Edinburgh win at Scarlets to go top of Pro 14 Conference B


Pro14 Highlights: Scarlets 9-14 Edinburgh
Pro14: Scarlets v Edinburgh
Scarlets (6) 9
Pens: D Jones 3
Edinburgh (14) 14
Tries: Van der Merwe, Scott Cons: van der Walt 2

Edinburgh battled to the top of Pro14 Conference B with a 14-9 win over Scarlets at storm-hit Parc y Scarlets.

Tries from Duhan van der Merwe and Matt Scott, both converted by Jaco van der Walt, saw clinical Edinburgh lead 14-6 at the break.

Scarlets completely dominated second-half territory, but could only manage a third Dan Jones penalty.

Edinburgh’s defence stood firm in the wind and rain of Storm Dennis, Bill Mata earning man-of-the-match.

Edinburgh had six players back from the Scotland Six Nations squad to the Scarlets’ two from Wales, while experienced prop Samson Lee was a late withdrawal from the home ranks with a calf problem.

The visitors struck in their first real attack after six minutes as Nick Haining made ground from a home clearance and van der Merwe took advantage of some poor tackling to charge over for his sixth league try of the season, Jaco van der Walt converting.

Henry Pyrgos’ tackle on Josh MacLeod typified Edinburgh’s efforts

Scarlets enjoyed plenty of pressure, but could only muster two Dan Jones penalties for all their efforts as Edinburgh stole a series of line-outs.

The Scottish side then struck again late in the half as van der Merwe came off his wing from a scrum to slice clean through for Scott to score, van der Walt’s kick making it 14-6 at the break.

The second period was virtually one-way traffic as Scarlets battered away in vain in the wind and rain, with open rugby impossible and the forwards unable to make their pressure count.

Jones’ third penalty after 48 minutes ended the scoring as Edinburgh stood firm, though they lost replacement lock Fraser McKenzie to a serious-looking shoulder injury.

That saw ex-Scarlet John Barclay come on to help frustrate his former team-mates.

Scarlets coach Brad Mooar told BBC Sport Wales:

“I’m really proud of the guys in horrendous conditions, as bad as they’ve ever played in with the wind swirling around.

“I don’t think we could have played the game much better or different. Tactically we got it right, but we couldn’t execute and Edinburgh took their opportunities for two tries which they didn’t have to work really hard for.

“We kept going back to the well, but we couldn’t get a drink. The bonus point could be really significant.”

Edinburgh coach Richard Cockerill told BBC Sport Wales:

“In the second half we just didn’t have the ball, when we did we coughed it up in our own 22, but the defensive display across the board was very good.

“We spoke all week about making it work in the weather conditions, we were on the back fields at Murrayfield training in the wind and rain.

“Everyone was saying ‘it’s impossible’, but it might be impossible on a Saturday so you have to dig in and see where you get to. It wasn’t pretty and we were a bit lucky at times.”

Scarlets: O’Brien; Conbeer, Fonotia, S Hughes (capt), S Evans; D Jones, Hardy; P Price, T Davies, Kruger , Rawlins, Lousi, A Shingler, Macleod, Cassiem.

Replacements: Booth, R Evans, Sebastian, Ratuva, D Davis, Blacker, Asquith, Cummins.

Edinburgh: Hoyland; Sau, Bennett, Scott, D van der Merwe; J van der Walt, Pyrgos (capt); Schoeman, Cherry, WP Nel, Carmichael, Gilchrist, Haining, Crosbie, Mata.

Replacements: Willemse, Bhatti, Ceccarelli, McKenzie, Barclay, Groom, Hickey, G Taylor.

Referee: Frank Murphy (IRFU)

Assistants: Dan Jones (WRU) & Eddie Hogan O’Connell (IRFU)

TMO: Simon McDowell (IRFU).

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