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Scarlets In The Groove

Scarlets coach Gareth Jenkins – the bookies’ favourite to take over as Wales coach when Steve Hansen returns to New Zealand – was impressed by his side’s performance after losing three of their previous four matches.
"After three games away on the trot, it was good to get back to Stradey Park and good to give the crowd something to cheer about," he said. "We scored some good tries out there."
As in Scotland, the bottom-placed Welsh side in the Celtic League this season gets demoted from the Heineken Cup competition, and with the Neath-Swansea Ospreys and Cardiff Blues both finding their feet in recent weeks, the Scarlets were desperate to take five points from this match.
They started superbly, with big winger Salesi Finau – in his first game back from a 21-day suspension for punching – bursting on to Mike Phillips’ inside pass to run 30 metres untouched for the first score of the game after four minutes.
The Scarlets doubled their advantage in the 22nd minute when skipper Matthew Watkins broke clear in the centres before giving fullback Barry Davies a simple 30-metre run to the try-line.
Two minutes later, the home side were in again and a cricket score looked on the cards. The Scarlets broke free from a lineout near Edinburgh’s 22m line and hooker Aled Gravelle jogged over for his side’s third try, with four
unmarked men outside him as the Scottish defence fell apart.
Edinburgh threatened to trouble the scorers on the half-hour mark after a series of phases in the Scarlets’ quarter, but flanker Simon Cross spilled the ball as he entered the backline on an angle. It was a costly miss as
fly-half Gareth Bowen waltzed through the visitors’ pathetic defending inside his own half, drew fullback Hugo Southwell and gave Davies a free run to the line for his second try which earned his side a bonus point.
The Scarlets lost John with a suspected broken leg in the 36th minute, and Edinburgh winger Malcolm Clapperton ended the first-half scoring with a try in the corner as the home defence began to get cocky.
The visitors had to score first in the second spell to have any chance of an unlikely comeback, but it wasn’t to be. A Finau break set up good position
and lock Chris Wyatt powered his way over the line for the Scarlets’ fifth try. Bowen missed the conversion to bring an end to a run of 19 successful kicks at goal.
Edinburgh kept their heads up and nearly responded through Southwell, whose jinking run was ended inches short of the try-line, but the Scarlets simply regained possession and marched back up the field. Watkins found a space in the Scottish midfield and ran in to score a well-deserved try take his side’s score to 40.
A half-century of points looked on when Wyatt crashed over for his second try, but Finau spilled a try-scoring pass and replacement Edinburgh prop Tom McGee scored a consolation try at the other end before referee McHugh
put the Scots out of their misery with the final whistle.

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