Edinburgh toughed out their first Guinness PRO12 win of the season with two opportunistic tries, some stifling defence and Duncan Weir’s outstanding boot at BT Murrayfield.
Scarlets’ much-trumpeted backline was dampened by the wind and rain and Weir’s superb kicking game set up the opening try and kept the Welshman corralled for long periods out of the danger areas.
It needed a gargantuan defensive performance after they failed to capitalise on a comfortably lead gained when three calamities befell the West Wales side just before half-time, but any kind of win was hugely welcome after the deflating opening performance in Cardiff last week.
“Getting that first win is really important, it wasn’t pretty but getting a win was all that mattered,” said Weir. “I think we just had to tighten up from last week and we did that, we dug deep and these are good building blocks for Leinster next week.”
Scarlets actually enjoyed far the better of the opening 20 minutes and would have felt aggrieved to have only a Rhys Patchell penalty for their efforts.
Olympic sevens star James Davies made one searing break and the Scarlets loose forwards were sniping for the ball on the ground, but Patchell missed an easy early penalty chance in the swirling wind and rain before he was on target after 12 minutes.
Edinburgh clawed their way into the game on the back of their scrum, winning a series of penalties which allowed Weir to kick them in front with two penalties.
Patchell replied almost immediately to level the scores but the three disasters in the last five minutes of the half undid the Welshmens’ decent play in the conditions.
First John Hardie won a key penalty and from the good territory Weir’s perfectly judged chip eluded the retreating Liam Williams and Mike Allen pounced for the try.
Weir converted from the touchline and referee Andrew Brace’s frustration with the Scarlets’ offending meant Jake Ball saw yellow for a silly take out at a lineout, just after Hardie won a penalty in the shadow of his own posts to quell a threat.
The Scarlets then seemed to be escaping a tricky defensive situation only to suffer a third calamity, Patchell shanking a routine clearance under pressure from WP Nel, the ball ricocheting into the arms of Magnus Bradbury who galloped 30 metres for a gift try and an unlikely 20-6 half-time lead.
But Bradbury’s joy and Edinburgh’s man advantage lasted less than a minute of the second half with the No 8 guilty of a tip tackle on David Bulbring and seeing a yellow card.
Edinburgh survived the ten minutes without damage, but lost the influential Hardie to a head knock just after the No 8 returned to duty, and then Phil Burleigh to another yellow card for diving in to kill the ball, Patchell adding to the punishment with three points.
Weir failed to reply in kind with an ambitious penalty attempt, but he made a telling turnover with Edinburgh on the back foot in their own 22 and continued to send the Scarlets retreating with a number of fine clearance kicks.
The home side defended stoutly against increasingly desperate attempts by the Scarlets and despite not bothering the scorers in the second half they saw out the victory.
Edinburgh: G Bryce; M Allen (S Hidalgo-Clyne 77), S Tofilau (S Rasolea 54), P Burleigh, T Brown; D Weir, N Fowles; R Sutherland (A Dell 64), R Ford (S McInally 58), WP Nel; B Toolis (F McKenzie 71), G Gilchrist; J Ritchie, J Hardie (H Watson 52), M Bradbury.
Scarlets: L Williams; H Parkes, S Williams, Jo Davies, S Evans; R Patchell, A Davies (G Davies 66); W Jones, K Owens, W Kruger (P Edwards 68); J Ball, D Bulbring; A Shingler (J Macleod 71), Ja Davies, J Barclay (L Garrett 78).
Ref: A Brace (IRFU)