Priestland snatches late Scarlets win
October 26, 2012
David Denton smashes in to the Scarlets defence
© PA Photos
A late penalty from Rhys Priestland snatched a 29-28 victory for the Scarlets over Edinburgh on Friday night.
The outcome hung in the balance until the final whistle but a late penalty by Priestland proved to be the killer blow, inflicting further misery on the Scots who have now lost four successive league fixtures and six matches on the trot in all competitions.
The home side had a try from Tim Visser and a string of kicks by man of the match Harry Leonard to thank for their points, while George North touched down twice for Scarlets and was joined on the scoresheet by Nick Reynolds and Gareth Davies, with Aled Thomas landing three conversions and Priestland booting the vital three-pointer.
Edinburgh drew first blood when Visser powered through two tacklers to touch down between the posts and leave Leonard with a straightforward conversion.
The home side's recent defensive record has been dismal and the frailty in that department was exposed when right wing North appeared on the left flank to blast his way over. Thomas thumped over the touchline conversion to draw the Welshmen level.
Leonard stroked over a penalty to edge Edinburgh back into the lead, but the Scarlets again profited from weak Edinburgh defending to move ahead. Davies did the damage when he picked up at a scrum 40 metres out and ran through a weak tackle then offloaded to Reynolds who swept between two defenders and plunged over, with Thomas again converting.
Two penalties from Leonard - the first a long range effort - edged the hosts into a two point advantage. But the Scots again hit the self destruct button and North took full advantage, swatting off Stuart McInally and forcing his way over at the corner. Leonard squared matters when he kicked a fourth penalty.
With 40 minutes on the clock a Scarlets attack appeared to have been thwarted when Rennie won turnover ball a metre short of his line. Leonard failed to control the ball as it popped into his hands and Davies reacted quickest to bag try number four. Thomas thumped over the conversion to leave Scarlets 26-19 ahead at half-time.
Leonard suffered his first miss shortly after the restart but regained his range to trim the deficit to four points with his next effort, minutes after Davies had been despatched to the sin bin after reacting angrily following a difference of opinion with Greig Tonks.
The home stand off cut the gap to a single point with his next effort then banged over his seventh kick from the left flank to ease the home side in front. Scarlets responded with another assault on the Edinburgh line but the home defence was equal to the task.
The visitors' pressure paid off in the form of a penalty in front of the posts with two minutes left on the clock. And Priestland was cast in the role of match winner when he stroked over the kick to inflict the latest defeat on a beleaguered Edinburgh side.
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