last minute before the start of the campaign, they’re getting routed week after week with little sign of any relief.
Edinburgh got their fourth – and much-needed – try 12 minutes before the end when a line-out maul went 30 metres sideways and then 10 metres forward for Fenton to get the bonus point.
The Kings, though, summoned something and got themselves on the board when Dukisa went over before converting his own try.
Replacement Masixole Banda then turned unwitting provider when making a terrible hash of a grubber across his own line, a miscalculation that gave Fife a simple job of dotting down for a fifth score in the game’s last act.
Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill: “The Kings were tough for probably 25 minutes, we were a little bit sloppy in giving away penalties, but we got into our stride and in the end it was job well done.
“We should expect to win these games and put out a professional performance and we did that.
“Five tries on a really difficult night is nice to see. We played with good intent; we’re still making some errors and id like us to make better decisions when we make those line breaks, especially in difficult conditions.
“It was good to get Mark Bennett out on the field. Apart from the two or three balls he dropped, he did a good job! No excuses, he’s an international centre.
“He was desperate to play the last couple of weeks and I held him back because I didn’t feel it was right for him to play. He showed some good touches and an 80-minute stint, no problems with his injury issues and I thought he did very, very well.”
Edinburgh: Kinghorn, Fife, Bennett, Burleigh, Van der Merwe, Van der Walt, Fowles, Lay, McInally (capt), McCallum, Toolis, Gilchrist, Bradbury, Watson, Du Preez.
Replacements: Fenton, Millar-Mills, Shields, McKenzie, Mata, Kennedy, Dean, Hoyland.
Southern Kings: Dukisa, Penxe, Klaasen, Du Toit, Bock, Coleman, Van Rooyen, Ferreira (capt), Coetzee, De Klerk, Van Vuuren, Van Schalkwyk, Eitel, Burger, Lerm.
Replacements: Balekile, De Klerk, Dreyer, Welemu, Ngoza, Gouws, Klaasen, Banda.