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Scarlets 13-6 Edinburgh

Scarlets (10) 13
Tries: D Evans, Owens. Pen: D Evans.

Edinburgh (6) 6
Pens: D Blair 2.


Scarlets hooker Ken Owens scores a try against Edinburgh
Scarlets hooker Ken Owens scores a try against Edinburgh

The Scarlets ground out a lacklustre victory to leap-frog Edinburgh into fourth in the Magners League table.

Wing Daniel Evans and hooker Ken Owens applied the finishing touch to some smart early attacking play that gave the Scarlets a 10-0 lead.

But after that the game stalled, with kickers from both sides struggling to read an unpredictable gusting wind.

Edinburgh fly-half David Blair managed two penalties before half-time, just enough to secure a losing bonus point.

The match had started in promising fashion, with home favourite Martin Roberts showing why he is very much in Wales coach Warren Gatland's future plans.

Scarlets captain Simon Easterby scavenged well when Edinburgh lost the ball in the Welsh 22, presenting his scrum-half with quick turnover ball.

Roberts, with his eye for an early counter-attack, darted through a gap in Edinburgh's disorganised defence and released his backline.

Centre Jon Davies' pass looked suspiciously forward but Morgan Stoddart took it in his stride to streak upfield, shipping the ball on for wing Evans to go over.

606: DEBATE

Evans should have had another soon after when Davies broke through two tacklers, but the number 13's wavering pass to his wing was this time ruled forward by referee Alan Rowlands.

But a second Scarlets try arrived just after the quarter-hour mark, a dart from Roberts being stopped just short of the line but hooker Owens was on hand to pick and drive over.

Scarlets fly-half Rhys Priestland had no better luck with his second conversion attempt, hooking this one having put his first kick across the face of the posts, and was also wide with a later penalty.

His Edinburgh counter-part Blair had no better luck with his first, straightforward, penalty.

But the fly-half got the visitors on the scoreboard as the half closed, first punishing a Scarlets infringement at a ruck, then adding a second kick in first-half injury time to reduce their deficit to 6-10.

Priestland's kicking woes continued after the break, the youngster horribly hooking an easy kick from just left of the posts - admittedly with the wind gusting unpredictably.

Scotland's record points scorer, Chris Paterson who had come on for Hugo Southwell, fared little better with his first penalty attempt.

The game, which had started so promisingly, had fallen flat as both sides struggled to impose themselves.

With ball in hand the play had become bogged down in the middle of the park, punctuated by the frustrating ping-pong kicking that has become a hallmark of the experimental law variations.

Evans was given a kick-to-nothing from nearly the halfway line as the Scarlets looked for some breathing space with 10 minutes left.

But the ball held up in the wind and fell short and then a second, closer kick also missed its mark.

Scarlets suffered a late blow when full-back Stoddart was carried off on a stretcher with what appeared to be a worrying knee injury.

As the game limped into the final moments a kick at last bisected the posts - to the loudest cheer of the second half - as Evans made it third time lucky.

But it made little difference to Edinburgh - who were still able to claim a losing bonus point - or indeed the Scarlets, who will need to serve up better fare if they are to fill their new Parc y Scarlets stadium.

Meanwhile, the Scarlets will play an extra derby match against Newport Gwent Dragons at Rodney Parade.

The friendly fixture on Friday, 27 March (kick-off 1930 GMT) will give those players who have not been involved in the Six Nations the chance to boost their match fitness ahead of the return to Magners League action.


Scarlets: Morgan Stoddart; Darren Daniel, Jon Davies, Gavin Evans, Daniel Evans; Rhys Priestland, Martin Roberts; Phil John, Ken Owens, Deacon Manu, Vernon Cooper, Lou Reed, Josh Turnbull, Simon Easterby (capt), David Lyons.
Replacements: Iestyn Thomas for John (53), Mahonri Schwalger for Owen (61), Dominic Day for Reed (54), Rob McCusker for Turnbull (68), Nathan Thomas, Gavin Cattle for Roberts (41), Gareth Morris for Stoddart (80).

Edinburgh: Hugo Southwell; Simon Webster, Ben Cairns, Nick De Luca, Mark Robertson; David Blair, Greig Laidlaw; Kyle Traynor, Andrew Kelly, Ryan Grant, Scott MacLeod, Ben Gissing, Simon Cross, Alan MacDonald, Allister Hogg (capt).
Replacements: Steve Lawrie for Kelly (75), Bruce McNeil, Craig Hamilton for Gissing (21), Scott Newlands for S Cross (40), Ben Meyer, Marc Teague for Robertson (61), Chris Paterson for Southwell (40).

Att: 6,302

Referee: Alan Rowlands (Ireland).



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see also
Magners Celtic League 2008/9
29 Nov 08 |  Rugby Union
RaboDirect Pro12 table
09 Aug 06 |  Tables
Regional rugby archive
07 Jul 03 |  Welsh
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales
BBC Sport NI coverage
11 Feb 09 |  Northern Ireland
BBC Scotland programme guide
26 Jul 09 |  Scotland


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