Edinburgh 52-14 Scarlets: Richard Cockerill's men ruthlessly dispatch Wayne Pivac's much-changed side
By Michael Cantillon
Last Updated: 14/04/18 6:57pm
Edinburgh put eight tries past Scarlets at Murrayfield on Saturday in a 52-14 win to bring them within touching distance of a PRO14 playoff place and Champions Cup qualification.
The home side's rapid and free-flowing start saw them register tries through Blair Kinghorn, Duhan van der Merwe, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne and Magnus Bradbury inside 26 minutes, before Tom Varndell and Dan Jones replied with two quick tries for the visitors.
The second half saw any faint hope of an unlikely Scarlets revival quelled when Van der Merwe scored early, with Luke Crosbie, Mark Bennett and Nathan Fowles adding further tries to the comprehensive victory.
The only negative to come out of the day for Edinburgh was the knee injury suffered by influential full-back Kinghorn, who limped off and left the stadium in a protective knee brace.
Scarlets, who made 13 changes coming into this game, face Leinster in Dublin in their Champions Cup semi-final next Saturday, live on Sky Sports Action, while Edinburgh are next in action in two weeks' time against Glasgow.
Edinburgh hit the front as early as the seventh minute, though they may count themselves lucky after a remarkable piece of refereeing from South African Stuart Berry saw Kinghorn's effort failed to be referred to the TMO.
It appeared on first viewing that James Johnstone's pass out to Kinghorn directly before the full-back touched down had gone forward, but referee Berry was happy and Hidalgo-Clyne took a drop-goal conversion before any extended stadium replays.
A minute later and Edinburgh were over for their second try through Van der Merwe when he handed off the attentions of Varndell out wide, and seared past the tackle of Dan Jones to score in the corner.
On 19 minutes, Edinburgh had their third try which came through Hidalgo-Clyne following a counter attack off turnover ball - Bradbury with the ball retrieval, fly-half Jaco van der Walt with the break and pass.
Edinburgh racked up a first-half try bonus-point after just 24 minutes after more pressure in the Scarlets' 22 when Bradbury touched down in the corner following a sumptuous Ben Toolis offload and weaving play by centre Chris Dean.
Scarlets responded with their first points of the day four minutes later through winger Varndell's first for the club, and 175th in his career, before Dan Jones scored another try for the visitors five minutes later to bring the score back to 26-14.
After Jones missed touch with a penalty in dead time at the end of the first half, it was Edinburgh who would crucially score next at the beginning of the second.
Six minutes after half-time, Hidalgo-Clyne dummied a box kick and broke off a scrum in midfield in a classy bit of play before putting boot to ball with a deft kick which fell perfectly for Van der Merwe to collect and score his second.
Luke Crosbie crossed for Edinburgh's sixth try in the 58th minute when replacement Mark Bennett made a sensational break between Ioan Nicholas and Varndell, found Cornell du Preeez with a brilliant pull back pass, and the No 8 had the option of Crosbie on his inside to finish easily. Hidalgo-Clyne's conversion brought up 40 points.
Into the final five minutes, Edinburgh added further gloss to the scoreline when Duncan Weir picked up an intercept and fed Bennett to dive over.
And in the final play of the match, Edinburgh breached the half century mark when a cute lineout move saw replacement scrum-half Fowles explode onto an accurate Neil Cochrane throw, rounding off an exceptional team display by Richard Cockerill's men.