EDINBURGH sit proudly on top of the URC table this morning after brushing Cardiff aside with this five-try victory.

The home team’s first-half performance was superb, as Argentine duo Emiliano Boffelli and Ramiro Moyano played some delightful off-the-cuff rugby, and if the second half was more disjointed, the overall product was further proof of how far the team have come in a short time under Mike Blair.

There were four tries before the break and one after it as the capital club went four points clear of Leinster, who have a game in hand. Yet for all that Edinburgh’s supporters can rejoice at the transformation of their team at the hands of their new head coach, Blair himself continues to insist that these are still early days in a major rebuilding exercise.

“It’s not something I’m massively focused on,” he said after the match when asked his reaction to going top. “It's not something we've really been talking about. 

“The way that the fixtures have gone, the second half of the league is going to be tougher. We're going to have more away games, and some games against some quality Irish opposition in particular, but also some quality Welsh opposition. 

“We're pleased with where we are, because getting points on the board early on is excellent, but we don't want to get carried away.”

Edinburgh had not played since beating Saracens 28 days earlier, but they soon got into their stride. It was Cardiff who had the first sustained period of pressure, but a Magnus Bradbury turnover on the edge of their own 22 gave the home side a chance to counter-attack - and they took it with devastating effectiveness.

The National:

James Lang made the initial break in midfield then fed Ben Vellacott, and as the defence closed him down the scrum-half passed to Ramiro Moyano, who had a simple run to the line. Emiliano Boffelli converted, then finished off a Mark Bennett break to claim his team’s second after Cardiff had again coughed up possession.
The Pumas international missed the conversion, but soon made it 15-0 with a penalty before another three-pointer, from Rhys Priestland, got the visitors off the mark

Having made his team’s second try, Bennett finished off their third, touching down in the left corner just before making contact with the flag. Boffelli converted from the touchline to make it 22-3, and that looked like being it for the first half until James Lang claimed the bonus-point try in the last play before the break. 

Blair Kinghorn and Jamie Ritchie did the approach work this time, and the forward’s short pass made it easy for Lang to finish off. The conversion was missed again, but at 27-3 the game was in the bag.

Dave Cherry was on for Stuart McInally as play resumed, the starting hooker having been kept off as a precaution after a knock to his shoulder. Lock Glen Young then came on for his Edinburgh debut with half an hour to play in a half which was punctuated by injuries to Cardiff players. The scrums had to be uncontested after replacement hooker Liam Belcher was forced off, and then No 8 James Botham needed on-field treatment for nearly ten minutes before being transported off in a buggy.

Within minutes of play resuming, the Welsh side got a try back, with winger Owen Lane hacking ahead twice then touching down after Kinghorn had fumbled. Jarrod Evans’ conversion took them into double figures.

After Magnus Bradbury and Ritchie had come close, Bennett had the last word for Edinburgh, slicing through a tired defence and going round between the posts to leave substitute Jaco van der Walt an easy conversion. 

“I thought Mark Bennett was excellent,” Blair added. “We’re heading in the right direction.” They certainly are, and, with two weeks of European action to follow, can sit back and take stock of their lofty league position before URC action resumes at the end of the month.

Scorers: Edinburgh: Tries Moyano (5mins), Boffelli (9), Bennett (31, 75), Lang (39). Cons Boffelli 3. Pen: Boffelli (17).

Cardiff: Tries: Lane (62). Con: J Evans. Pen: Priestland (26).

Edinburgh: H Immelman; E Boffelli (J van der Walt 62mins), M Bennett, J Lang (C Dean 57), R Moyano; B Kinghorn, B Vellacott (C Shiel 75); P Schoeman (B Venter 56), S McInally (D Cherry 41), W Nel (L de Bruin 58), J Hodgson (G Young 50), G Gilchrist (capt), J Ritchie, H Watson (N Haining 61), M Bradbury. 

Cardiff: M Morgan (A Summerhill 53); O Lane, R Lee-Lo, W Halaholo, J Harries; R Priestland (J Evans 50), L Williams (T Williams 50); R Carré, K Myhill (L Belcher 33, C Domachowski 56), D Arhip (W Davies-King 58), S Davies, R Thornton, J Turnbull (capt), W Boyde (E Jenkins 54), J Botham (J Ratti 57). 

Referee: F Murphy (Ireland).