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Edinburgh enhance play-off hopes

MATCH REPORT: Edinburgh enhanced their United Rugby Championship play-off prospects as they ran in six tries to claim a 43-18 bonus-point victory over Scarlets.

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The visitors led at the break as they sought a first win outside of Wales for 15 months before Edinburgh moved up through the gears in the second half to win comfortably.

The victory lifts Sean Everitt’s side into eighth place although, with three other sides also on 39 points, still with work to do before a play-off place can be confirmed.

Scarlets, already out of post-season contention, landed the first score of an eventful contest after pinching an Edinburgh line-out.

The forwards took them close to the line before Vaea Fifita made a one-handed pass to Tom Rogers who scored in the corner, with Sam Costelow adding the extras.

Edinburgh drew level through a piece of magic from Wes Goosen. The fullback was fed by James Lang and sold a perfect dummy before strolling over the line for a try that Ben Healy converted.

Costelow sent Scarlets back in front with a massive penalty from the halfway line before the visitors stretched their lead by capitalising on another Edinburgh error.

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Ali Price’s attempted box kick was blocked by Sam Lousi and Alex Craig’s hack forward fell perfectly for Gareth Davies to scoop up the ball and cross the line as the visitors established a 15-7 half-time lead.

Everitt changed his entire front row at the interval to try to get Edinburgh going and they soon earned their second try of the contest.

Price atoned for his earlier error by teeing up Duhan van der Merwe with a switch pass and the wing was able to run unimpeded to the line for a try

Healy converted then added a further three points from the tee to send Edinburgh in front for the first time in the match.

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Scarlets rallied and another Costelow penalty saw the lead change hands once again.

Some incredible defence on the Scarlets line kept Edinburgh at bay for phase after phase before the ball went wide for Healy to tee up Matt Currie to score under the posts. Healy’s conversion sent the home side six points in front.

Scarlets looked beaten by that point and Pierre Schoeman bulldozed his way over the line for the fourth try that earned Edinburgh the bonus point.

With the visitors wilting, the home side added two more tries, with Matt Bennett benefiting from a fortunate ricochet to dot down before a terrific team move concluded with Bill Mata weaving his way through to score.

Player of the match
Fullback Wes Goosen was at the heart of everything positive about Edinburgh’s play, scoring their opening try after throwing a brilliant dummy and always willing to come forward from fullback to join the attack. Defensively he was reliable under the high ball and tackled hard whenever Scarlets came forward.

Play of the match
Edinburgh’s sixth and final try was the most impressive. The ball was worked through hands to Chris Dean who broke the defensive line before popping up to Connor Boyle who then found Bill Mata. The giant number eight then weaved around a couple of tackles before dotting down.

The scorers:

For Edinburgh:
Tries: Goosen, Van der Merwe, Currie, Schoeman, Bennett, Mata Cons: Healy 5
Pen: Healy

For Scarlets:
Tries: Rogers, G Davies
Con: Costelow
Pens: Costelow 2

Teams

Edinburgh: 15 Wes Goosen, 14 Matt Currie, 13 Mark Bennett, 12 James Lang, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Ben Healy, 9 Ali Price, 8 Viliame Mata, 7 Luke Crosbie, 6 Jamie Ritchie, 5 Grant Gilchrist (captain), 4 Jamie Hodgson, 3 Javan Sebastian, 2 Dave Cherry, 1 Boan Venter.
Replacements: 16 Ewan Ashman, 17 Pierre Schoeman, 18 WP Nel, 19 Marshall Sykes, 20 Connor Boyle, 21 Ben Vellacott, 22 Cammy Scott, 23 Chris Dean.

Scarlets: 15 Ioan Nicholas, 14 Tom Rogers, 13 Johnny Williams, 12 Eddie James, 11 Tomi Lewis, 10 Sam Costelow, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Vaea Fifita, 7 Dan Davis, 6 Taine Plumtree, 5 Sam Lousi, 4 Alex Craig, 3 Sam Wainwright, 2 Ryan Elias, 1 Kemsley Mathias.
Replacements: 16 Shaun Evans, 17 Wyn Jones, 18 Harri O’Connor, 19 Morgan Jones, 20 Carwyn Tuipulotu, 21 Archie Hughes, 22 Dan Jones, 23 Ryan Conbeer.

Referee: Eoghan Cross (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Ru Campbell (Scotland) and Michael Todd (Scotland)
TMO: Olly Hodges (Ireland)

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