EDINBURGH head coach Alan Solomons can see his grand plan is coming together after they moved ahead of the Scarlets in the race for a Champions Cup place.
A man-of-the-match performance from scrum-half Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, as well as tries from Phil Burleigh and David Denton, secured a 26-15 triumph in West Wales.
They are the first Guinness Pro12 side to win at Parc Y Scarlets since the Ospreys on Boxing Day two seasons ago. And with a Challenge Cup quarter-final on the horizon, Solomons said his vision for the club is steering them to success.
He said: “It would be massive to have two [Scottish] teams in the European Champions Cup.
“It’s important both of our professional teams do well and in the last few years Edinburgh have struggled.
“But we’ve made some great progress, we have good strength in depth and we have some exciting youngsters coming through.
“We had Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, Hamish Watson, Rory Sutherland and Ben Toolis in the side today and that was my vision. It was to build the club through Scottish talent and it’s great to see this coming to fruition.”
Edinburgh found themselves chasing the game from the opening act in West Wales. Scarlets flanker Lewis Rawlins crunched Jack Cuthbert from the kick-off, forcing him to hold on to the ball and concede a penalty after just 15 seconds.
Steven Shingler, who was ruled ineligible to represent Scotland in 2012, was on hand to land the penalty from right in front of the posts to give the hosts an early 3-0 lead.
But Solomons’ side showed their Champions Cup credentials with a slick kick-return try to snatch the lead.
Cuthbert ran back a chip over the top from Shingler and slipped an offload out of the back door to Watson, who linked well with the onrushing Burleigh.
The former Highlander star carried into Scarlets territory and found flying Dutchman Tim Visser, who charged down the right flank before giving a return pass to the Kiwi, who crashed over for a seven-point score.
But Scarlets immediately narrowed the deficit with a Shingler penalty then Edinburgh’s indiscipline allowed the Scarlets hit-man to notch another pair of penalties before referee John Lacey reached the end of his tether.
He sent Greig Tonks for ten minutes in the sin-bin for obstruction when Jordan Williams threatened to burst through, and Shingler was once again on hand to punish the Scots.
But Hidalgo-Clyne kicked a penalty after John Barclay slowed a promising attack at a ruck, then engineered a comeback score on half-time.
His kick to the corner put the Welsh side under pressure and he reclaimed possession at the lineout.
The Edinburgh scrum-half then made a half-break before delivering a scoring pass to Denton, who crashed through Harry Robinson to score at the corner.
Hidalgo-Clyne was on target with the conversion to give his side a 17-15 half-time advantage.
With the game hanging in the balance, Scarlets’ replacement scrum-half Gareth Davies gifted Edinburgh the game with a moment of sheer stupidity. The Wales international was dragged into touch by Visser and centre Andries Strauss after he had shepherded Visser’s kick out
of play – and then head-butted Strauss.
After consulting television match official Derek Bevan, Lacey showed Davies a red-card, just two minutes after he had entered the fray.
Hidalgo-Clyne kept his 100 per cent kicking record intact to put Edinburgh five points clear.
Visser led the charge towards the triumph with a strong-running line from a first-phase move, but Shingler was in the way as Edinburgh struggled to break down the 14-man Scarlets.
The home team used a series of quick tap penalties in an attempt to break up the game, with James Davies and Rhys Priestland sparking promising attacks.
But Edinburgh finally put distance between them and their Champions Cup rivals with a powerful scrum-drive.
They won the crucial penalty with ten minutes on the clock and Hidalgo-Clyne showed his cool to stroke the match-winning kick over – then slotted another to put Edinburgh 26-15 up and out of sight.
Scorers: Scarlets: Pens: Shingler 1, 12, 19, 23, 26. Edinburgh: Tries: Burleigh 10, Denton 39. Cons: Hidalgo-Clyne 2. Pens: Hidalgo-Clyne 3
Scarlets: J Williams (R Priestland 61); H Robinson, R King, S Williams (M Tagicakibau 37 (E Phillips 75)); S Shingler, A Davies (G Davies 58); R Evans (P John 50), K Owens (c), P Edwards (J Adriaanse 71), J Ball, G Earle (J Payne 37), L Rawlins (R Pitman 58), J Davies, J Barclay.
Edinburgh: J Cuthbert; T Brown, P Burleigh, A Strauss, T Visser; G Tonks, S Hidalgo-Clyne; R Sutherland (G Shiells 72), S McInally, WP Nel (J Andress 63), A Bresler (F McKenzie 63), M Coman (c) (R Grant 48), H Watson, D Denton.
Referee: J Lace (Ire). Attendance: 7,310.
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