Scarlets headed to BT Murrayfield looking to keep the pressure on Conference B leaders Leinster whilst also opening the gap on pack chasers Edinburgh, Ulster and Benetton.
The West Wales region were buoyed after a six-try victory over Southern Kings last weekend whilst Edinburgh fell to a disappointing loss to Zebre Rugby in round seven.
A victory at Murrayfield over the home side would have allowed Scarlets to open a buffer on Edinburgh who are amongst those teams chasing the leaders. A slow start by the Scarlets allowed Edinburgh to take the lead but the visitors, with a late first half try, kept the pressure on the scoreline.
It was the Scarlets who came out firing in the second half with a Johnny McNicholl try putting us ahead for the first time. Edinburgh kept the pressure on scoring a bonus point try and stopping Scarlets from claiming a losing bonus point.
Edinburgh kick us off here at BT Murrayfield and come at us with a solid attacking phase early on in the game.
With only four minutes on the clock the home side have capitalized on Scarlets errors with winger Duhan van der Merwe touching down a cross field kick. TMO is asked to confirm grounding and try isn’t awarded. We come back for an Edinburgh corner kick and line out but the ball lands back in Scarlets hands.
Edinburgh drive over a try from the line out after sustained pressure with number 8 Billi Mata claiming the points. Outside half Simon Hickey adds the conversion.
Scarlets hit back right away with an opportunity to kick to the posts and Dan Jones steps up. The kick is wide of the mark.
Blade Thomson receives medical attention after a head clash in contact. Ed Kennedy comes on to replace him as he’s stretchered from the field.
As we get back underway we win a penalty in Edinburgh’s tertitory, Dan Jones kicks to the corner and we have a five metre line out. The ballis lost at the top of the line out but we remain composed and gather at the back. We work the ball through the hands and keep a strong attacking shape. We move left to right, right to left, eventually getting the ball out wide through a beauty of a pass from centre Kieron Fonotia to winger Morgan Williams. Jones adds the conversion.
Edinburgh come back on the attack immediately. They work a strong attacking line deep in our 22. Scarlets’ defence is tested but they stay calm under pressure. We win turnover ball, kick downfield and alleviate the pressure momentarily. Edinburgh throw in at the line, gather the ball and come back on the attack. Just like the Scarlets earlier in the quarter, scoring their own try, Edinburgh remain composed. The ball is recycled and territorial gains made. Winger Tom Brown touches down in the far corner. Conversion unsuccessful.
It’s all Edinburgh as we head towards the half huor mark. They’re back on the attack in our 22. Scarlets are defending well but having to do the hard graft as Edinburgh get a run in our territory. A long-range pass is intercepted by Morgan Williams but we head back under the posts as referee Ben O’Keeffe plays Edinburgh advantage. They work the ball out to the backs and winger Tom Brown grabs his second try of the evening. Conversion unsuccessful.
Edinburgh are in control of the ball despite being in their own half but Scarlets’ defence holds strong. The home side is penalised for holding on to the ball on the ten metre line and Scarlets, through outside half Dan Jones, kicks to the corner. From the line out the Scarlets make an assault on the line. Composed passage of play is seen once again, the ball is shipped left and a grubber kick from Jones bounces beautifully for centre Paul Asquith who touches down. Jones adds the conversion.
Half time: 17-14
The second half gets underway in a much better fashion for the Scarlets. We get straight down in to Edinburgh’s 22. Determination and fire is evident. A kick to the corner results in a driving line out. Advantage is with us. We get a second bite at the cherry, Another strong driving line out. We can’t quite get over the line but the attacking flair is evident.
Hidalgo-Clyne darts to the line. He’s held up short but support is there. We still can’t quite cross the whitewash but as the ball is passed through Scarlets hands we’re pushed in to touch. We come back for a scrum under the posts and outside half Simon Hickey is shown a yellow card.
From the scrum the ball is out cleanly, fullback Johnny McNicholl looks determined and he’s over the line unopposed. Great vision for a solo try. Jones adds the conversion.
We’ve got fifty-four minutes on the clock and it’s Edinburgh’s turn to drive from the line out after a winning a penalty in Scarlets territory and kicking to the corner. The ball is worked through the hands. Phase after phase. They edge ever closer to the whitewash and despite a solid Scarlets defensive effort loosehead prop Pierre Schoeman claims his side’s fourth try of the evening and puts them back in front. Juan Pablo Socino adds the conversion.
With just over ten minutes remaining on the clock Edinburgh are once again in control. They put a grubber kick through and win a line out in Scarlets territory. The Scarlets push them back but the advantage heads back in Edinburgh’s favour.
Changes are made with Daf Hughes, Dylan Evans and Clayton Blommetjies on for Ryan Elias, Phil Price and Johnny McNicholl. Simon Gardiner and Tom Price also replace Werner Kruger and Steve Cummins.
A Scarlets scrum on our own 10m line hands Edinburgh a penalty. They kick for the corner. They win the ball at the top of the line out and referee O’Keeffe plays advantage in their favour. Simon Gardiner is shown a yellow card. They kick to the corner and drive at us again.
The drive is strong. They believe they’ve crossed the whitewash. We head to TMO for confirmation. Question is asked, try or no try? It’s given. Conversion is added and we trail by ten points with the clock ticking towards the 80thminute.
The final whistle is blown and it’s all over here at BT Murrayfield. Edinburgh have secured the bonus point victory, kept Scarlets away from the losing bonus point and closed the gap in Conference B.
Man of the match: Bili Mata