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Mata Shines On Debut

  Fijian Olympic gold medallist, Viliame Mata scored twice on his debut for Edinburgh as they trounced Timisoara Saracens 59-17. Edinburgh acting head coach Duncan Hodge was pleased at how
19 Oct 2016 11:00
Mata Shines On Debut
Viliame Mata.

 

Fijian Olympic gold medallist, Viliame Mata scored twice on his debut for Edinburgh as they trounced Timisoara Saracens 59-17.

Edinburgh acting head coach Duncan Hodge was pleased at how Mata and a number of debut players performed in their comfortable European Rugby Challenge Cup win.

For the match in Timisoara, Hodge had made 11 changes to the starting XV with Fijian sensation Viliame Mata coming in alongside Alex Northam, Rory Scholes and others. Young duo Murray McCallum and Lewis Carmichael, the latter off the bench, also did well.

According to The Scrum, they are going to give Hodge and his coaching panel some selection issues ahead of this Saturday’s next pool match, a tougher test at home to Harlequins.

“There were a few boys playing who haven’t had much game time, so it was good for them to get a run and there were a few guys who stuck their hand up in this one,” Hodge explained.

“Murray McCallum, for example, played 80 minutes and did exceptionally well, Lewis Carmichael got another half, ‘Bill’ Mata played well and there was some really good stuff in that performance.

“It’s good to come out here and get a comprehensive win, and we can now look forward to next Saturday.

“It was important for us to put down a marker, and we did that.

“It was great that from the first two possessions we scored two very good team tries.”

Of the tries scored, eight were attributed to members of the forward pack. Captain Stuart McInally’s first-half hat-trick was a first for the club in the Challenge Cup and Nasi Manu followed his lead as he also bagged three tries in the game. Then Mata came in with his double. Michael Allen was the only back to claim a try.

McInally’s record was not the only new ground broken by his side as the victory also set new club benchmarks in the European competition for highest points tally (59), biggest winning margin registered (42), most tries scored (nine) and most conversions kicked (seven).

“Harlequins is going to be a much sterner task, let’s make no mistake about that.

“There were a lot of new faces in our pack though,” McInally said.

Edited by Paula Tuvuki

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