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Scarlets send Edinburgh packing

29th April 2007 18:03

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Watkins

Too Good: Watkins bagged a brace of tries

Llanelli Scarlets exorcised their Heineken Cup demons with an emphatic 42-17 Magners League victory over Edinburgh at Stradey Park on Sunday, notching up six converted tries in the process.

The European Cup semi-finalists ran in six tries in a free-running contest to move back into fifth in the table with two matches remaining.

The fleet-footed Matthew Watkins claimed a brace to become one of the leading try-scorers in the Celtic League's history, while Wales skipper Stephen Jones bagged 15 points, including the game's opening try.

The Scarlets had gone into the match with director of rugby Phil Davies having made 10 changes from the side beaten by arch rivals the Ospreys in midweek.

That defeat had ended their title aspirations for another season and on the back of their European exit in Leicester it meant there was a distinct end-of-season feel to proceedings at a sun-soaked Stradey.

Edinburgh were thumped 48-0 by Cardiff Blues on their last visit to Wales but opened their account early this time through a seventh-minute penalty from fly-half Phil Godman.

The Scarlets responded quickly, however, and claimed their first try four minutes later.

Strong work by young full-back Morgan Stoddart broke the first line of defence and he was able to find Wales fly-half Stephen Jones in support, who did well to outstrip the cover.

Jones easily converted, and just like at the Arms Park a couple of weeks ago, it prompted Edinburgh to press the self-destruct button.

First Godman floated a midfield pass into the grateful arms of centre Matthew Watkins who raced 60 yards unopposed to the posts, then minutes later another botched back-line move by the visitors saw Regan King pick up and coast away from his own 22 to the line.

Jones converted both to make it 21-3 after just over a quarter of the match and the home side appeared in cruise control.

But the Scots finally shook themselves out of their lethargy and hit back in determined fashion with prop Allan Jacobsen powering over from a short-range line-out, superbly converted from the touchline by Godman.

Typically, at this stage of the campaign, the ball was being given plenty of width in what was proving an entertaining, if error-strewn affair.

But somehow, it stayed 21-10 to the home side until the break.

Three minutes after it, the Scarlets were back on a roll with the try that handed them their bonus point.

It was created and then scored by Scotland lock Scott MacLeod, obviously keen to prove a point to national coach Frank Hadden.

But the Scarlets were struggling to shake-off the visitors and from a turnover on halfway, Edinburgh number eight Dave Callam was sent charging over with no home defence in sight.

The home side continued to dominate possession and territory and eventually it told on a stubborn Edinburgh defence.

Watkins claimed his second on 59 minutes, then replacement prop Iestyn Thomas galloped over for try number six.

The scorers:

For Llanelli Scarlets:

Tries: Jones, Watkins 2, King, MacLeod, Thomas

Cons: Jones 5, Thomas

For Edinburgh:

Tries: Jacobsen, Callam

Cons: Godman 2

Pens: Godman

The teams:

Llanelli Scarlets: 15 Morgan Stoddart, 14 Darren Daniel, 13 Regan King, 12 Matthew Watkins, 11 Mark Jones, 10 Stephen Jones, 9 Liam Davies, 8 Alix Popham, 7 James Bater (c), 6 Dafydd Jones, 5 Scott MacLeod, 4 Vernon Cooper, 3 John Davies, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Deacon Manu.

Replacements: 16 Iestyn Thomas, 17 Matthew Rees, 18 Inoke Afeaki, 19 Nathan Thomas, 20 Clive Stuart-Smith, 21 Ceiron Thomas, 22 Gavin Evans.

Edinburgh: 15 Ben Cairns, 14 Rob Dewey, 13 Marcus Di Rollo, 12 Matt Dey, 11 Simon Webster, 10 Duncan Hodge, 9 Greig Laidlaw, 8 Dave Callam, 7 Allister Hogg (c), 6 Simon Taylor, 5 Fergus Pringle, 4 Alasdair Strokosch, 3 Geoff Cross, 2 Andrew Kelly, 1 Allan Jacobsen.

Replacements: 16 Steven Lawrie, 17 Dave Hewett, 18 Chris Bentley, 19 Ross Rennie, 20 John Senio, 21 Phil

Godman, 22 Lucio Lopez Fleming.

Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon (IRFU)

Touch judges: Nigel Whitehouse (WRU), Richard Hughes (WRU)

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