European Challenge Cup: Edinburgh 31-20 Wasps

Duhan van der Merwe's try double helped Edinburgh to victory
Duhan van der Merwe's try double helped Edinburgh to victory
European Challenge Cup, Pool 3
Edinburgh (10) 31
Tries: van der Merwe (2), Kinghorn, Taylor Cons: Hickey (4) Pen: Hickey
Wasps (6) 20
Tries: Willis, Carr Cons: Sopoaga, Gopperth Pens: Sopoaga (2)

Edinburgh kept their European Challenge Cup campaign on track with a bonus-point win over Wasps at Murrayfield.

Duhan van der Merwe's try was a rare bright spot in a scruffy first half.

The home side clicked into gear after the break, Blair Kinghorn and Van der Merwe running in stunning tries.

Jack Willis hit back for Wasps, but Edinburgh centre George Taylor capped a superb individual display with his side's fourth try before Nizaam Carr replied with a late consolation.

Edinburgh remain level on points with Bordeaux, who trounced Agen 73-3 in the other match in the pool.

Edinburgh turn on style in second half

Edinburgh were buoyed by a gutsy Pro14 victory over Munster in Cork last time out. But having allowed Bordeaux to strike with a late penalty to secure a draw at Murrayfield in their last Challenge Cup outing, Richard Cockerill was clear his side needed a win here to keep their European campaign alive.

One win from five tells the story of Wasps' Premiership campaign so far, and with one victory and one defeat going into this their margin for error in the Challenge Cup was not huge either.

The opening quarter was fairly turgid stuff, any moment of promise undone by poor handling or ill discipline. Neither side deserved anything from that opening period, though a penalty from Wasps fly-half Lima Sopoaga ensured there was at least some action on the scoreboard.

Edinburgh sprung to life on 25 minutes. Wasps had largely frustrated the home side with line-speed that occasionally bordered on offside, but Taylor's beauty of a pass took out several defenders and sent Van der Merwe scampering away to score in the corner.

Simon Hickey and Sopoaga traded penalties before the break as Edinburgh went in leading 10-6 at half-time.

Whatever Richard Cockerill said in the dressing room clearly had an effect as his troops exploded out of the blocks in the second half.

Challenge Cup Pool 3

Kinghorn ruthlessly punished a Wasps handling error, gathering the loose ball and turning on the burners to run it in from 60m.

A stunning score but Edinburgh's third try moments later was perhaps even better. From a turnover the ball was shipped wide quickly to Van der Merwe. The big winger had plenty to do but stepped and moved through the gears to leave Zach Kibirige and Rob Miller for dead and race under the posts.

Edinburgh's thoughts would have turned to securing a fourth try and a bonus point, but Wasps were not done yet. Willis blasted over from close range to finish off a period of pressure and reduce the gap to 24-13.

Taylor was seeing plenty of action, always available to take the ball and carry ferociously into the heart of the Wasps defence. The young centre got the try his display deserved when James Johnstone looped a pass out for his midfield partner to canter over.

Carr crossed late on for Wasps but it was little consolation on a night in which they were well beaten.

Maximum points in the bag, Edinburgh head south next weekend looking to repeat the trick. With the priority surely now getting up the Premiership table, Wasps' team selection could well aid the Scottish side's bid to reach the knockout stages.

Edinburgh: Kinghorn; Graham, Johnstone, Taylor, Van der Merwe; Hickey, Pyrgos; Schoeman, McInally (capt), Berghan, Toolis, Gilchrist, Ritchie, Watson, Haining.

Replacements: Willemse, Bhatti, Ceccarelli, Thomson, Mata, Groom, Van der Walt, Hoyland.

Wasps: Miller; Kibirige, Fekitoa, Le Bourgeois, Bassett; Sopoaga, Robson (capt); Zhvania, Taylor, Brookes, Vukasinovic, Cardall, J Willis, Carr, Vailanu.

Replacements: Cruse, West, Toomaga-Allen, Shields, Young, Johnson, Porter, Gopperth.

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