European Challenge Cup: Edinburgh 50-20 London Irish

Stuart McInally scores a try for Edinburgh against London Irish
Captain Stuart McInally powered over for Edinburgh's first try
European Challenge Cup
Edinburgh (26) 50
Tries: McInally, Kinghorn, Burleigh 2, Hidalgo-Clyne, Graham, Rasolea, Kennedy Cons: Van der Walt 3, Kinghorn 2
London Irish (10) 20
Tries: Ransom, Coman, Meehan Con: Tonks Pen: Bell

Edinburgh earned their third successive bonus-point Challenge Cup win, thumping London Irish 50-20 to move nine points clear at the Pool 4 summit.

Phil Burleigh's first-half brace followed early tries from captain Stuart McInally and Blair Kinghorn.

After the break, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, debutant Darcy Graham and replacements Junior Rasolea and Sean Kennedy scored.

Irish touched down through Ben Ransom and former Edinburgh captain Mike Coman, before Ben Meehan's consolation.

Richard Cockerill's side are the only team to take maximum points from all their pool fixtures, and look on course for a quarter-final berth.

The match was switched to Murrayfield on Saturday morning, the freezing temperatures rendering Edinburgh's Myreside pitch unplayable.

One man who would have been relishing a return to the national stadium is McInally, the hooker having enjoyed a fine autumn Test series in which he arguably moved into pole position as Scotland's first-choice number two.

Phil Burleigh scores for Edinburgh against London Irish
New Zealand-born centre Phil Burleigh ran in two tries

McInally plundered two tries for Scotland against Samoa and another against Australia, and he followed a familiar path from the base of a line-out maul to the try-line to go over for the first try of the game.

That gave Edinburgh a two-point lead after Tommy Bell's early penalty for Irish, but the visitors were soon putting the squeeze on their hosts at scrum-time.

A 10-minute period of the match was spent entirely on the Edinburgh five-metre line as Irish asserted their set-piece dominance.

With the Edinburgh scrum under the cosh they conceded a string of penalties and eventually lost prop Rory Sutherland to the sin bin. However, a knock-on let the home side off the hook with no points conceded.

With 14 men Edinburgh stretched their lead and it was a self-inflicted wound from the visitors. Kinghorn kicked ahead and as Greig Tonks, the former Edinburgh full-back, looked to cover the threat, he made a hash of gathering possession and allowed his opposite number to dive on the loose ball to score.

Scrum-half Scott Steele's searing break thrust Irish onto the front foot once more, as he fed Ben Loader who kicked ahead for his wing partner Ransom to score.

Darcy Graham celebrates scoring for Edinburgh against London Irish
Winger Darcy Graham bagged a debut try

The gap was now just two points but a quick-fire double from centre Burleigh put Edinburgh firmly back in the ascendency.

The first came on the back of monstrous carries from Hamish Watson and Magnus Bradbury, creating the space for Burleigh to ghost through.

Moments later Hidalgo-Clyde broke free then put a clever kick ahead for Chris Dean to gather and off-load for Burleigh to coast in and give Edinburgh the bonus point and a 26-10 half-time lead.

Hidalgo-Clyne bagged a seven-minute hat-trick against Southern Kings last week and he showed great pace to dart through a gap to score Edinburgh's fifth early in the second period.

Described by Scotland Sevens head coach John Dalziel as "another Stuart Hogg in the making", Graham gave some credibility to that lofty comparison on his competitive debut with an acrobatic finish to stretch Edinburgh's lead to 36-10.

Pride was the only thing still on offer for Irish now and replacement Coman went over to claim a try against his old side, rounding off a rolling line-out maul.

Junior Rasolea scores for Edinburgh against London Irish
Junior Rasolea capitalised on slapstick Irish defence to ground the ball for Edinburgh's seventh try

Despite the consolation score, the Irish challenge had long since evaporated and some more comical attempts to dive on a loose ball in the in-goal area allowed Rasolea to register try number seven for Cockerill's men.

In the final five minutes, Loader found space to go haring up the touchline and popped an inside pass to replacement Meehan to score.

Edinburgh would have the last word though, Kennedy scoring and Kinghorn converting to bring up 50 points, a perfectly accurate indication of their dominance on the night.

Edinburgh: Kinghorn; Hoyland, Dean, Burleigh, Graham; Van der Walt, Hidalgo-Clyne; Marfo, McInally (capt), McCallum, Toolis, Gilchrist, Bradbury, Watson, Mata.

Replacements: Cochrane, Sutherland, Shields, Carmichael, Ritchie, Kennedy, Fife, Rasolea.

London Irish: Tonks; Ransom, Fowlie, Williams, Loader; Bell, Steele; Reid, Fainga'a, Saulo, Lloyd, De Chaves (capt), Cooke, Northcote-Green, Lomidze.

Replacements: Woolstencroft, Elrington, Chawatama, Basham, Coman, Meehan, Brophy Clews, Williams.

Referee: Sean Gallagher (Ire)

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