Debutant Ewan Ashman inspired Edinburgh to victory in an exhilarating clash against the Lions to preserve their perfect start to the season. 

Edinburgh led all game but they withstood heavy pressure from their South African opponents, but Ashman scored an incredible try just 14 minutes after his introduction. The Scotland international picked a superb line as he burst through the Lions' defence and he showed blistering pace to race over the line.

It was a physical and nail-biting contest but Edinburgh defended superbly under the cosh to record their first-ever win over the Lions to make it two from two under new head coach Sean Everitt. 

“That is quite exciting,” Everitt commented on Edinburgh’s maiden win over the Lions. “It is hard to believe that a young Lions team beat a nearly full Scotland international side two years ago and I told them midweek it was time to turn the tables. 

“Tonight they showed a lot of character and resilience and we asked for an 80-minute performance because at times last year Edinburgh fell off in the last twenty minutes. I’m obviously happy with the result as last season these results went the other way and that’s a big positive for us.

“We knew it was going to be tough. We saw last week that they’re a team that never goes away and their young players have become men over the last three years. It was never going to be easy and they pride themselves on the set-piece battle and that's where we struggled tonight. 

“You need to have a good set piece to get a good win and that’s what we need to work on. “We’ll take the win and the guys showed lots of character out of there.”

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On Ashman, Everitt added: “I thought he was very good in the loose and the breakdown and defended well and scored a great try for us to win the game. He is a hard worker and known for his set piece. He has quietly gone about his job this week. 

“We gave him an extra week off and that probably put more pressure on him but to score a match-winning was great and we are delighted to have him. He is a great rugby player and a good person.

The hosts should have scored the first try on 11 minutes but Mark Bennett inexplicably refused to play a simple pass to Glen Young. Bill Mata, on his return from the World Cup, created the opportunity with a slick inside pass to release Bennett but the centre ignored the support run of Young for an easy finish. 

Edinburgh struggled to break through the Lions’ resolute defence early on but they received a massive boost when Edwill van der Merwe was sin-binned for a deliberate knock-on on 14 minutes. Referee Chris Busby initially gave a scrum but after a review, he awarded a penalty and brandished a yellow card as Edinburgh immediately capitalised on their man advantage. 

Their forwards motored through the phases before Luke Crosbie powered over with support from his teammates and Ben Healy kicked the extras. 

The Lions, however, showed great resilience and they immediately responded from kick-off with Jordan Hendrikse slotting home a penalty after Edinburgh were penalised at the breakdown. 

Edinburgh were unable to extend their lead before van der Merwe returned to the field on 23 minutes after they were denied a scintillating try by the TMO. Kinghorn glided through the Lions' defence before the ball reached Mata via Wes Goosen and the Fiji international offloaded to Bennett but his foot was millimetres into touch as he finished in the corner. 

The Lions grew into the game as the first half progressed and they applied heavy pressure on the Edinburgh try-line but the hosts held firm, conceding just three points to the boot of Hendrikse to ensure they led by a single point at half-time. 

Edinburgh reestablished their four-point advantage through the pinpoint boot of Healy just after the break and they continued to defend well under Lions pressure. 

Quarn Horn was prevented from scoring by a scramble tackle before ref Busby reversed his decision to award the visitors a try through Ruan Venter after he spotted an obstruction on Hamish Watson. 

The Lions launched wave after wave of attack but Edinburgh put up a herculean effort to repel until substitute Ross McCann’s yellow card proved costly. From the penalty immediately after ref Busy penalised McCann for a high tackle, the Lions kicked for the corner and Francke Horn powered over from the line-out with Hendrikse adding the conversion. 

Edinburgh were up against it, three points and a man down, but then Ashman stepped forward to become the hero with his scintillating try on 64 minutes.

Hendrikse reduced the deficit to a single point to set up a nervy finish but Edinburgh held on to register an impressive win. 

Edinburgh XV: B Kinghorn; R McCann, M Bennett, M Currie, W Goosen; B Healy, B Vellacott; B Venter, D Cherry, J  Sebastian, G Young, G Gilchrist, L Crosbie, H Watson, V Mata. 

Replacements: E.Ashman, R Hislop, WP Nel, M Sykes, C Boyle, C Shiel, C Scott, C Dean

Tries: Crosbie, Ashman 

Yellow: McCann 

Lions XV: Q Horn, R Kriel, H Van Wyk, M Louw, E Van der Merwe, J Hendrikse, S Nohamba, F Horn, R Venter, E Tshituka, D Landsberg, R Shoeman, R Dreyer, PJ Botha, C Fourie

Replacements: J Visagie, M Naude, A Ntlabakanye, W Alberts, H Sergil, M Van der Berg, R Jonker, A Coetzee.

Tries: Horn

Yellow:  Van der Merwe