Match Page 2017-18 - Scoreboard WP ID: 132

Match Page 2017-18 - Last Time WP ID: 133

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Preview: Edinburgh Rugby v Scarlets

Rich Dore 13 Apr 2018
Jaco van der Walt

Neither Edinburgh Rugby or Scarlets can afford to slip up when they meet at BT Murrayfield on Saturday afternoon, as the race towards the Guinness PRO14 Final Series intensifies.

Edinburgh’s fate is still in their own hands, but they will not want a repeat of the 32-20 home defeat they suffered at the hands of Ulster last Friday.

Scarlets, meanwhile, will head to Scotland full of confidence after two tries by Rhys Patchell inspired them to a 26-8 victory over Conference B leaders Glasgow Warriors at Parc y Scarlets in Round 19.

What’s at stake?

Edinburgh go into the game third in Conference A, eight points clear of Ulster, having played a game more and getting back to winning ways will ease nerves after last week’s loss.

However, a second consecutive home defeat would mean their closest rivals for a place in the Guinness PRO14 Final Series would have the chance to apply some real pressure.

Victory for second-place Scarlets would seal their place in the play-offs, while it would also keep alive their chances of earning a home semi-final, as they look to make up a four-point gap between them and Conference leaders Leinster.

Team news (Edinburgh)

Head coach Richard Cockerill has made four changes to the side that lost to Ulster last week, with Cornell du Preez coming in for the injured Fiji international Viliame Mata at No.8.

Jaco van der Walt returns to the starting line-up at fly-half in place of Duncan Weir, while James Johnstone is preferred to Mark Bennett at outside centre.

The other alteration also comes in midfield, with Chris Dean replacing Phil Burleigh at 12, while props Allan Dell and Murray McCallum have been named amongst the replacements.

Team news (Scarlets)

Head coach Wayne Pivac has chosen to rotate his squad ahead of Scarlets’ European Rugby Champions Cup semi-final against Leinster next week.

Centre Ioan Nicholas and lock Steve Cummins are the only players who started last week’s win over Glasgow Warriors to retain their places in what is a young line-up.

Steff Hughes captains the side from inside centre, with Tom Varndell providing experience on the right wing and Wales international Aled Davies is given the nod at scrum-half.

Talking points

Scarlets head coach Wayne Pivac: “We’ve got another big challenge in front of us this week and for us it’s just about staying focused week by week. It’s challenging but exciting and that’s exactly where we wanted to be.
“For us it’s a real test of the squad depth at the moment. Its unchartered waters for us but certainly something we’re not shying away from.

“It was important that we got a result against Glasgow and our focus has been to control what we can control. Now we need to win one of the next two to secure a home quarter.”

Key battle – Sam Hidalgo-Clyne v Aled Davies

Given the youthful look of Scarlets’ line-up, Edinburgh will expect themselves to have an advantage in most areas, but at scrum-half there is set to be an intriguing battle.

Aled Davies is heading towards the end of his time with Scarlets, having agreed to join Ospreys next season, and he’ll be keen to make sure his final campaign in west Wales is extended.

He’ll look to assert as much control as first-choice Gareth Davies, but a lot could depend on the more experienced Edinburgh pack Sam Hidalgo-Clyne will have to work behind.

Key fact: The two teams are tied on 14 wins each from the 29 games they’ve played against each other.

Did you know? Scarlets have not lost four away games in a row in the Championship since the 2014/15 season.

Edinburgh Rugby: Blair Kinghorn, Dougie Fife, James Johnstone, Chris Dean, Duhan van der Merwe, Jaco van der Walt, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, Jordan Lay, Stuart McInally, Simon Berghan, Ben Toolis, Grant Gilchrist, Magnus Bradbury, Jamie Ritchie, Cornell du Preez

Replacements: Neil Cochrane, Allan Dell, Murray McCallum, Lewis Carmichael, Luke Crosbie, Nathan Fowles, Duncan Weir, Mark Bennett

Scarlets: Rhys Jones, Tom Varndell, Ioan Nicholas, Steff Hughes, Ryan Conbeer, Dan Jones, Aled Davies, Dylan Evans, Ryan Elias, Werner Kruger, Steve Cummins, David Bulbring, Lewis Rawlins, Josh Macleod, Will Boyde

Replacements: Taylor Davies, Phil Price, Simon Gardiner, Josh Helps, Shaun Evans, Jonathan Evans, Corey Baldwin, Tom Rogers

TV: Live on Sky Sports, kick-off at 3.15pm

Referee: Stuart Berry (SARU, 11th competition game Assistant referees: David Sutherland, Dunx McClement (SRU) Citing commissioner: John Kirk (SRU) TMO: Charles Samson (SRU)

Guinness PRO14 Final 2018 Ticket Information: Prices start at just €35 at www.ticketmaster.ie with tickets available to suit every experience.
To book hospitality, visit: https://www.pro14rugby.org/hospitality
For Travel packages, visit: https://www.pro14rugby.org/travel-packages
For Fanzone & Dublin 7s, visithttp://www.dublin7sfestival.ie

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

Match Page 2017-18 - Lineups WP: 135

Match Page 2017-18 - Match Data WP: 140

Match Page 2017-18 - Timeline WP:139

Van der Merwe moves Edinburgh a step closer Guinness PRO14 Final Series

Luke Baker 14 Apr 2018

Duhan van der Merwe scored two tries as Edinburgh Rugby took a big step towards qualifying for the Guinness PRO14 Final Series by thrashing a much-changed Scarlets 52-14 at BT Murrayfield.

After losing at home to Ulster last time out, Edinburgh are now nine points ahead of their nearest challengers and victory over Glasgow Warriors in two weeks’ time will seal their play-off place.

Richard Cockerill’s side ran in eight tries in total in what was a ruthless performance that closed the gap between them and Scarlets to just one point in Conference B, meaning a home semi-final is still up for grabs.

Edinburgh flew out of the traps by scoring two tries in the first nine minutes, a slick move from left to right ended with James Johnstone putting in Blair Kinghorn.

Almost straight from the restart, Kinghorn fed the ball to van der Merwe, who escaped the attempted tackle of Tom Varndell before sprinting clear down the left.

A third try for the hosts followed when Jaco van der Walt dummied to get through a gap before sending Sam Hidalgo-Clyne away for a 50-metre dash to the line.

The bonus point was wrapped up inside 24 minutes when Ben Toolis off-loaded to Chris Dean, who timed his pass to give the lively Magnus Bradbury a score he deserved.

Scarlets finally found a response when Varndell made the most of being given space to score in the corner and when Dan Jones was fed by Lewis MacLeod after a good spell of pressure, the gap was down to 26-14 at half-time.

But Edinburgh regained full control of the game after the break and van der Merwe had his second on 46 minutes after a lovely kick ahead by Hidalgo-Clyne bounced kindly for him.

Try number six for the hosts followed when Mark Bennett got away down the right before off-loading to Cornell du Preez, whose pass inside gave Luke Crosbie a simple finish.

There was no let-up in the closing stages, with Duncan Weir seizing on a loose ball and breaking clear before timing his pass to allow Bennett to get in on the act.

And Edinburgh’s half-century was brought up off the final play, when a clever line-out from Neil Cochrane led to Nathan Fowles catching the Scarlets defence unawares to score.

Guinness PRO14 Final 2018 Ticket Information: Prices start at just €35 at www.ticketmaster.ie with tickets available to suit every experience.
To book hospitality, visit: https://www.pro14rugby.org/hospitality
For Travel packages, visit: https://www.pro14rugby.org/travel-packages
For Fanzone & Dublin 7s, visithttp://www.dublin7sfestival.ie

Match Page 2017-18 - Summary WP:137

Match Page 2017-18 - Match Data WP: 140

Match Page 2017-18 - Timeline WP:139

Match Page 2017-18 - Lineups WP: 135

Match Page 2017-18 - Performance WP:138