Pro14Southern Kings (16) 21Try: H Klaasen Con: Coleman, van Schalkywk Pens: Coleman 3Edinburgh (22) 48Tries: McKenzie, Mata, Gilchrist, Fife, Hidalgo-Clyne 3 Cons: van der Walt 2, Hidalgo-Clyne 3 Pen: van der Walt
A seven-minute hat-trick from replacement Sam Hidalgo-Clyne propelled Edinburgh to a bonus-point victory over the Kings in Port Elizabeth.
First-half tries from Fraser McKenzie, Viliame Mata and Grant Gilchrist put the visitors in control.
Harlon Klaasen’s opportunistic breakaway score and the boot of Kurt Coleman kept the Kings in touch.
But after the break, Hidalgo-Clyne put Dougie Fife in, before striking with a predatory treble of close-range tries.
Dries van Schalkwyk bundled over with the clock red to score the Kings’ only second-half points.
Edinburgh began with a ferocity and pace the South African stragglers could not contain, their carrying powerful, and their breakdown work efficient.
Captain McKenzie blasted his way over after Jaco van der Walt carried to within a yard of the try-line.
Then Blair Kinghorn, who has made more metres in the Pro14 than any other player, loped through the Kings midfield and released Mata to thunder his way past Yaw Penxe.
Seven minutes gone. Two tries down. The embattled hosts had scarcely touched the ball.
Their roster was soon reduced too, when captain Schalk Ferreira was sin-binned for a swinging arm to the chin of Neil Cochrane.
Van der Walt kicked the resulting penalty, with Coleman responding to get his side off the board.
Again, though, the snarl of Edinburgh’s carriers, and the dynamism of their breakdown clearing led to Gilchrist barrelling through the fly-half for the visitors’ third try.
After that three-score blitz, with only 20 minutes on the clock, you wondered what kind of heinous pummelling Edinburgh might wreak upon their hosts.
Instead, they dealt themselves major self-harm.
From an Edinburgh line-out, Van der Walt was unable to gather Cornell du Preez’s hopeless pass, and Klaasen’s searing pace carried him away from the chasing defenders, gathering Coleman’s hack through to score.
Edinburgh were in again before the break, but Duhan van der Merwe let du Preez’s pass slip through his hands a yard from the line. The ball to the giant winger was far from stellar, but he ought to have collected and scored.
These errors, and an array of infringements – as well a quite superb turnover from Kings hooker Stephan Coetzee – stunted Edinburgh’s early momentum.
And Coleman kept punishing them, kicking two more penalties for a 16-22 half-time score that had looked highly improbable only 20 minutes earlier.
The early skirmishes of the second period were largely devoid of quality, as Edinburgh continued to transgress and the Kings failed to resume their comeback trail, until the introduction of Hidalgo-Clyne.
With 20 minutes remaining, the substitute scrum-half sent Fife over for the bonus-point score after a monstrous five-metre scrummage.
When Hidalgo-Clyne pilfered the ball from a Kings set-piece and raced into their 22, diminutive full-back Penxe was binned for killing the ball.
Edinburgh huffed and puffed, making heavy weather of their one-man advantage, until the scrum-half grounded the ball at the base of the post to douse any hopes of a home revival.
Hidalgo-Clyne sniped over once more three minutes later with the Kings defence loose and ragged.
And yet again, as Edinburgh steamed deep into the hosts 22, the Scotland international plunged over beneath the posts for a quick-fire hat-trick.
Du Preez was shown yellow with a minute remaining for a clumsy aerial collision, and Van Schalkwyk drove over for a consolation Kings try in the game’s last play.
Southern Kings: Yaw Penxe, Michael Makase, Harlon Klaasen, Anthony Volmink, Kurt Coleman, Rudi van Rooyen, Schalk Ferreira (capt), Stephan Coetzee, Rossouw de Klerk, Stephan Greeff, Bobby de Wee, Andisa Ntsila, Martinus Burger, Ruaan Lerm.
Replacements: Alandre van Rooyen, Luvuyo Pupuma, Pieter Scholtz, Lubabalo Mtyanda, Dries van Schalkwyk, Godlen Masimla, Barend Janse van Rensburg, Jacques Nel.
Edinburgh: Blair Kinghorn, Dougie Fife, James Johnstone, Phil Burleigh, Duhan van der Merwe, Jaco van der Walt, Nathan Fowles, Rory Sutherland, Neil Cochrane, Simon Berghan, Fraser McKenzie (capt), Grant Gilchrist, Viliame Mata, Jamie Ritchie, Cornell du Preez.
Replacements: Cameron Fenton, Michele Rizzo, Murray McCallum, Ben Toolis, Luke Crosbie, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, Chris Dean, Glenn Bryce.