EDINBURGH kicked-on from where they left the old year, with a comprehensive and as one-sided a win as you will see in the Guinness Pro14, hammering Southern Kings six tries to nil in a 38-0 rout beneath the lights at Murrayfield.

What was largely a second-string Edinburgh team – which during the second-half gave a debut to Charlie Shiel, son of former Scotland centre Graham – could have declared at half time, such was their utter dominance. All of which must have been particularly pleasing to Edinburgh assistant coach Duncan Hodge.

“To make so many changes, and to come off the back of a huge four weeks we’ve just had was massive,” said Hodge.

“The focus all week was about being controlled and clinical, and just being consistent because after four weeks [when they beat Newcastle and Glasgow twice] we just didn’t want to drop off.

“There was a big onus on those guys tonight, guys like Fraser McKenzie and Jamie Ritchie having to lead that team, and generally they did it very well,” Hodge concluded, having seen his side move up to second place in the Conference B.

Any favours Glasgow Warriors could have done their inter-city rivals earlier in the day, namely beating Benetton in order to enhance Edinburgh chances of qualifying out of their conference, didn’t materialise. So it was left for coach Richard Cockerill’s men to put the work in themselves against a side firmly planted at the basement of this section. And we didn’t have to wait long to see why.

One late change to the Edinburgh starting XV – much changed given the crucial European tie against Toulon on Saturday – saw the veteran Ross Ford promoted off the bench as stand-in for Dave Cherry, who had taken ill.

In just the fourth minute, Jaun Pablo Socino connected with Simon Hickey just inside Kings territory, the stand-off passing inside to Duhan van der Merwe, the left winger, who had popped up heading for the right flank. His line break created the opening for Dougie Fife to score.

The full-back would eventually walk away with the man-of-the-match award. One can only think that his immediate family had the only ballot paper and pen in the stadium.

Minutes later, against wide right, Darcy Graham polished off a move that had seen rampaging runs from Simon Berghan and Callum Hunter-Hill, with Hickey acting as link to Jamie Ritchie who provided the scoring pass. Hickey converted both tries and, before the clock had reached double figures, Edinburgh were 14-0 up.

Then, across on the other flank, Hickey moved the ball wide for Graham to touchdown for his second score. For once, Hickey was wayward from the tee, but within 12 minutes the home side were 19-0 to the good.

The Southern Kings advanced deep into Edinburgh’s half as they tried to mount some kind of face-saving attack but, just as others have found of late, Edinburgh had no intention of being charitable, and halted the Kings short of the try line.

It was the closest those from the Eastern Cape would come to a touchdown.

Indeed, so dismissive were Edinburgh of the challenge posed, that at one stage they attempted to run out of their own in-goal area, and only ran out of gas on their 10-metre line because Fife lacked backing.

If the Edinburgh backs were capable of making decent yardage, then so, too, was their pack, with almost everyone of the eight a willing carrier.

Edinburgh’s near-desperation to score on every sortee into enemy fields meant that, on occasions, they were just too keen for their own good, and relieved the pressure on the beleaguered Kings side by giving away the odd penalty.

However, those indiscretions offered only brief respite for the guests and in first-half stoppage time Edinburgh pummelled their way over for a bonus-point try, loose-head Rory Sutherland at the vanguard of the umpteenth drive and scoring.

Hickey’s additional points made it 26-0 at half time. Had this been a boxing contest, the towel would have been thrown in.

The chat at half time was that, with this one in the bag, the bonus secured and a game against Toulon

in the Champions Cup ahead, why was Bill Mata starting the second half?

A minute after the restart, Berghan matched his fellow prop with a first-career try from close range, all of his own making.

Shiel, the debutante and replacement scrum-half, played his part in setting replacement hooker Cammy Fenton up with a try, completing a full house for the Edinburgh front row on the evening.

Hickey banged over the conversion to complete a good night’s work.