Benetton spoil Kinghorn goodbye with Edinburgh win

Edinburgh:(19) 22
Tries: Kinghorn, Currie, Kinghorn Pens: Healy Cons: Healy 2
Benetton:(10) 24
Tries: Mendy, Zanon 2 Pens: Umaga Cons: Umaga 3

Blair Kinghorn scored two tries but failed to sign off from Edinburgh’s Hive with a win as Benetton ended a man down but snatched the points in a United Rugby Championship thriller.

The Scotland full-back is joining Toulouse in the French top flight for a six-figure fee next month.

He opened the scoring, with Matt Currie also crossing for the hosts.

But Ignacio Mendy’s try had kept the Italians in touch and a Marco Zanon double secured a shock win.

Indeed, there was to be no fairytale ending to Kinghorn final home game as the crucial try came from his wayward pass.

And, with Eli Snyman red carded with three minutes remaining, Ben Healy was just wide with what would have been a winning drop goal in overtime.

Benetton’s first win in Scotland since beating Edinburgh in 2017 lifts the visitors into fifth place in the table, one place above their hosts.

It looked like home head coach Sean Everitt had won the war of strategies over counterpart Marco Bortolami as an Edinburgh side showing just three changes to their opponents’ 12 threatened to blow away the visitors in the opening minutes.

Duhan van der Merwe thought he had touched down as he collided with a post protector after two minutes only for the try to be ruled out by the TMO.

The home side did make the early pressure tell a minute later as Kinghorn showed what Edinburgh will be missing as he pounced on a fine Healy pass, with the latter converting.

Edinburgh thought they had a second try when James Lang touched down in the corner after Rhyno Smith spilled a clearance, but the TMO this time ruled that the ball had been in touch.

The capital side again responded immediately to a disallowed try and Healy’s superb chip allowed Currie to touch down in the corner.

Benetton thought they had touched down in their first foray forward, but Malakai Fekitoa was ruled to have lost the ball on the try line.

Currie was denied his second try courtesy of a forward pass from Kinghorn and the visitors made them pay when Mendy raced all the way from his own five-metre line to win the foot race against Healy.

Jacob Umaga quickly followed his conversion by slotting over a penalty to reduce the arrears to two points.

However, Kinghorn was to have the last say of the first half as the Scotland full-back raced down the wing to score, with Healy converting.

Immediately after the break, Zanon crashed over between two tacklers and Umaga’s conversion took Benetton again to within two points of their hosts.

A Healy penalty eased pressure as Mirco Spagnolo was sent to the sin bin for bringing the maul down immediately after coming on as a replacement.

However, back at full strength, Benetton put Edinburgh in trouble with a kick upfield and Zanon pounced on Kinghorn’s scooped pass to score, with Umaga’s conversion giving his side the lead for the first time.

Second-row Snyman was shown a red card for a high tackle on Van der Merwe with three minutes remaining, but Benetton held out for their second away win this season.

Edinburgh senior coach Sean Everitt: “Really disappointing after our first half-dominance. We had three tries over the line, we just couldn’t get the ball down. We had a chat at half-time about sticking to task and then allowed them in for two soft ones.

“Disappointing, because we beat ourselves this evening. Maybe a lesson there, because we’ve been winning these games for the last fortnight, so back to the drawing board.”

Edinburgh: Kinghorn, Goosen, Currie, Lang, Van Der Merwe, Healy, Price, Schoeman, Cherry, Nel, Young, Gilchrist, Ritchie, Boyle, Crosbie.

Replacements: Vellacott for Price (54), Venter for Schoeman (63), Ashman for Cherry (6), Williams for Nel (68), Sykes for Young (64), Dodd for Crosbie (73). Not Used: Swiel, Dean.

Benetton Treviso: Smith, Odogwu, Fekitoa, Zanon, Mendy, Umaga, Uren, Gallo, Nicotera, Zilocchi, Iachizzi, Snyman, Izekor, Lamaro, L. Cannone.

Replacements: Hidalgo-Clyne for Smith (77), Da Re for Zanon (73), Spagnolo for Gallo (52), Bernasconi for Nicotera (41), Favretto for Iachizzi (63), Time-Stowers for Lamaro (77), Halafihi for L. Cannone (41). Not Used: Pasquali.

Sin Bin: Spagnolo (53). Sent Off: Snyman (77).

Referee: Aimee Barrett-Theron (South Africa).