Scarlets 14 - 13 Edinburgh

Edinburgh slumped to another defeat. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Edinburgh slumped to another defeat. Picture: Ian Rutherford

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Lightning could not strike twice – a Scottish side could not dodge the joint bullets of possession and territory for a second week running – but it came close.


SCARLETS - Tries: Fenby. Pens: Thomas (2), Williams

EDINBURGH - Tries: Fife. Cons: Leonard. Pens: Leonard (2)

Scarlets dominated to fight back in the second half and edge ahead. They missed kicks at goal and try-scoring opportunities but, unlike Ireland against Scotland last week, they did just enough to win.

However, Edinburgh could be pleased with a much better performance that showed they are not just going to fade away this season and they can finish with conviction.

Scotland back-rower David Denton was at the heart of their efforts, well supported by back row colleagues Stuart McInally and Hamish Watson, even though this result took Edinburgh into a fourth month without a win of any sort.

That run may even stretch into a fifth month with a break coming up and then Ulster and an away trip to Zebre, which may be far more significant than it would have appeared at the start of the season.

Certainly, the home faithful turned up to Parc y Scarlets looking forward to the start of a finishing straight for the Scarlets of six games, four at home, Zebre and Dragons away, where Glasgow in Llanelli is the only one you would not expect them to win easily.

The early pressure brought a penalty for offside against the Edinburgh defenders and Aled Thomas put his side into the lead with the penalty from in front of the posts.

A lineout on the Edinburgh ten yard line brought an even better reward as a pre-planned back move bringing blindside wing Andy Fenby in on an inside pass took advantage of the inexperience of flanker Watson to cut through. No 8 Denton, released by the Scotland squad to get some match action, came close to the line but was just held up. Harry Leonard was able to land a penalty instead.

The outside half then made an even bigger breakthrough for the visitors, using the centres as decoys to send out a deep and wide pass that allowed right wing Fife to get outside the cover on the left wing. Leonard converted the try to put Edinburgh ahead. They took that lead into the break, thanks in no small part to the scrum, which was starting to get on top. In particular, loosehead Allan Jacobsen was able to use all his experience against Scarlets youngster Samson Lee, who made a breakthrough for Wales U20s last summer.

Edinburgh started the second half by getting the better of the kicking battle and then were able to capitalise when their Welsh scrum half Richie Rees was able to charge down a defensive kick. That attack brought a penalty slotted by Leonard to extend the lead.

If Scarlets had shown any complacency about the result of this one, then that certainly shook them out of it and they started to go through the phases which resulted in a second penalty for Thomas. Turnover ball from Scarlets inside their own 22 almost brought them a second try when wing Nic Reynolds was the first to a kick through, only for Leonard to get back for a brilliant covering tackle on the wing. Scarlets upped the tempo and flanker Johnathan Edwards got over the line.

His hardworking opposite number Watson was among those who managed to hold him up. Scarlets sent on Owen Williams and he missed three penalties to continue to let Edinburgh off the hook. The third of those was for Fife lying on the wrong side, a decision which resulted in a yellow card because of the number of times his team had committed that offence.

Scarlets maintained the pressure and finally got a penalty plum in front that Williams was able to land to put his side ahead. Fife came back on relieved that his period in the bin had not proved too costly.

Edinburgh nearly snatched it in the dying second as Watson burst away, only for a fine covering tackle by Owen Williams to stop the try.

Relief for the home side, pride for the away team. In a way they could both be mightily relieved as they left.

Scarlets: L Williams; N Reynolds, G Maule, A Warren, A Fenby; A Thomas, A Davies; P John, E Phillips, S Lee, J Ball, J Snyman, A Shingler, J Edwards, R McCusker. Subs: O Williams for A Thomas (51mins), G Davies for A Davies (33), R Jones for John (76), Rees for E Phillips (51), Manu for Lee (68), Timani for Ball (62).

Edinburgh: G Tonks; D Fife, B Cairns, B Atiga, L Jones; H Leonard, R Rees; A Jacobsen, S Lawrie, WP Nel, P Parker, S Cox, S McInally, H Watson, D Denton. Subs: Brown for Cairns (64), Leck for Rees (77), Yapp for Jacobsen (64), Titterrell for Lawrie (70), McAlpine for Parker (46).

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