Edinburgh edge Scarlets
PRO14 REPORT: Edinburgh did the double over rivals Scarlets to return to the top of Conference B in the Pro14 courtesy of a 14-9 triumph in Llanelli.
It was not as convincing as their 46-7 victory over Scarlets in October but Edinburgh took their chances when they came and were outstanding in defence in a rain-affected match.
Duhan van der Merwe’s sixth-minute stunner got Edinburgh off the mark before assisting for Matt Scott’s score just before the break.
Scarlets were made to pay for their failure to turn pressure into tries as they dropped to third in the standings.
After a kick-tennis battle in the opening six minutes, Van der Merwe made his mark with a scintillating run to open the scoring.
Flank Nick Haining produced the first moment of quality with a basketball pass to Scott before Van der Merwe weaved his way through four defenders to touch down for a stunning score. Jaco van der Walt added the extras.
Scarlets then opened their account on 11 minutes when David Cherry was caught offside and Dan Jones landed the resulting penalty to close the gap to 7-3.
This was how the scoreline stayed until the 36th minute when Jones dispatched another three points after Edinburgh were penalised for not rolling away.
Scarlets mounted sustained pressure in Edinburgh’s half for a large portion of the first period, choosing to pick and go in the atrocious conditions. But they failed to breach their defence.
And Brad Mooar’s side suffered a blow moments before the break. Van der Merwe broke through before releasing Scott for an easy run-in with van der Walt converting to put Edinburgh 14-6 ahead.
Despite the setback Scarlets started the second half brightly as a late Pierre Schoeman tackle allowed Jones to fire home his third penalty on 48 minutes.
Scarlets created a golden opportunity 10 minutes later after great defensive work earned them a scrum five metres out.
But Edinburgh once again held firm with Schoeman securing a crucial turnover.
The visitors were under plenty of pressure. but they continued to keep the men in red at bay with Viliame Mata central to their efforts.
With 11 minutes left, Edinburgh had the put in at a scrum close to their own tryline. Scarlets managed to overpower their opponents only for No.8 Uzair Cassiem to knock on as he looked to ground the ball.
It was a significant moment as Scarlets saw their unbeaten record which stretches back to April last year come to an end.
Man of the Match – Viliame Mata
The Fiji international was at the heart of Edinburgh’s outstanding defensive effort, producing a couple of try-saving tackles.
Van der Merwe was another strong contender after his try and assist in the first half but Mata’s tireless work in torrid conditions saw him get the honours.
Play of the Day
Heavy rain and swirling wind aren’t usually conditions for wingers but van der Merwe created a score seemingly out of nothing on six minutes.
After a superb pass by Haining, van der Merwe skipped away from two defenders before beating two more on his way over.
Pens: Jones 3
Tries: Van der Merwe, Scott
Cons: Van der Walt 2
Scarlets: 15 Angus O’Brien, 14 Corey Baldwin, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 Steff Hughes (captain), 11 Steff Evans, 10 Dan Jones, 9 Kieran Hardy, 8 Uzair Cassiem, 7 Josh Macleod, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Sam Lousi, 4 Lewis Rawlins, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Taylor Davies, 1 Phil Price
Replacements: 16 Dom Booth. 17 Rob Evans, 18 Werner Kruger, 19 Tevita Ratuva, 20 Dan Davis, 21 Dane Blacker, 22 Paul Asquith, 23 Ryan Conbeer
Edinburgh: 15 Damien Hoyland, 14 Eroni Sau, 13 Mark Bennett, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Jaco van der Walt, 9 Henry Pyrgos (captain), 8 Viliame Mata, 7 Luke Crosbie, 6 Nick Haining, 5 Grant Gilchrist, 4 Lewis Carmichael, 3 WP Nel, 2 David Cherry, 1 Pierre Schoeman
Replacements: 16 Mike Willemse, 17 Jamie Bhatti, 18 Pietro Ceccarelli, 19 Fraser McKenzie, 20 John Barclay, 21 Nic Groom, 22 Simon Hickey, 23 George Taylor
Main photo: PRO14Official