Edinburgh 26-23 Scarlets, RaboDirect Pro12
Edinburgh return to winning ways
March 30, 2012
David Denton scores for Edinbugh
© PA Photos
Edinburgh posted their first league win in nine matches by beating the Scarlets 26-23 at Murrayfield.
A touchdown by Dave Denton and a penalty try, plus a string of kicks by skipper Greig Laidlaw saw the hosts home against a Welsh outfit that had tries from Andy Fenby and Jonathan Davies plus an 11-point haul from the boot of Rhys Priestland and one conversion by Stephen Jones.
Both sides welcomed back their Six Nations players, with the Welsh Grand Slam players looking to bolster the Scarlets' bid for a play-off slot, while the Scottish wooden spooners were desperate to halt a dismal losing streak.
Priestland nudged Scarlets in front when he was on target with a penalty after three minutes, but that was cancelled out almost immediately by a Laidlaw three pointer from close range. The home stand-off doubled his tally in 17 minutes with another straightforward kick, sparking a spell in ascendancy for the Scots.
And they extended their advantage in 21 minutes. Ross Rennie was tackled just short of the line after a thrust by the home pack following a lineout in the Scarlets 22. However, he managed to offload to his international back-row colleague Denton who plunged over beside the upright. Laidlaw's conversion stretched the gap into double figures.
Priestland nibbled into the lead with a well-struck penalty on 32 minutes following a massive hit by Sione Timani on Tom Brown that yielded the penalty and left the Edinburgh fullback needing treatment for a cut. The Scots were in the ascendancy and the penalty count against the visitors led to a warning from referee Peter Fitzgibbon. That went unheeded and when Deacon Manu offended at the breakdown, he was promptly shown a yellow card.
And it got worse for the Welshmen just before the break. Scarlets skipper Matthew Rees was guilty of a deliberate knock-on in front of his own posts and joined his front row colleague in the sin bin. Edinburgh opted for a scrum from the ensuing penalty and they shunted the shorthanded Scarlets pack backwards, forcing another offence and a penalty try which Laidlaw converted to leave the hosts 20-6 up at the interval.
Edinburgh resumed with intent but failed to capitalise on their numerical advantage, although Mike Blair was foiled just short of the line after a searing break. Restored to their full complement, Scarlets set about reducing the deficit and Priestland clawed back three points with his third penalty of the match.
And the visitors blasted open the contest three minutes later when Fenby collected a flip pass on the edge of the Edinburgh 22 and raced round behind the sticks to touch down and leave Priestland a simple conversion. The Scarlets kicker turned offender three minutes later, conceding a penalty that Laidlaw steered between the sticks to restore a seven-point advantage.
Stephen Jones replaced Priestland and the veteran's first task was to line up a straightforward penalty in front of the posts. He was awry with his effort but atoned almost immediately with a scything break before freeing Davies for a try. Jones popped over the kick to tie the scores with 14 minutes to play.
Edinburgh responded with a penalty by Laidlaw that handed the hosts the initiative once more. Scarlets launched a fresh offensive but a turnover and a knock-on in prime position thwarted their hopes and Edinburgh clung on for the victory.
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