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Edinburgh hopeful of top six finish

Edinburgh scored the expected bonus point win over bottom of the table Zebre to maintain their aspirations of a top six finish and a place in next season's European Champions Cup.

The win saw them jump above Scarlets and Connacht into the sixth berth, at least until the pair fulfil their Saturday fixtures against Dragons and Glasgow respectively.

It also sets Edinburgh up nicely for next Friday's clash with Gloucester in the final of the European Challenge Cup.

Edinburgh totally dominated the set piece, driving the lineout maul and winning regular penalties at the set scrum.

The first try came from a lineout via Roddy Grant after nine minutes, before winger Dougie Fife went over after 26 minutes. Two conversions and brace of penalties from rising star Sam Hidalgo-Clyne meant that Edinburgh led 20-0 at half-time.

Tries after 52 minutes from Ross Ford and again Grant four minutes later extended their advantage, with Hidalgo-Clyne converting the second which meant Edinburgh's job was done.

In the final minute yet another lineout drive was finished by Stuart McInally.

Exemplifying the wretchedness of the Zebre evening, props Matias Aguero and Dario Chistolini plus winger Giulio Toniolatti were all sent to the sin bin by referee Leighton Hodges.

In the ninth minute Edinburgh went ahead through Grant, at the bottom of a driven maul, with Sam Hidalgo-Clyne converting before he added a penalty in the 20th minute.

Permanently on the back foot, Zebre lost a lineout on their line after 26 minutes to Ben Toulis. The ball was spread across the home backs for winger Fife to run round behind the posts with Hidalgo-Clyne adding the extras.

Edinburgh were as dominant at the set scrum as they were in the lineout and a series of penalties ended with prop Chistolini sin-binned after 29 minutes.

From that penalty award Edinburgh worked their way back up field and Hidalgo-Clyne kicked his second penalty.

Two minutes from the pause Zebre winger Giulio Toniolatti also entered the sin bin having pulled Tim Visser to the ground when they both jumped for a high ball.

Zebre were no sooner back to their full complement when, after 50 minutes, loose head prop Aguero was sent to the sin bin by the referee.

The consequent penalty was put to the corner and from the lineout Ford crossed the whitewash. Hidalgo-Clyne suffered his first miss of the night with the conversion attempt.

Two minutes later Edinburgh had the all-important bonus point with a score that was a carbon copy of the first. Again Grant was at the end of the long post line-out maul and this time Hidalgo-Clyne converted.

In the final minute yet another line out drive was finished by McInally but Hidalgo-Clyne could not convert.

As the contest went flat Edinburgh coach Alan Solomons was able to use the closing stages to give key back row man Cornell Du Preez, coming back from long time injury - a useful workout ahead of next week's Final.


From Belfast Telegraph