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Edinburgh end losing run but Zebre grab late bonus point

Edinburgh Rugby ended a three-game losing run in the Guinness PRO12 after a battling 24-19 victory on New Year’s Eve over Zebre at Stadio Lanfranchi.

The visitors got back to winning ways, after defeats to Glasgow Warriors and Ospreys in December, thanks to tries either side of half time from Chris Dean and Viliami Helu.

The Italians did snatch a losing bonus point with the last play of the game, following replacement Nathan Fowles’ yellow card, with Andries Van Schalkwyk forcing his way over.

The hosts out-scored their opponents by three tries to two after earlier Tommaso Boni and Carlo Canna scores but Duncan Weir kicked 14 points to ensure Edinburgh’s victory.

The visitors took the lead in the 14th minute as Weir slotted his first penalty of the afternoon following an infringement by the hosts at the ruck.

Centre Boni crossed in the corner ten minutes later for the first try of the afternoon which Canna successfully converted to give Zebre a 7-3 lead.

But the boot of Weir pegged them back at Stadio Lanfranchi with his second penalty from right in front of the posts.

Zebre came close to a second try with six minute remaining of the first half but Blair Kinghorn’s try-saving tackle stopped Boni.

And Dean added insult to injury when he grabbed a loose ball just seconds before half time and out-ran the Zebre defence to score Edinburgh’s first try of the afternoon.

Weir’s conversion from out wide extended the visitors lead over the Italians to six points at half-time with the score at 13-7.

Edinburgh had their second try after just 14 minutes of the second half as Blair Kinghorn kicked the ball through and winger Helu raced clear to collect the ball and dot down.

Weir was unable to add the extras but the visitors had a commanding 18-7 lead after the opening 15 minutes of the second period.

But the hosts immediately battled back and had their rewards on the hour mark as fly-half Canna snuck through for Zebre’s second try of the afternoon but he was unable to convert his own score.

The reliable boot of Weir extended the Edinburgh lead once more though as Zebre’s ill-discipline was punished and the visitors led 21-12 with 15 minutes to go.

Weir added his fourth penalty of the afternoon with just six minutes left on the clock after Zebre were once again penalised at the ruck.

Edinburgh finished the game with 14 men as Nathan Fowles was shown a yellow card by referee Gary Conway with two minutes left on the clock.

And prop Van Schalkwyk took full advantage to earn a losing bonus point for the Italians with a late try which was converted by Canna in the last play of the game.

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