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BONUS POINT EMBRA WHIP LLANELLI AT STRADEY

Scarlets: 12 (7) Edinburgh: 29 (12)



Life is full of surprises.  Your correspondent's 3 year old and 18 month old sons have already developed a fondness for the work of legendary fomer The Grateful Dead frontman, the late Jerry Garcia.  They quite like Woody Guthrie too.  Truly, future careers at NME beckon for the wee tykes.

Another surprise - at least for the many who viewed prospects for this season with some trepidation following the rather spectacular events of last summer - is that Edinburgh have just finished in a very creditable fourth place in the Magnersleague, level on points with third-placed Munster, and a nose in front of Glasgow. 

No matter which side you were on in last summer's civil war, few people, surely, would disagree with the proposition that the SRU's stewardship of the professional game in our country has not been characterised by an excess of astute decisions.  And this young Edinburgh squad is in many respects the creation of Lyn "Yoda" Howells and the Brothers Carruthers. 

Yet it was two HR masterstrokes that saw Andy "Robbo" Robinson recruited as the club's latest head coach and Nic Cartwright brought in as CEO.  Respect is due.  These gentlemen have overseen vastly improved results on the park and a more entrepreneurial, marketing-driven approach off it.  Things are moving in the right direction.  The foundations have been laid for Edinburgh to become a well-supported, winning club at Magners and European levels.  The potential that has been there for many thousands of years may finally start to be realised.

But, pace the locals in west Wales, one thing that was not a surprise tonight was the result at Stradey.  Edinburgh had far too much for the Scarlets as they cruised to a comfortable win in great conditions for running rugby.  Indeed, only the draw in a Newport monsoon in February prevented them from recording a perfect four out of four on their trips to Wales.  Time was when even a scraped victory over Ebbw Vale was considered a triumph.  Nowadays, Embra travel to the Principality with justified confidence.

The final table this year shows once again that if you win your home games and half your away matches, you will be there or thereabouts. The outstanding clubs this term, Leinster and Cardiff, did just that.  Edinburgh's overall away record this year has been won 4, drawn 2, lost 3.  Not far off championship form.  But had they won nine home games rather than only five, they would have pushed Leinster hard for the title.  So the Gunners have the ability on the road to win championships; they must now concentrate on turning "The Castle" into a genuine fortress.

Tonight, Embra weathered the early Scarlet storm before taking control.  Samoan prop Schwalger notched the opener for Llanelli on 15 minutes, converted by Priestley, before one of the stand-outs of this season, Ben Gissing, got the Gunners on the board.  A massive Hugo breakout from deep in the Edinburgh half saw the man with the tan race into Llanelli territory.  Quick ball from the phases allowed Cairns to release Gissing in space for the lock to canter over.  MacRae converted before leaving the field, replaced by the debuting Mark Robertson, son of Greenyards legend Keith.

Just before the break, a trademark Godman zinger found Andy "Turny" Turnbull, who bamboozled his marker to go over for try number two.  12-7 Edinburgh at the half.

Almost immediately after the break, it was the skipper's turn to touch down; Gissing's burst and offload giving Hoggy the space.  Godman converted.

Five minutes later, the bonus point was in the bag.  The pack did the donkey work, before De Luca started and Blair Major finished. Godman added the extras.  With the game over as a contest, the coaching staff made a number of changes to give game time to the likes of Laidlaw and Newlands.

Blair Minor, who replaced Godman after 55 minutes, ended the scoring with a penalty with ten minutes left.  Or maybe it was Greig Laidlaw.  Meanwhile, James notched a consolation try for the Scarlets.

So a pleasing end to what has been a decent season.  With a turmoil-free off season - one hopes - in prospect, next year should see further progress.

SCORERS:

Scarlets:
Priestland 1C, Schwalger 1T, James 1T
Edinburgh: Godman 2C, MacRae 1C, D Blair/Laidlaw 1P, Gissing 1T, Turnbull 1T, Hogg 1T, M Blair 1T

TEAMS:

Llanelli Scarlets:
Daniel Evans; Dafydd James, Nathan Brew, Gavin Evans, Matthew Watkins; Rhys Priestland, Liam Davies; Phil John, Mahonri Schwalger, Deacon Manu, Vernon Cooper, Scott MacLeod, Simon Easterby (capt), Johnathan Edwards, James Bater.

Edinburgh: Hugo; Calum MacRae, Ben Cairns, Nick De Luca, Andrew Turnbull; Phil Godman, Mike Blair; Augusto Allori, Ross Ford, Geoff Cross, Matt Mustchin, Ben Gissing, Allister Hogg (capt), Alan MacDonald, David Callam.
Replacements:
Steve Lawrie for Ford (1), Allan Jacobsen for G. Cross (50), Craig Hamilton for Mustchin (59), Scott Newlands for Callam (66), Greig Laidlaw for M. Blair (55), David Blair for Godman (55), Mark Robertson for MacRae (24).

Referee: Wilkinson (IRFU).