Edinburgh Rugby were edged out of an exciting RaboDirect PRO12 clash in Llanelli to the Scarlets this afternoon (25-21).
The visitors raced into a 10-point lead through centre Nick De Luca and the boot of stand-off Carl Bezuidenhout, only for indiscipline and individual errors to allow the red men to lurch back into the contest.
Welsh full-back Jordan Williams crossed for two of the Scarlets’ three in response and, while wing Tom Brown finished well to bring his side within range, they could not get the decisive score they so threatened as the match wore on.
The visitors started brightly with two charge downs on the Scarlets try-line in the first two minutes, making for an unnerving beginning for the home side’s back division - their blushes saved by the ferocity of their striking which, on both occasions, saw the ball cannon off the on-rushing defender and across the dead ball line.
There was to be no let up from the Edinburgh men, however, as De Luca was both creator and scorer in a fine, flowing move which he started with a lofted miss pass, and finished by darting over the whitewash with the recycled ball.
Bezuidenhout added the conversion and a penalty kick on the 12th minute to make for a satisfactory start to match (0-10).
Disappointingly it was then that Scarlets began to establish a foothold in the contest.
Stand-off Aled Thomas slotted back-to-back penalties to narrow the deficit before Williams crossed for his first of the night to take the lead.
Thomas added the extras but Bezuidenhout was on target with a long-range penalty soon after to level the match at (13-13).
So it looked set to remain until Williams popped up once again, joining the back line and cutting inside a mismatch to sprint over for the unconverted score.
Edinburgh started strongly once again and set up camp in the Scarlets' 22.
The team turned down a shot at the posts for a five metre lineout and were duly rewarded with their second try of the match thanks to Brown, who collected a fine pass from replacement stand-off Harry Leonard, to jink inside and score.
Leonard missed the touchline conversion meaning the game was level once again (18-18).
On 57 minutes the Scarlets retook the lead as centre Adam Warren squeezed through the smallest of gaps from the five metre line.
Thomas made no mistake to extend the lead once more (25-18).
Continuing what was a much-improved Edinburgh Rugby performance, the men in black were then back upfield wth interest.
Full-back Jack Cuthbert made sure they came away with something for their troubles when he converted a 70th minute penalty to make for a nervous finish (25-21).
Unfortunately, despite doing well to create valuable attacking opportunities and threaten the Scarlets’ 22, the club were not able to secure the decisive score.
Scarlets: 15 Jordan Williams; 14 Kristian Phillips, 13 Adam Warren, 12 Olly Barkley, 11 Frazier Climo; 10 Aled Thomas, 9 Gareth Davies; 1 Phil John, 2 Emyr Phillips, 3 Samson Lee, 4 George Earle, 5 Johan Snyman, 6 Josh Turnbull, 7 John Barclay, 8 Rob McCusker CAPTAIN. Substitutes: Kirby Myhill on for Emyr Phillips (66’), Rob Evans on for Phil John (66’), Jacobie Adriaanse on for Lee (56’), Richard Kelly on for Earle (blood, 49’) and for Snyman (57’), Sione Timani on for Turnbull (50’), Rhodri Williams for Davies (64’), Gareth Maule on for Adam Warren (66’), Gareth Owen.
Edinburgh Rugby: 15 Jack Cuthbert; 14 Dougie Fife, 13 Nick De Luca, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Tom Brown; 10 Carl Bezuidenhout, 9 Grayson Hart; 1 Wicus Blaauw, 2 James Hilterbrand, 3 Willem Nel, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 5 Izak van der Westhuizen, 6 Mike Coman CAPTAIN, 7 Roddy Grant, 8 Cornell Du Preez. Substitutes: 16 George Turner, 17 Alex Allan on for Blaauw (74’), 18 Ewan McQuillin, 19 Ollie Atkins on for van der Westhuizen (66’), 20 Tomas Leonardi on for Grant (70’), 21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne on for Hart (57’), 22 Sam Beard on for De Luca (41’), 23 Harry Leonard on for Bezuidenhout (41’).