Edinburgh's blitz down Scarlets
PRO14 REPORT: Jaco van der Walt produced nine minutes of magic as Edinburgh came from behind to beat Scarlets 20-12 in Llanelli.
After going almost three quarters of an hour without registering a point the Scots scored 17 in nine minutes to deny Scarlets the chance to leapfrog them in Conference B and stay right in the hunt for a PRO14 Final Series place.
Tries from Gareth Davies and Jonathan Davies put Wayne Pivac’s side in the ascendancy but after Matt Scott crossed for Edinburgh it turned into the Van der Walt show with the South African producing 15 of his side’s points.
Scarlets drew first blood after ten minutes when scrum-half Gareth Davies was found by the imperious Leigh Halfpenny.
Having collected the ball from flyhalf Dan Jones, Halfpenny cut a sumptuous line to cut through the Edinburgh defence and had Davies in support who dummied confidently before crossing, Halfpenny making it a maximum score from the tee.
With 25 minutes on the clock Scarlets had a second, this time through one of Wales’ stars of this year’s Guinness Six Nations, Jonathan Davies.
Great work from wing Steff Evans saw him make the hard yards before sending an inside pass to Davies to finish off the move and this time Halfpenny missed out on the extras.
Scarlets were lucky to get away with only conceding three points while Ken Owens spent the end of the first half and beginning of the second in the sin bin as Van der Walt split the posts to get Edinburgh off the mark.
That seemed to wake the Scots up as the clock ticked through the hour mark Scott scored their first try carving a nice line through the Scarlets defence to dot down with Van der Walt converting.
After the conversion Van der Walt scooped up a Halfpenny offload from the floor and ran a full 60 metres to cross and put Edinburgh into the lead.
Another successful conversion followed by a penalty made it 17 points in nine minutes from the Scots to completely turn the tie on its head and secure the victory.
Victory moves Edinburgh to within two points of Ulster as they face a monumental clash against the Irishmen in the next round.
Meanwhile Scarlets’ hopes of a PRO14 Finals Series spot have been dealt a hammer blow as they now sit six points back from Edinburgh who occupy the third and final spot up for grabs.
Tries: G Davies, J Davies
Tries: Van der Walt, Scott
Cons: Van der Walt 2
Pens: Van der Walt 2
Yellow card: Owen (Scarlets, 38)
Scarlets: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Dan Jones, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Uzair Cassiem, 7 James Davies, 6 Will Boyde, 5 Steve Cummins, 4 Lewis Rawlins, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Ken Owens (captain), 1 Rob Evans
Replacements: 16 Marc Jones, 17 Wyn Jones, 18 Werner Kruger, 19 Josh Helps, 20 Josh Macleod, 21 Kieran Hardy, 22 Kieron Fonotia, 23 Ioan Nicholas
Edinburgh: 15 Darcy Graham, 14 Damien Hoyland, 13 Mark Bennett, 12 Chris Dean, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Jaco van der Walt, 9 Henry Pyrgos, 8 Viliame Mata, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 John Barclay, 5 Grant Gilchrist, 4 Ben Toolis, 3 WP Nel, 2 Stuart McInally (captain), 1 Pierre Schoeman
Replacements: 16 Ross Ford, 17 Rory Sutherland, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Callum Hunter-Hill, 20 Magnus Bradbury, 21 Charlie Shiel, 22 Simon Hickey, 23 Matt Scott
Referee: George Clancy
Assistant referees: Joy Neville, Eddie Hogan-O’Connell
TMO: Leo Colgan