Scarlets edge out Edinburgh
February 24, 2011
Wales wing George North grabbed a try on his return from a shoulder injury
© Getty Images
Scarlets wing George North celebrated his return from a shoulder injury with a try in his side's 11-3 victory over Edinburgh in their Magners League clash at Parc y Scarlets.
The 18-year-old North went over for what proved to be a crucial score in the first half in his first match for three months since undergoing shoulder surgery. And his performance would have encouraged Wales coach Warren Gatland ahead of the final two Six Nations matches against Ireland and France. But though North was back in the action the Scarlets were without eight internationals including captain Matthew Rees, fly-half Stephen Jones and Scotsman Sean Lamont who were on Six Nations duty.
Despite being weakened the victory in rain-drenched conditions helped the Scarlets back in to the all-important top four places in the Magners League. Edinburgh, who included former Scarlets lock Scott MacLeod, were without Chris Paterson, Geoff Cross and Ross Rennie who were on Scotland duty.
The Scarlets led 8-3 at the interval, but their lead should have been more given the greater possession and territory they enjoyed in the opening 40 minutes. After Dan Newton had given the Scarlets the lead with a fourth minute penalty lively scrum-half Gareth Davies, who was named man of the match, made it over the line but was unable to ground the ball. And from that position Edinburgh were forced to survive four five metre scrums in a match dominated by the whistle of referee Dudley Phillips.
The Scarlets eventually got a deserved try on 21 minutes when North forced his way over down the right following an impressive handling move by the home side after Scott Williams had ripped the ball at a maul. From 8-0 up the Scarlets looked to build on that lead but Edinburgh scored next with a David Blair penalty after wing Joe Ajuwa failed to roll away at a ruck.
But the Scarlets had much the better of the exchanges especially when Edinburgh flanker Fraser McKenzie was sin-binned for a high tackle on North on 34 minutes. At the start of the second half Blair missed two crucial penalty attempts on 42 and 49 minutes. By contrast Newton put over his own penalty on 56 minutes which crucially put the Scarlets two scores ahead. Newton missed a penalty seven minutes later. Edinburgh came into the game in the last 20 minutes but failed to add to their score.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
As Ray McLoughlin prepares to celebrate his 75th birthday, Huw Richards pays tribute to the man and the selectors who had the wisdom to bring him into the Ireland fold
John Taylor argues the world's best XVs players must be given a chance to play in the Olympics to increase the appeal of the game
The All Blacks' form is not a peaking issue, but Hansen must threaten to wield his axe, to demand improvement, Craig Dowd writes
"It has been the World Cup that smashed down the gender barriers of the sport." Tom Hamilton looks back at a remarkable tournament