Edinburgh Rugby recorded their fourth win of the Guinness Pro12 season with a convincing 48-0 victory over Treviso at BT Murrayfield.
Two first half tries from Sam Hidalgo-Clyne and captain Mike Coman gave the hosts a 17-0 lead at the break, before they broke clear.
Treviso – who never looked like challenging for the win – were reduced to 14-men in the second half as prop Romulo Acosta was shown a straight red card for violent play.
By this point, Edinburgh were already assured of victory and a further two tries gave them their biggest winning margin since 2009.
Coach Alan Solomons said post-match: “I thought we started really well, but we lost our way a bit in that first half. We got ahead of ourselves.
“It’s important that we stuck to our structures and our systems; make sure we had field position. Once we had that, they were in real difficulty and we went and did that in the second half.”
Barely a minute had elapsed before Edinburgh crossed the line for the opening try; Sam Hidalgo-Clyne sprinted over after excellent interplay between Jack Cuthbert and Greig Tonks split the Italian defence wide open. Hidalgo-Clyne added a touchline conversion to give the hosts an early 7-0 lead.
Treviso – while appearing relatively stable in attack – lacked substantial flair and their lethargic defence ultimately prevented any scoring chances in the opening 40 minutes. Struggling particularly in the set piece, the visitors were pushed off their own scrum to concede a cheap penalty after 15 minutes. Hidalgo-Clyne slotted the necessaries to extend the home lead to 10-0.
Confined eternally to their own half for the opening quarter, the Italians seemed bent on confounding their first half misery. A poor clearance gave Edinburgh a chance to utilise a dominant driving maul from the lineout. With it, they got their second try, through captain Mike Coman. Hidalgo-Clyne was once more on target from the opposite touchline to extend the lead to 17-0 after just 25 minutes.
Edinburgh – on the back of a fourth consecutive European Challenge Cup victory last week – seemed to exude far more confidence with ball in hand. The attacking triangle of Cuthbert, Visser and Fife looked to run from deep while Tonks steered a serene first half ship with relative ease but a third try would elude the hosts by half time.
Treviso’s early endeavour to attack at the start of the second half was repelled by staunch Edinburgh defence and instead of reducing the deficit, they found themselves further adrift after Hidalgo-Clyne’s third penalty on 50 minutes.
Edinburgh – a man up thanks to Francesco Minto’s yellow card – exploited their superiority in the loose. Despite significant numbers in the backs, Edinburgh stuck with the forwards and prop forward WP Nel found gap to barge over for the try.
Within no time, Edinburgh were back over the line and with it, secured the bonus point try. A sumptuous break from Tim Visser opened space for replacement scrum half Grayson Hart to streak in from the 22. Tom Heathcote – on for Tonks – added the extras to make the lead a convincing 34-0.
The match turned sour after 65 minutes when a mass brawl – initiated by Romulo Acosta – ended up amongst the crowd. Romulo was seen to have thrown several punches, first on lock Fraser McKenzie and then on Grayson Hart who, for his retaliation, was shown a yellow.
If nothing else, the red card served only to reinvigorate the home support, and Edinburgh – so starved of bonus points this season – went in search for more.
With eight minutes remaining, they got their fifth try; a pummelling driving maul hurtled towards the line from the 22. It didn’t stop until Roddy Grant touched down, to firmly take the result beyond doubt. Heathcote converted to make the score a handsome 41-0.
Edinburgh played till the end and more and got their sixth and final try through David Denton. Slick passing through the hands of the backs ensured the number 8 needed only to stroll in at the corner to cap off Edinburgh’s biggest win since the 62-13 mauling of Connacht over five years ago.
“It was not something that one wants to see in a game of rugby. I haven’t had a chance to speak to Fraser about it but it is something we will look at tomorrow,” said Solomons of the 65th minute brawl.
“We then settled down and got a couple of tries and I thought that was really positive.”
Edinburgh now look to build on recent momentum when they face Glasgow on 27 December in the first of the two 1872 Cup matches at Scotstoun.