Scarlets 26-10 Edinburgh: Hodge’s men found wanting in Wales

Phil Burleigh scored Edinburgh's only try against Scarlets. Picture: SNS
Phil Burleigh scored Edinburgh's only try against Scarlets. Picture: SNS
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Edinburgh succumbed to a sixth defeat in a row in the 
Guinness Pro12 on a night which left acting head coach Duncan Hodge searching for answers.

They conceded the bonus point try to Scarlets within half an hour with some seriously poor defence, but then tightened things up and will take more encouragement from their second-half display in Wales. However, it still left Hodge a little uncertain what had gone wrong.

“We were not very good in the first half and not much better in the second,” he admitted.

“It was just across the board, set piece, defence, we are really, really disappointed. Coming away from home conceding a try like we did in the second minute is a real dent in confidence.”

Certainly Edinburgh will need to improve dramatically all over the pitch if they are to threaten French Top 14 pacesetters La Rochelle at BT Murrayfield next weekend. Ten Scotland internationals returned from Six Nations duty for the game, nine of them in the Edinburgh side while Scottish captain John Barclay was on the bench for the Scarlets.

No question over which side had most to play for, the Scarlets started the game four points away from the top four, while Edinburgh were merely looking to protect ninth place from the Newport Gwent Dragons.

Edinburgh were caught cold in defence at the start of the game as they let Scarlets outside half Rhys Patchell, on his first game back from injury, run 40 yards straight from a ruck to the try line. There was a suspicion of players being held in the ruck to open up the space but let’s face it, all teams do that these days.

Patchell failed to convert his own try and Edinburgh hit back through opposite number Duncan Weir slotting a simple penalty from a ruck offence.

The Scarlets forwards flexed their muscles with a try for loosehead prop Wyn Jones from a lineout drive 
five metres out, Patchell converting.

The outside half then turned provider as he put No 8 James Davies into space for a simple
try, once again adding the 

Edinburgh did narrow the gap when hooker Ross Ford charged down a kick in the 22 from home scrum-half Aled Davies, prop Alan Dell regathered and fed centre Phil 
Burleigh for the try under the post, which Weir converted. However, normal service was resumed when the Scarlets attacked.

Patchell chipped the ball up in the air under the posts, centre Jonathan Davies won the maul and Patchell was on hand to finish off the move with his second try.

He added the conversion and his job on the night was done when he was taken off after 50 minutes.

Edinburgh were certainly more determined in the second half, while the Scarlets took their foot off the gas.

The visitors’ best chance came from a break in midfield by Burleigh with full-back Blair Kinghorn racing up outside him. However Scarlets wing Steff Evans has had a frustrating few weeks, four times the 24th man for Wales in the Six Nations without winning a first cap, and he released some of that pent up energy by catching Kinghorn just short of the line.

Maybe it summed up a 
disappointing night when Edinburgh simply were not at the races.