Planet Rugby

King fails to save the Scarlets

25th November 2007 18:27

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Regan King

Royal Performance: Scarlets centre Regan King scored a hat-trick of tries

Despite a hat-trick of tries from Regan King, the Scarlets dearly missed their Wales stars on Sunday as they went down to a 27-17 loss to upwardly mobile Edinburgh at Murrayfield.

King's tries seemed to have put Llanelli Scarlets on course for victory at Murrayfield, but a string of kicks by substitute Phil Godman and a touchdown from Nick De Luca tilted the balance in favour of the success-starved Scots when it mattered most.

Andy Robinson's side had made an encouraging start by edging ahead with an early David Blair penalty, but they soon found themselves under the cosh due to clinical King.

Referee George Clancy was forced to issue a general warning to rival skippers Mike Blair and Simon Easterby in the wake of a series of niggly incidents.

Llanelli's power up front began to tell as they laid siege in the home danger zone in a tense 10-minute spell.

King was looking particularly dangerous for the visitors and twice in quick succession he was hauled down just a pace short of the Edinburgh line.

The pressure was kept on the Gunners defence and only some brave last-ditch tackling prevented the Welshmen from breaking through at that stage.

But they were stretched beyond the limit in the 17th minute when King raced through a gap to finish clinically from 15 metres out. Rhys Priestland was wide with the conversion bid.

The visitors maintained the momentum and winger Darren Daniel was blocked out inches from the line after he had brushed off the challenges of three home men.

Priestland was off the mark with a penalty - then all of a sudden the tide turned in favour of Edinburgh.

Having been pinned back for so long, the home side got back into the contest with David Blair's second penalty.

And just 30 seconds later they increased their advantage thanks to an opportunist touchdown from Andy Maxwell.

Priestland tried to be clever with the restart by switching it away from his pack.

He over-hit it straight into the path of the alert Maxwell, who gleefully galloped 65 metres for a bizarre score.

David Blair failed to earn the extras, however he made quick amends by slotting another penalty from dead in front.

The rattled Scarlets burst back strongly in the build-up to the break, with King fighting off the challenge of David Callam to complete his try double.

Priestland discovered his kicking touch to make it a seven-pointer at a crucial stage.

Llanelli stepped up the pace again after the restart and grabbed back the initiative after a shocking piece of Edinburgh defending.

Priestland's chip appeared to be covered by Hugo Southwell and Maxwell - but somehow King nipped in before either of them to earn the precious first touch for his treble.

Godman levelled the issue with a penalty, setting up a tension-packed finale.

And he quickly repeated the feat to give his side genuine hope.

The excitement level rose when Matt Dey's surge created a try for De Luca, confirmed after a long examination by the video referee.

Godman calmly slotted the conversion to take the winning margin to ten points.

The scorers:

For Edinburgh:

Tries: Maxwell, De Luca

Cons: Godman

Pens: Blair 3, Godman 2

For Llanelli Scarlets:

Tries: King 3

Cons: Priestlend

Edinburgh: 15 Hugo Southwell, 14 Andrew Turnbull, 13 Nick De Luca, 12 John Houston, 11 Simon Webster, 10 David Blair, 9 Mike Blair (c), 8 David Callam, 7 Ross Rennie, 6 Roland Reid, 5 Ben Gissing, 4 Matt Mustchin, 3 Craig Smith, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Allan Jacobsen

Replacements: 16 Andrew Kelly, 17 Augusto Allori, 18 Fergus Pringle, 19 Simon Cross, 20 Ben Meyer, 21 Phil Godman, 22 Matt Dey.

The Scarlets: 15 Daniel Evans, 14 Darren Daniel, 13 Regan King, 12 Jon Davies, 11 Garan Evans, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Liam Davies, 8 Nathan Thomas, 7 Simon Easterby (c), 6 James Bater, 5 Scott Macleod, 4 Adam Eustace, 3 Bruce Douglas, 2 James Hayter, 1 Phil John.

Replacements: 16 Iestyn Thomas, 17 Daniel George, 18 Vernon Cooper, 19 Gavin Thomas, 20 Gavin Cattle, 21 Nathan Brew, 22 Gavin Evans.

Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)

Touch judges: Neil Paterson (Scotland), John Ferns (Scotland)

Television match official: Andy Ireland (Scotland)

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