Inexperienced Edinburgh defeat Scarlets but Scotland injuries mount
Scarlets flanker Blade Thomson could be a doubt for Scotland after he was carried off at BT Murrayfield last night during Edinburgh's excellent five-try win, which takes them into the top three of the Guinness Pro14 Conference B.
Edinburgh won 31-21 but the game was held up for nine minutes in the first half after Kiwi-born flanker Thomson, who received a first call-up to Gregor Townsend’s Scotland squad for the autumn series but was retained by his club this weekend, was knocked out and then taken to hospital.
Edinburgh coach Richard Cockerill, who was missing a raft of first-team regulars to international duty and injury, said he was “delighted” with a bonus-point win which also left Conference B rivals Scarlets empty handed.
The home side struck first in the seventh minute after the forwards got a good charge on and Fijian No 8 Bill Mata peeled off to power over, Simon Hickey notching a good wide conversion. Then came the lengthy injury delay before Thomson was taken off but Scarlets responded to that setback with a try after some sloppy Edinburgh tackling.
Wing Morgan Williams finished off in the corner and Dan Jones was on the mark with the boot to make things all square. Edinburgh continued to dominate and in the 20th minute got their reward when wing Tom Brown completed a series of surges at the Scarlets line, although Hickey couldn’t convert.
Brown added his second nine minutes later as skipper Henry Pyrgos slung out a long pass after Edinburgh had created numbers on the right by pinning the Welsh defence back on their line yet again.
Hickey couldn’t make the conversion andEdinburgh were not able to take that ten-point buffer into the break, as visiting stand-off Jones’ perfectly judged grubber was seized on by inside centre Paul Asquith near the posts. Jones’ conversion made it a three-point game at the turnaround.
A yellow card for Hickey in the 48th minute didn’t help the Edinburgh cause when he was pinged by Kiwi referee for flying out offside when their former scrum-half Sam Hidalgo-Clyne’s quick tap penalty had his old team-mates on the back foot.
The pressure told a minute later when full-back Johnny McNicholl had acres of space on the left. Jones’ conversion gave Scarlets the lead for the first time. It wasn’t to last long, though, as the Edinburgh forwards were rewarded for patience and accuracy as prop Pierre Schoeman barged over for the vital fourth try. It was perfectly timed for the re-appearance of Hickey from the bin after sub Juan Pablo Socino convertedto edge Edinburgh 24-21 ahead.
After Scarlets had Simon Gardiner sin-binned, Mata added the gloss to an excellent result as he showed power and agility to leap over for the fifth try and Hickey added the extras.