Edinburgh beat Dragons & book Challenge cup final

Edinburgh became the first Scottish team to reach a European final when they beat Newport’s Dragons 45-16 in the Challenge Cup.

The Scottish capital side stormed to their largest victory in Europe with a rousing 45-16 triumph over Newport Gwent Dragons with scrum half Sam Hidalgo-Clyne helping himself to another record 25 points. Now they go on to face either Gloucester Rugby or Exeter Chiefs at the Twickenham Stoop on Friday, 1 May.

Hidalgo-Clyne once again proved their star-turn with a try in his club record 25-point haul that took his tally in Europe this season to 91 points. That makes him the highest scorer in the tournament.

Back ow man Stuart McInally and wing Tim Visser both crossed for tries in the first half as the home side reached half-time with a 21-9 lead. But the boot of Dragons outside half Dorian Jones, and a try from prop Brok Harris just after the re-start, kept the Welsh region in touch at 21-16 early in the second half.

But Heineken Man of the Match Ben Toolis, who ruled the roost at the line-out, Hidalgo-Clyne and Douge Fife all went over as Edinburgh scored 24 unanswered points in a storming second-half display. In contrast it was a sorry end for the Dragons who fell at the semi-final stage of this tournament for a second time.

They made a bright start through Jones’ early penalty but the home pack dominated the rest of the half as their power scrum made life very uncomfortable for the visitors. Hidalgo-Clyne levelled when Wales No8 Taulupe Faletau was binned for dragging down an Edinburgh driving line-out.

McInally made the extra man count when he stormed through two defenders to put Edinburgh ahead for the first time. Jones clawed back three points with a penalty but Edinburgh claimed a second try just moments later.

Hidalgo-Clyne was the architect, the scrum-half’s break taking Edinburgh to within firing range before his clever reverse pass set Visser clear to claim his 15th European try. The scrum half’s conversion hit the upright to ruin a run of 15 successive kicks.

Again Jones briefly kept the Dragons in touch at 15-9 with a long-range penalty but Hidalgo-Clyne kicked a brace to open a 21-9 lead at half-time. Then Harris crashed over from close range and Jones’ conversion hinted at a Welsh comeback at the start of the second half.

But Jonathan Evans became the second Dragons to be sin-binned for infringing as Edinburgh threatened and again the home side made them pay. Toolis charged down Jason Tovey’s clearance to score and try which Hidalgo-Clyne converted.

Then Hidalgo-Clyne exploited the empty-space left by his opposite number as he sat in the sin bin to deliver a knock-out blow with a brilliant 30 metre break for a try at the posts which he once again improved. Fife hammered home the final nail in the Dragons’ coffin as he finished a wonderful break by Sam Beard to put the icing on a thrilling win.

Final Score Edinburgh 45 (21) Dragons 16 (9)

Scorers

Edinburgh
Tries – McInally, Visser, Tovey, Hidalgo-Clyne, Fife
Pen – Hidalgo-Clyne 4
Con – Hidalgo-Clyne 4
Drop –
Cards –

Dragons
Tries – Harris
Pen – Jones 3
Con – Jones
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: JP Doyle (England),
Assistant ref: Luke Pearce (England),
Assistant ref: Marius Mitrea (Italy),
TMO: Marshall Kilgore (Ireland),

Edinburgh Rugby

Jack Cuthbert; Dougie Fife, Sam Beard, Andries Strauss, Tim Visser; Phil Burleigh, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne; Alasdair Dickinson, Ross Ford, WP Nel, Anton Bresler, Ben Toolis, Stuart McInally, Roddy Grant, Mike Coman (c)

Replacements: Neil Cochrane, Rory Sutherland, John Andress, Fraser McKenzie, Cornell Du Preez, Nathan Fowles, Tom Heathcote, Tom Brown

Newport Gwent Dragons

Jason Tovey; Tom Prydie, Tyler Morgan, Jack Dixon, Hallam Amos; Dorian Jones, Jonathan Evans; Brok Harris, T Rhys Thomas (c), Dan Way, James Thomas, Cory Hill, Nick Crosswell, Nic Cudd, Toby Faletau

Replacements: Rhys Buckley, Phil Price, Lloyd Fairbrother, Matthew Screech, James Benjamin, Luc Jones, Ashton Hewitt, Rhys Jones

With thanks to EPCRugby.

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