Edinburgh score seven in Scarlets win

Edinburgh maintained their 100% home record so far this season as they returned to winning ways with a bonus-point victory over Conference B rivals Scarlets.

In a comprehensive and complete performance, the capital side ran in seven tries, putting the visiting Scarlets to the sword from the opening minute.

Although there were plenty of impressive performances throughout the squad – with Ally Miller, Mark Bennett and debutant Eroni Sau showing up well in the loose - Duhan van der Merwe was the star of the show as he ran in three tries to be named Guinness Man of the Match.

The hosts were the ones who looked most confident from kick-off. Barely six minutes had passed when Ally Miller, with ball in hand, crashed through the outstretched arms of the opposition. It was only a last-minute tackle that brought the forward down, although not before his long-range offload found its way into the hands of Duhan van der Merwe, who only had to cover the last 5 metres to touch down for the first try of the match. [5-0]

That opening score left van der Merwe with a taste for tries and the winger soon touched down for his second score of the night just three minutes later. Similar to the previous score, it was the turn of Nick Haining to find a hole in the defence after some impressively quick ball movement.

The No.8 was brought down short of the try-line, but of course van der Merwe was hot on his heels to put another five points on the board, with Simon Hickey adding the first conversion of the night. [12-0]

Scarlets replied with cautious but deliberate movement into the Edinburgh half, but the Welsh seemed uncomfortable in possession, sending a few dubious grubber and cross-field kicks into Edinburgh arms.

Edinburgh had to wait patiently for their third score of the evening, but it did eventually arrive in the 20th minute as the capital side secure a lineout just shy of the visitors whitewash. Edinburgh had committed bodies to the cause, and this proved useful as Mike Willemse, out of nowhere, popped out the other side of the ruck to dive over for Edinburgh’s third of the night – and the South African’s first try in his debut season. Hickey added the two points confidently to make it 19-0.

Scarlets bounced back, and despite what appeared to be an excellent break-away try in their favour, referee Frank Murphy ruled a forward pass to chalk off an opening try for the visitors.

This was music to Edinburgh’s ears, inspiring a trademark sprint from Duhan van der Merwe, who brought Henry Pyrgos and Mark Bennett in on the action as the trio recycled the ball to bring them within metres of the whitewash. The final glory would go to Mark Bennett however, as the in-form Scotsman dropped his shoulder to fool the last defender and crash down for the bonus-point try just before half-time, with another Hickey conversion on top. [26-0]

Edinburgh’s momentum carried through to the second half, as the capital side pulled the strings from the get-go – by piling on the pressure through aggressive offense and tactical defence, Scarlets were having real trouble gaining any sort of ground from their own half.

The first points of the half were from Simon Hickey, who lent his boot to a penalty in front of the posts for an easy three points, increasing the gap to 29-0.

This wouldn’t be the case for much longer though, as Scarlets finally left their mark on the game. This came in the form of a Marc Jones try, as the forward drove his way through the legs of Edinburgh defenders following a try-line ruck, scoring below the posts for Dan Jones to add a simple conversion. [29-7]

Edinburgh fought back fiercely though, and were flexing the control they still had over the match through a series of powerful plays. Moving the ball well through the back-line as both forwards and backs contributed to the offence. This was made abundantly clear when the next try came from Mike Willemse. The hooker saw his opportunity as he broke free from the back of a maul to throw himself down on the line for his second of the match. [34-7]

Scarlets were starting to look deflated as the clock ticked into the last 15 minutes, with some sloppy handling and panicked passing. Of course, the one man who thrives on this is Duhan van der Merwe. The winger was waiting to pounce out wide and sure enough, he struck after Edinburgh battered their way towards the try-line. It was the usual script – a long-range pass found its way to that man again, and he darted over to complete his hat-trick in style, with Jaco van der Walt stepping up for conversion duties this time. [41-7]

It all seemed wrapped up at this point and fans were already eyeing the exits when Eroni Sau, on his debut, left his own stamp on the match. The Fijian winger launched forward from out of nowhere, cutting a sharp line through the remaining defenders and crossing the line flamboyantly, to sign off with a debut try, closing the game with a fantastic score-line of 46-7.

live commentary 7:35 PM Saturday 26 Oct 2019

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Kick-off 7:35 PM

Edinburgh

Scarlets

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