Murrayfield misery continues for Scarlets

Rob Lloyd News

The Scarlets’ losing run at Murrayfield continued as they went down to a first Guinness PRO14 defeat of the season, beaten 46-7 by Edinburgh at the home of Scottish rugby.

Undefeated after their first three matches in the competition, the Scarlets were stunned by a blistering start from the home side – one which they never recovered from, conceding seven tries in all.

Looking for their first win at the ground since 2013, it was a disastrous opening for the visitors, who conceded two tries to South African wing Duhan van der Merwe inside the opening nine minutes.

It got worse when hooker Michael Willemse made the most of some fragile defence to charge over for the third, leaving the Scarlets with it all to do with just a quarter of the game played.

A slick training-ground move put scrum-half Kieran Hardy over on 33 minutes, but the score was chalked off when the TMO adjudged Taylor Davies’s inside pass was forward.

To compound matters, Edinburgh took full advantage with a fourth try.

There appeared a forward pass of their own in the build-up, but play was allowed to continue and centre Mark Bennett cantered over for the Scots’ bonus-point try.

Home lock Fraser McKenzie was yellow carded for a dangerous clear-out just before the interval, but the Scarlets were unable to make the most of the numerical advantage and faced a mountain to climb, trailing 26-0 at the interval.

Head coach Brad Mooar made three changes for the start of the second half with Jonathan Evans, Kieron Fonotia and Dan Davis replacing Hardy, Ryan Conbeer and Tom Phillips.

But it was Edinburgh who extended their lead through a Simon Hickey penalty.

With Fonotia a threat with ball in hand, the Scarlets finally got on the board when replacement hooker Marc Jones powered over from close range on 59 minutes.

But it was the hosts who finished in style thanks to a second for Willemse, a hat-trick score for man-of-the-match van der Merwe and a debut try for Fijian Eroni Sau to complete a comprehensive victory.

Edinburgh – tries: D. van der Merwe (3), M. Willemse (2), M. Bennett, E. Sau. Cons: S. Hickey (3), van der Walt.  Pen: Hickey.

Scarlets – try: M. Jones. Con: D. Jones.

Referee: Frank Murphy (IRFU)