Pro14: Edinburgh 16-15 Zebre
|Pro14: Edinburgh v Zebre|
|Edinburgh (10) 16|
|Try: McInally Con: Weir Pen: Tovey, Weir 2|
|Zebre (5) 15|
|Tries: Meyer, Violi Con: Violi Pen: Violi|
Edinburgh ended a run of three consecutive Pro14 defeats with a narrow victory over Zebre.
Johan Meyer crossed to put Zebre on the front foot early on before Stuart McInally's stunning try helped Edinburgh to a 10-5 half-time lead.
Duncan Weir extended the lead with his boot but Marcello Violi's converted try took Zebre to within a point.
Violi's penalty then edged the visitors in front before replacement Weir struck again from the tee to clinch the win.
Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill had identified this as a match his side simply had to win if they hoped to achieve anything of note in the Pro14 this season.
Zebre stunned Edinburgh with victory at Murrayfield last season, and with defeat to another Italian outfit, Benetton, fresh in their minds, there was no reason for complacency in the home ranks.
The visitors ended Ulster's unbeaten league run last weekend and started brightly here, but butchered an attacking line-out on the 5m line.
Jason Tovey nudged Edinburgh 3-0 in front with a penalty, that cushion preserved by a horror miss from in front of the posts by Zebre fly-half Carlo Canna.
Edinburgh struggled to generate any meaningful possession or territory, the biggest cheer in the opening quarter reserved for a monstrous Jamie Ritchie hit on Giovanbattista Venditti.
Zebre were clearly in no way intimidated coming to Myreside and they opened Edinburgh up to score the game's opening try. Centre Tommaso Boni slipped through a tackle in midfield and kept his cool to put flanker Meyer over in the corner.
Edinburgh needed a spark to break out of their malaise and McInally provided the mother of all jolts.
A kick deep into Edinburgh territory was returned brilliantly by Tom Brown, who zipped away from a couple of tackles to take play up to halfway. McInally then broke through a tackle and the flanker-turned-hooker showed terrific pace to outstrip the cover defence and score under the posts.
The error count on both sides was through the roof in the opening stages of the second half, the play rarely encroaching into either 22.
Edinburgh had Brown to thank for a wonderful try-saving tackle, the winger sweeping round from the opposite flank to bundle opposite number Venditti into touch with the line beckoning.
Dougie Fife threatened to upstage McInally in the wonder-try stakes with a searing break from deep in his own half but while the move fizzled out, substitute Weir gave Edinburgh a little breathing space with a penalty to make it 13-5.
That breathing space was gone moments later and it was a self-inflicted blow for the home side.
Fowles took too long with a clearance kick near his own line, allowing opposing scrum-half Violi to block and dive on the loose ball to score.
The converted try brought Zebre to within a point, and Violi's penalty edged the visitors in front at 15-13.
This was now a huge test of character for the home side, and the forward pack responded well, forcing a scrum penalty to allow Weir to kick them into a lead they would not surrender.
Edinburgh: Kinghorn, Fife, J Johnstone, Burleigh, Brown, Tovey, Fowles, Marfo, McInally, Nel, B Toolis, Gilchrist, Bradbury, Ritchie, Du Preez.
Replacements: Fruean for Burleigh (55), Hidalgo-Clyne for Tovey (65), Dell for Marfo (59), Berghan for Nel (48), Bresler for B. Toolis (59), Crosbie for Du Preez (64).
Not Used: Ford, Weir.
Zebre: Minozzi, Bellini, Boni, Castello, Venditti, Canna, Violi, Lovotti, Fabiani, Chistolini, Sisi, Biagi, Licata, Meyer, Giammarioli.
Replacements: Gaffney for Bellini (41), De Marchi for Lovotti (64), Luus for Fabiani (64), Krumov for Biagi (53), Minnie for Giammarioli (58).
Not Used: Bello, Palazzani, Bordoli.
Referee: Marius Mitrea (Italy).