Match Page 2017-18 - Scoreboard WP ID: 132

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Preview: Edinburgh Rugby v Scarlets

Max Chesterton 1 Nov 2018
Henry Pyrgos Edinburgh Rugby

Scarlets are unbeaten in their last three Guinness PRO14 fixtures and they face an Edinburgh Rugby side that will be eager to keep Wayne Pivac’s side in check.

Last year’s Guinness PRO14 runners-up face the difficult challenge of facing an Edinburgh side that haven’t lost at home in the league since April.

What’s at stake?

With Leinster enjoying a five-point cushion at the top of Conference B heading into the weekend’s action, Scarlets will be targeting this fixture as a chance to keep pace with the leaders.

Pivac’s men have been in fine form of late in the league despite their two losses in the European Champions Cup against Leicester Tigers and Racing 92.

While Edinburgh will be hoping to bounce back after last weekend’s 34-16 defeat at the hands of Zebre.

A victory would be crucial for Edinburgh as they sit five points behind Ulster Rugby in Conference B.

Team news (Edinburgh Rugby):

With ten players in the Scotland squad that will take on Wales at the Principality Stadium on Saturday, Richard Cockerill has made three changes from the defeat at Zebre.

Scotland internationals Tom Brown and Murray McCallum return to the stating XV as Brown makes his first home start of the season at BT Murrayfield.

While Scotland Sevens squad member Ally Miller will make his Edinburgh debut at openside flanker, as Henry Pyrgos once again captains the side.

Team news (Scarlets):

After receiving his first Scotland call-up Blade Thomson will have the chance to rehearse playing at BT Murrayfield as he starts for Scarlets in the back-row.

Will Boyde will stand in as captain for the first time and Pivac has opted to select centre Kieron Fonotia following a suspension.

Paul Asquith gets the nod in midfield with Steff Hughes having picked up an injury in training.

Elsewhere, Morgan Williams makes his first Guinness PRO14 start as Johnny McNicholl switches to full-back.

Wales squad member Ryan Elias has been released from the national camp and replaces Dafydd Hughes at hooker.

Talking points:

Edinburgh head coach Cockerill said: “It will be a challenge for us, but the only way for young players to get blooded and learn is by playing them.

“We’ve got to work hard with the players we’ve got, roll up our sleeves and prepare as well as we can to try and win on Friday night.

“That’s my job. I don’t think we have to lift the players – the players are motivated to win. We clearly weren’t good enough Zebre, but we’ve worked really hard this week and will leave everything out on the field come Friday night.”

Scarlets head coach Pivac said: “We’d expect a backlash like we did when we went to Leicester. We’d certainly be expecting an improved performance and I would think they’d be better than they were on the weekend.

“Last year we were punished and that’s fresh in the memory. We want to go there and put in a much better performance.

“It’s a game that’s very important for both sides. We both want to be in the play-offs again this year. There’s an eight-point buffer at the moment and we’ll certainly be trying to stretch that out.”

Key battle:

Sam Hidalgo-Clyne will return for the first time to BT Murrayfield since his summer departure and he will come up against his old adversary Henry Pyrgos in the battle at scrum-half.

Hidalgo-Clyne made 107 appearances and scored 470 points for Edinburgh in a seven-year spell in the Scottish capital, and he will face the man brought in to replace him this Friday.

The two Scottish internationals will undoubtedly play a key role in swinging the match, but with the added incentive of Hidalgo-Clyne taking on his old club, it makes the battle all the more intriguing.

Key stat: The Scotsmen have won their last six matches in all tournaments at BT Murrayfield since losing there to Ulster in April.

Did you know? The last six encounters between the two sides have all gone with home field advantage with Scarlets most recent success at BT Murrayfield coming in September 2013.

Edinburgh Rugby: Dougie Fife, Tom Brown, James Johnstone, Chris Dean, Duhan van der Merwe, Simon Hickey, Henry Pyrgos (c), Pierre Schoeman, Ross Ford, Murray McCallum, Jamie Hodgson, Callum Hunter-Hill, Luke Hamilton, Ally Miller, Bill Mata

Replacements: David Cherry, Rory Sutherland, Pietro Ceccarelli, Callum Atkinson, Lewis Wynne, Nathan Fowles, Jason Baggott, Juan Pablo Socino

Scarlets: Johnny McNicholl, Ioan Nicholas, Kieron Fonotia, Paul Asquith, Morgan Williams, Dan Jones, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, Phil Price, Ryan Elias, Werner Kruger, Steve Cummins, David Bulbring, Blade Thomson, Josh Macleod, Will Boyde (c)

Replacements: Dafydd Hughes, Dylan Evans, Simon Gardiner, Tom Price, Ed Kennedy, Kieran Hardy, Clayton Blommetjies, Uzair Cassiem

TV: At BT Murrayfield Stadium, 7.35pm. Live on Premier Sports and eir Sport.

Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (first competition game and third New Zealander to referee a match in the league)

Assistant Referees: Sam Grove-White, David Sutherland

Citing Commissioner: Paul Minto

TMO: Neil Patterson

Historical Lineup Pre Opta (sfms data) - Preview - v2

Match Page 2017-18 - Lineups WP: 135

Match Page 2017-18 - Match Data WP: 140

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Five-try Edinburgh outlast Scarlets

Joe Leavey 2 Nov 2018

Edinburgh Rugby weathered a resilient Scarlets performance to leapfrog their rivals into second place in Conference B with a bonus-point win at BT Murrayfield.

Tom Brown and Bill Mata both grabbed a brace of tries, capping an impressive attacking performance from the Scottish side, but their opponents didn’t make life easy.

Scarlets had the lead after the break with Edinburgh down to 14, but Richard Cockerill’s men held out, and made their rivals pay when they were restored to a full complement.

The home side started the game on the front foot, and when Duhan Van der Merwe saw an early try ruled out when he was adjudged not to have grounded the ball after Callum Hunter-Hill’s chipped kick, the decision only served to spur the home side.

They made pressure tell when Mata burrowed over at the back of a strong driving maul from an Edinburgh lineout inside, with ten minutes not yet played.

But the Welsh side fought back, capitalising on a rare foray into Edinburgh territory when the Scarlets’ forwards showed patience in the centre of the pitch before Kieron Fonotia made up ground, feeding Morgan Williams out wide who evaded tackles to cross.

They weren’t level for long; Edinburgh tallied up the phases, their characteristic recycling of the ball symbolic of their performance, with Brown eventually dotting down after the ball was moved from one side of the pitch to the other when a gap was spotted in the opposite corner.

And they earned themselves breathing space when Brown went over for a second time in less than ten minutes, a powerful scrum on the Scarlets 5m line made up ground, and just when it looked like the forwards would go over, Henry Pyrgos looped a pass out wide to a wide-open Brown.

But Scarlets once again responded on the stroke of half-time, making the most of a lineout deep into Edinburgh territory.

The Welsh side mauled patiently before the ball was eventually recycled back to Dan Jones, who dinked a deft kick through to Paul Asquith, and the sides went into the break with just three points between them.

And Scarlets capitalised on a Simon Hickey sin-bin early in the second period, when Johnny McNicholl crossed after a routine scrum saw the ball fed out wide, with the kiwi finding space in Edinburgh’s depleted line to score.

Again, Edinburgh rallied; Pierre Schoeman profited from attritional ball-carrying to cross and seal Edinburgh’s bonus point and they looked to see things out.

Simon Gardiner’s late yellow card all-but sealed the win for Edinburgh, and they duly added a fifth score to seal things when Mata leapt over a ruck.

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