Blackadder left bereft as Scarlets' late surge denies Edinburgh

Llanelli Scarlets 15 Edinburgh 13

Paul Stephens
Monday 31 October 2005 01:00

Once the New Zealander reaches into the deeper recesses of his mind, he will no doubt reflect on how Edinburgh missed the opportunity to establish themselves as genuine contenders for a place in the Heineken Cup quarter-finals for only the second time in their history, and threw away the chance to go top of Pool Six, which they share with Wasps and Toulouse.

In truth, they had only themselves to blame for squandering acres of territory and truck-loads of possession in the first half, when they had the wind and rain at their backs. Phil Godman, who was named man of the match after the Gunners' unexpected defeat of Wasps a week previously, was never on the button with his tactical kicking in the first quarter, and became steadily less assured as the match wore on.

Godman was also at fault as Llanelli won possession from his knock-on as the interval beckoned. The former All Black centre Regan King scooped up the loose ball, Gavin Thomas made more headway and, with a noticeably forward pass, set Lee Byrne on track to pass to Alix Popham, who raced over in the right corner for an unlikely try. Until then the Scarlets had not threatened the Edinburgh line in 41 minutes.

Making light of the illegality, Blackadder said: "These things happen. I was more disappointed in the turnover. But it was typical of us in the first half, when we blew all sorts of stuff. This pool was always going to be an uphill task but if we are going to make ourselves a real threat in Europe, instead of just making up the numbers, we must put game like this away".

From then on, Llanelli rode their luck. With Edinburgh's line-out firing effectively, their only try of the half came from Scott Murray, who was on the end of a driving maul. Chris Paterson's conversion gave the Scots a 7-5 lead at the break. It was poor reward for their domination.

Even so, with Paterson adding two penalties, it looked as if Edinburgh were capable of closing it out, especially as Gareth Bowen opted for a shot at goal in the 45th minute to be sure of a losing bonus point. Inspired by the evergreen John Davies and Inoke Afeaki, though, the home forwards gave it one last lash to drive Dafydd Jones across for a try in the ninth minute of stoppage time. Bowen converted and Blackadder went in search of some solace.

Llanelli Scarlets: Tries Popham, Daffyd Jones; Conversion Bowen; Penalty Bowen. Edinburgh: Try Murray; Conversion Paterson; Penalties Paterson 2.

Llanelli Scarlets: L Byrne; D James, M Watkins, R King, Mark Jones (G Evans, 78); G Bowen, L Davies; P John, M Rees, J Davies (M Madden, 78), Adam Jones (C Wyatt, 53), I Afeaki (capt), J Mills (D Jones, 42-50; 71) G Thomas, A Popham.

Edinburgh: H Southwell; C Paterson (capt), M Di Rollo, P Jorgensen (M Dey, 73), S Webster; P Godman, R Lawson (J Blackwood, 71); A Jacobsen, D Hall, C Smith, A Kellock, S Murray, M Mustchin (A Strokosch, 40), S Taylor, A Hogg.

Referee: T Spreadbury (England).

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