What could have been a meaningless midsummer match, at least entertained the crowd with a thrilling finish and plenty of entertaining play to round off a difficult season.

This game may not have mattered in the unloved Rainbow Cup, a case of eight against tenth at the start, but both teams will feel they will have taken something they can use over the summer – while breathing a sigh of relief that this 12 month season is over.

Edinburgh seemed out of it with seven minutes to go, but showed determination and skill to force their way over the line twice in the final four minutes to snatch the draw they deserved from the overall run of play.

There was a scare for Scotland’s summer captain James Ritchie as he limped off with a leg injury in the second half, but coach Richard Cockerill says he should be fine for international duty in the next few weeks.

“It was just a bang on the hip and not too bad. He should be fine for meeting up with Scotland next week and fit for the tour,” said Cockerill, who was pleased with the way his team stuck to their task for the full 80 minutes.

“It was a good effort, I felt the scoreboard flattered the opposition in that first half, but a draw was a fair result in the end.

“We had opportunities to score more tries and maybe we could have or should have taken them, but there were positives going forward and a step forward for those young lads and it was a good base to build on when we come back for pre-season.

“The number of opportunities we created was poles apart from the last few weeks, the team had a positive approach and did it well.”

Players such as full back Kyle Rowe, centre Cameron Hutchison and prop Angus Williams took their chances and Cockerill hopes they will be able to find longer terms slots in the squad.

“We are working at the moment to keep guys like that who have taken their opportunities and they could stay with us for longer,” said Cockerill.

“I thought Cammy Hutchison showed what he can do in the first 50-minutes, and Jack Blain picking a line and having the physicality to score was really good, so a lot of positives. 

“The forward pack, with a lot of young lads, really stood up – and it was good to see Angus Williams make his first start and do a really job in that first 45-50 minutes.”

Edinburgh dominated the early exchanges without reward, though Rowe showed his pace threat, and it was the Scarlets who went ahead when the backs made a series of half break and offloads which allowed scrum half Kieran Hardy to score.

Edinburgh hit back through second row Marshall Sykes getting over from close range after a series of tap penalties on the Scarlets line.

A lapse in concentration let Hardy set off from halfway following a quick tap penalty, full back Rogers have the pace to finish off the score.

So Edinburgh were behind at half-time even though they had had the better of the action. They did pull level in the second half with another series of drives on the line leading to a try for captain James Ritchie.

That followed a yellow card for Scarlets lock Morgan Jones who cleared out Edinburgh flanker Connor Boyle in a ruck. He was fortunate it was only a yellow as many Scottish fans looking on and remembering Zander Fagerson against Wales would have questioned the similarity.

Edinburgh’s feeling they weren’t entirely getting the luck of the draw was made worse when wing Jack Blain was sin-binned for an aerial challenge when he appeared to be competing equally for the ball.

The Scarlets attacked down his wing with back rowers Blade Thomson and Uzair Cassiem combining for the supporting Hardy to benefit once again from an inside pass.

When replacement hooker Daf Hughes went over from a lineout drive to open the gap to 14 points, it seemed Edinburgh would rue all their missed opportunities. Instead they fought back with Blain finishing off a move with a good angle, converted by Nathan Chamberlain to reduce the margin to seven.

Edinburgh then kept the ball in hand and worked their way up the pitch through their wide back, before the forwards again took over with the close range efforts which eventually saw replacement prop Boan Venter get over the line.

That left Chamberlain with a simple kick from in front of the posts to level the score after the time had ticked past 80 minutes. It was no more than Edinburgh deserved over the full period of the match.


Scarlets: Tries – Hardy (2), Rogers, D Hughes. Cons – D Jones (2), Costelow (2).

Edinburgh: Tries – Sykes, Ritchie, Blain, Venter. Cons – Kinghorn (2), Chamberlain (2)

Scarlets: T Rogers (W Homer 66); R Conbeer (J Roberts 58), T Morgan, S Hughes, S Evans; D Jones (S Costelow 52), K Hardy; S Thomas (R Evans 43), R Elias (capt, D Hughes 58), P Scholtz (S Lee 43), J Helps, M Jones (D Drake 58), B Thomson, J Morgan, U Cassiem (I Rees 69).

Edinburgh: K Rowe (N Chamberlain 62); J Blain, J Johnstone, C Hutchison (G Taylor 60), E Sau; B Kinghorn, H Pyrgos (C Shiel 52); P Schoeman (B Venter 62), M Willemse (D Cherry 43), A Williams (S Berghan 43), M Sykes, J Hodgson, J Ritchie (capt, A Miller 52), C Boyle (L Crosbie 48), M Kunavula.

Referee: Frank Murphy (IRFU)