Edinburgh 46

Borders 13

The first appearance of a full-time professional Borders side at Murrayfield last night was a welcome sight but the years of investment in Edinburgh were rewarded in this Bank of Scotland Pro Cup tie.

Seven tries in an exhibition of top quality, attacking rugby earned them a bonus point which took them seven points clear at the top of the table and already very close to claiming one of the two Heineken European Cup slots for next season.

The late switch of venue contributed to the fact that a crowd of less than 3000 saw the match, but the Edinburgh players still revelled in the environment at the national stadium.

''It was cold, but it was a good firm ground and the sort of track we really like,'' said their captain Todd Blackadder. ''We've been through a tough time and needed to re-group and the guys turned in one of their best performances.''

It would be churlish to make too much of the fact that they waited to do so against fellow Scots and in any case, that merely justified the pre-match claims of Frank Hadden, their coach, that meaningful domestic competition can bring something extra out of players. His men took control in an opening half hour which saw them score three fine tries, albeit Borders mistakes contributed to the number of opportunities they had.

Indeed, they could have been further ahead had Chris Paterson, after getting within range with a shimmying run before breaking a tackle five metres short of the line, not lost control of the ball while attempting to keep his feet, leading one cynic to suggest he could not bear to break the deadlock against his native Borders.

When Simon Taylor cruised through the midfield moments later, however, fellow winger Conan Sharman had no qualms about taking advantage after Derrick Lee provided the link and commited opposite number Tanner Vili.

The manner of Brendan Laney's subsequent missed conversion attempt was both alarming and encouraging for the watching Scotland management. The Scotland goal-kicker's attempt was a shocker, duck-hooked along the ground in calm conditions; however the way in which he held his head in his hands in mock despair, then flashed a grin at the grandstand said everything about his temperament.

That said, Kevin Utterson then gave him a lesson in ball striking when presented with his first opportunity shortly afterwards, to reduce the deficit with a penalty from wide on the left. That only spurred Laney into greater effort and the man castigated in many quarters for his lack of pace, sliced the Borders' defence open with a blistering blindside break from halfway, Lee again getting up in support to provide the link and put in Mike Blair.

Still better was to come as Nathan Hines stole turnover ball on his own 10-metre line and Blair set off on the sort of electrifying run Boroughmuir supporters became very used to seeing last season, offering a couple of shows of the ball in commiting the cover before giving Paterson the chance to put the record straight as he raced round behind the posts.

Laney converted both of those tries and while Utterson responded with a second penalty he pulled his third attempt wide as the game moved into injury time.

Edinburgh continued where they left off after the interval, though they had to settle for a Laney penalty after Ally Dickson and Chris Paterson had broken through on the right. However more tries were coming, the next from another counter attack sparked by Laney's awareness as he reacted when the Borders spilled ball in Edinburgh territory to feed the on-rushing Paterson.

He in turn released Blair down the left touchline who got to the 22, before kicking ahead and being blatantly late tackled by Gary Armstrong who was probably spared a sin-binning by the fact that Paterson had continued running and won the race to slide over the line with the ball.

Moments later, Richard Metcalfe was sin-binned for collapsing a maul and in his absence Edinburgh took full advantage, Ally Hogg going over on the right within moments of coming on as a replacement before Sharman hit the line at pace wide on the right to go clean through.

Much too late to influence anything, a classic Gregor Townsend break into the home 22 opened up the space for him to put Utterson in for their only try. This was very much Edinburgh's night and when Graeme Burns took a quick tap penalty deep in Borders' territory, Todd Blackadder was on hand to feed Andrew Dall, who demonstrated his hunger to be involved in what has been a frustrating season for him in terms of game time, to bravely dive, torpedo-style, among defenders feet to score.

Edinburgh D Lee (T Philip 25); C Sharman, C Joiner, A Dickson, C Paterson; B Laney (G Burns 68), M Blair; A Jacobsen, C Di Ciacca (D Hall 65), C Smith (J Brannigan 67), N Hines, G Perrett (A Kellock 59), T Blackadder, M Leslie (A Hogg 54), S Taylor (A Dall 63)

Borders T Vili; N Walker (C Moir 50), J Stuart (G Morton 67), K Utterson, S Cranston; G Townsend, G Armstrong (I Fairley 50); P Thomson, S Scott (S Gunn 58), B Douglas (G Graham 50), D Weir (S MacLeod 63), R Metcalfe, A Rennick, M Lee, T Walker (R Ford 71)

Referee M Fox (England)

Scoring sequence (Edinburgh): 5-0, 5-3, 12-3, 19-3, 19-6 (half-time); 22-6, 29-6, 36-6, 41-6, 41-13, 46-13

Scorers. Edinburgh. Tries Sharman (9, 61), Blair (17), Paterson (26, 49), Hogg (56), Dall (71) Con Laney (17, 26, 49, 56) Pen Laney (42)

Borders. Try Utterson (67) Con Utterson (67) Pen Utterson (13, 28)