IT might be going too far to describe Parc y Scarlets in Llanelli as a happy hunting ground for Edinburgh Rugby but two wins in four visits certainly suggests the town in West Wales, where the teams meet tonight in the Rabo Direct Pro 12 League, is anything but barren territory.
And one Capital star with fond memories is Kyle Traynor who shared in the last triumph in 2009-10 and believes Edinburgh have a worthwhile springboard in seeking a first away victory of this campaign.
Says three times capped prop forward Traynor: “Beating Munster at home last week was a great win. We needed it but the manner of the win was really good with a lot of people saying it was the best they had seen Edinburgh play for a while. In always looking forward, though, we need to back it up again this week and it won’t be easy although I have won at Llanelli in the past with Edinburgh.”
Traynor’s reasons for cautious optimism are two-fold.
“Part of our performance against Munster stemmed from losing at Aironi the previous week and with Scarlets going down to Treviso last time we have to expect they will also come out of the blocks fast against us.
“They are a good side and will play a lot of good attacking rugby. They’re strong up front and have some good players such as Iestyn and Rhys Thomas in the front row and their No. 8 [Ben Morgan] is a consistent performer who makes yards off the scrum base. In fact, they have threats all over the field.”
However, Traynor knows that Edinburgh have potential match-winners in highlighting the efforts of winger Lee Jones, one of only four players to start all three games for Scotland A last season.
In the visit to Aironi, Traynor scored his third try for Edinburgh and he was close to repeating the feat last week against Munster thanks, initially, to Jones.
Said Traynor: “Lee Jones is playing out of his skin just now and made a great break in the lead up to a very good try by our hooker, Steve Lawrie, against Munster. Somehow Greig Laidlaw managed against all odds to hang on to an awkward offload out of contact and the ball went to Steve who scored.
“At that moment I was right behind Steve and if he’d been tackled he could have popped up a pass to me and I felt I would have got over. It didn’t matter though because we came away with the points.”
Adding further lustre to the victory was the fact that earlier this week hooker Mike Sherry was called up to augment Ireland’s World Cup squad from a Munster side Edinburgh were determined to put on the back foot from the start.
It’ll be the same at Llanelli tonight with Traynor remarking: “We knew we had to start well against Munster whom we had a lot of respect for. We knew we had to stamp our authority on the game early with a fast tempo while defending with aggression to stop them playing their game.
“All week there was a real good feeling from the team run to the pre-match talk where [coach] Michael Bradley did his bit a quarter of an hour before kick-off and [captain] Greig Laidlaw then said his words immediately beforehand to a pretty focused squad.
“I have been fortunate to have played for Edinburgh in some big games and won a few but the win against Munster with a lot of guys at the World Cup and young guys coming through was a real confidence booster and a definite highlight.”
Mention of the World Cup sees Traynor, inevitably, reflecting on what might have been having represented Scotland three times in 2009.
“I found it difficult to watch being passionate about Scotland winning and I’m gutted for the guys who will be down on themselves. They did play well at times especially in the last two games but rugby is brutal at times and those last two results might haunt some of the guys for a wee while I imagine.
“Definitely my big aim is to play for Scotland again but I need to concentrate on Edinburgh continuing at Scarlets by working hard. Putting in performance that makes me available for Six Nations selection.”
Regardless of whether the call comes Traynor will remain utterly committed.
“I’m thoroughly enjoying Edinburgh at the moment but my contract is up at shortly so it is a very big season.”