Edinburgh(15) 44
Tries: Vellacott, Young, Graham 2, Hoyland, Kinghorn, Dean; Pen: Bennett; Cons: Bennett 3
Dragon(6) 6
Pens: Hanrahan 2

Edinburgh recovered from a slow start to demolish Dragons and mark the opening of the United Rugby Championship campaign with an emphatic bonus-point win.

Tries from Ben Vellacott and Glen Young cancelled out two early JJ Hanrahan penalties for Dragons.

After the break Darcy Graham crossed twice and Damien Hoyland, Blair Kinghorn, and Chris Dean also scored as Edinburgh started the season in style.

Dragons faded after a solid start.

It was a scrappy opening from Edinburgh but after Hanrahan kicked Dragons six points in front, Mike Blair’s side began to move through the gears.

Vellacott just about touched down from inches out before second row Young trucked his way through to give the hosts a six-point cushion, which Mark Bennett made nine with a penalty before half-time when Dragons’ Lloyd Fairbrother was sin-binned.

Graham ran in at the corner following a powerful maul to make it 20-6 shortly after the break to put the hosts firmly in control.

And the Scotland winger scored a fantastic second try when he picked up a loose ball just outside Dragons’ 22 and jinked his way past some flailing tacklers.

Even when Fairbrother returned from the bin, Edinburgh turned the screw.

Kinghorn came off the bench and spun a great pass for Hoyland to dive into the corner, kicked through to score himself, then broke from deep before putting Dean over for Edinburgh’s seventh try under the posts.

By the time Nick Haining was sin-binned late on, Edinburgh had eased up as they cruised to an impressive victory.

Edinburgh head coach Mike Blair: “Really pleased on the whole. It took us a while to get going, and I thought Dragons kicked really well early on.

“Darcy [Graham] and Mark [Bennett] are two internationals that came straight back in, and they did because they looked so sharp in training.

“The half-time message was to put the pressure on them at the set-piece. We talk about finding a way, and pinpointing weaknesses.”

Dragons director of rugby Dean Ryan: “It wasn’t good enough. From where we were in pre-season, we looked nervous in the first 20 minutes. If we’re going to improve and get better we’re going to have to have some honest conversations.

“We’ve got supposed talent in our side. But I don’t see the work rate at the moment or the desire to be in the right positions.”

Line-ups

Edinburgh: Henry Immelman; Darcy Graham, Mark Bennett, Chris Dean, Damien Hoyland; Charlie Savala, Ben Vellacott; Boan Venter, Dave Cherry, Angus Williams, Marshall Sykes, Glen Young, Jamie Ritchie, Luke Crosbie, Viliame Mata

Replacements: Stuart McInally, Pierre Schoeman, WP Nel, Sam Skinner, Nick Haining, Henry Pyrgos, Blair Kinghorn, James Lang

Dragons: Angus O’Brien; Rio Dyer, Sio Tomkinson, Jack Dixon, Jared Rosser; JJ Hanrahan, Rhodri Williams; Aki Seiuli, Bradley Roberts, Lloyd Fairbrother, Ben Carter, Will Rowlands (c), Sean Lonsdale, Ben Fry, Ross Moriarty

Replacements: Elliot Dee, Josh Reynolds, Chris Coleman, Joe Davies, Taine Basham, Lewis Jones, Will Reed, Jordan Williams

Referee: Andrea Piardi (FIR)

Assistant referees: David Sutherland & Michael Todd (SRU)

TMO: Stefano Penne (FIR)

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