Edinburgh enjoy home comforts again

Edinburgh enjoy home comforts again

Edinburgh extended their winning run at home in all competitions to seven matches when they saw off Scarlets 31-21 in a keenly-contested Guinness PRO14 encounter at BT Murrayfield.

The result means that the Scots have not lost on their home patch since April and lie third in Conference B ahead of Ulster's game away to Benetton on Saturday.

Both teams were shorn of key men because of international commitments but several of the stand-ins seized the opportunity in a contest that saw the Scots lead at half-time before falling behind and battling back to take all five points.

The home side had try doubles from Tom Brown and Viliame Mata, plus one for Pierre Schoeman, while Simon Hickey and Juan Pablo Socino shared the kicking duties. Scarlets left empty-handed despite tries from Morgan Williams, Paul Asquith and Johnny McNicholl, with Dan Jones kicking the other points.

Edinburgh looked to have opened the scoring on four minutes when Duhan van der Merwe raced onto a cross-kick by Hickey. However, it was chalked off after the television match official ruled that the ball had not been grounded.

The score was only delayed by a couple of minutes. A short lineout throw to Ally Miller was followed by a surge that shunted the Welshmen backwards, allowing Mata to touch down. Hickey banged over the conversion and the hosts were on their way.

There was a lengthy stoppage for an injury to Scarlets flanker Blade Thomson - a member of Gregor Townsend's Scotland autumn Test squad - but the visitors appeared to be galvanised by his departure and enjoyed their first spell of pressure.

That paid off when a penalty was booted into touch and in the ensuing passage of play, Kieron Fonotia flipped the ball out to Williams, who shrugged off an attempted tackle by Henry Pyrgos to touch down. Jones added the extras to square matters.

The hosts responded with a fresh attack that ended with Chris Dean feeding Mata, who delayed his pass before finding Brown, who crashed through the final tackle to score in the corner.

And Edinburgh stretched their lead when they opted for the scrum with a penalty in front of the posts. Pyrgos sent out a floated pass that found Brown, and the winger stepped off his right foot to bag his second score of the night.

Scarlets finished the half strongly and by the interval had cut the deficit to three points after Jones sent a clever chip between two Edinburgh defenders and Asquith raced through to touch down and leave Jones a simple conversion.

The Welsh outfit dominated proceedings at the start of the second half and, with Hickey serving time in the sin bin, the visitors took the lead for the first time with a simple but well-executed move.

Sam Hidalgo-Clyne fed McNicholl at a close-range scrum, and the full-back darted between two defenders to score. Jones converted to establish a four-point advantage.

Back came Edinburgh and, despite still being a man down, they regained the initiative on 56 minutes when Schoeman crashed over for the bonus-point try and Socino converted.

And they continued to apply pressure, forcing a string of Scarlets offences that culminated in a yellow card for Simon Gardiner. In the aftermath, Mata extended the Edinburgh lead six minutes from time when he dived over a heap of bodies to claim his second touchdown. Hickey converted to complete the victory.

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