Rugby: Scott comes of age with perfect timing against champs Munster

Edinburgh's Matt Scott is pulled down by Ian Keatley.
Edinburgh's Matt Scott is pulled down by Ian Keatley.
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Timely try hero Matt Scott believes Edinburgh Rugby’s home win over reigning Pro 12 champions Munster has sent out a signal to the rest of the league.

In only his second start, Currie-reared Scott struck in the 21st minute of a match played on his 21st birthday to put Edinburgh 16-0 ahead and on the way to a second win of the season.

However, by contrast to the previous victory, over Connacht, this win was a step up as readily acknowledged by Scott, who said: “Teams are going to see that result and take note and know that Edinburgh aren’t a team they are going to have an easy time against.”

Edinburgh now head on Friday for Llanelli to play a Scarlets side who have lost four in a row since an opening-day win.

Scott added: “It is a massive confidence boost to beat Munster.

“No disrespect to Aironi, whom we lost against in our previous match, but they are not one of the teams challenging for the Pro 12 so that setback dented our confidence because we were poor and knew we had to do something about it.”

Do something Edinburgh certainly did – led by Scott’s maiden touchdown to mark his coming of age.

“You couldn’t write a script that had my first try for the team on my birthday.

“It was an absolutely great feeling and a key moment in the match as well.

“The way we wanted to play was at higher pace and once we got a few phases together we knew we could exploit gaps.

“I was in at first receiver to spot the gap and I then had a go at beating the full back whose tackle, fortunately, I got past.

“Munster had a lot of internationalists away so when we had a look at their team on paper we were pretty confident in the sense of knowing what we had to do to win having worked hard all week on analysis and pinpointing areas where we could attack them.

“Before the game there was a good general feeling, a buzz, and it showed at the start.

“We never really felt we were home until the last five minutes. They are a dangerous team with boys like (Lifeimi) Mafi in the back line who are really good players.

“You couldn’t switch off because these teams can score quick tries,” he said.

Making Scott’s debut campaign more special is the insight he is receiving at centre having earned his contract as a stand off with Currie, the Scotland clubs’ team and the national under-20s.

Does he now consider himself a centre rather than stand off?

“It’s helping my game a lot, especially defence and running lines playing centre,” says the player who turned out at stand off for Currie in their opening premiership match before being committed exclusively to Edinburgh.

“You don’t get as much ball but I am happy to be learning as part of a good bunch of lads and it is nice to get a different perspective.

“Maybe I’m still a No. 10 (stand off) at Currie but a centre at Edinburgh!”

What made Edinburgh’s win even more encouraging was the fact that Scott was one of seven match-day squad members under the age of 22 alongside Hamish Watson , 19, Robin Hislop, 19, Gregor Hunter, 20, Grant Gilchrist, 21, David Denton ,21 and Alun Walker, 21.

Referring to the youthfulness of his squad coach Michael Bradley said afterwards: “An important ingredient for us has been the younger players. They have been a breath of fresh air. Young players will make mistakes and we should have beaten Aironi . . . but we are learning and they are all experiencing winning and losing and the discipline of when you do get ahead to be able to play in the right area and keep the pressure on the opposition who then have to force their way back into the game.”

Meanwhile, Munster have been crying foul at one aspect of their first defeat in 14 league matches while stressing that, overall, Edinburgh were worthy winners.

“Steve Lawrie’s try . . . proved to be the final nail, even though there were 24 minutes still to run,” states Munster’s official website,” adding: “Perhaps it was as much the lead-in to that score when Peter Stringer was clearly and illegally impeded at a ruck followed by a side entry to secure possession that took the wind out of Munster’s sails.”

However, the Irishmen state: “Munster can have no complaints, nor indeed were they offering any.

“The home side showed a greater hunger and competitiveness from the off.”