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Laidlaw on target to boot Edinburgh to victory

Greig Laidlaw kicked 16 points as Edinburgh recorded their first RaboDirect PRO12 win in 2012 as they held off a tremendous Scarlets fightback to triumph 26-23 at Murrayfield.

Head coach Michael Bradley started ten players who featured in Scotland’s Six Nations campaign as the Gunners looked to put an end to a run of seven straight RaboDirect PRO12 defeats in 2012.

The Scarlets had also recalled some of their Grand Slam heroes with George North and Jonathan Davies both starting in the backline but it was to no avail as Nigel Davies’ men suffered a major blow in their bid for a top four finish.

It was the visitors who made the running early on and when Edinburgh were penalised for going off their feet Rhys Priestland made no mistake from the kicking tee.

That lead lasted barely a minute as Laidlaw kicked his side level and after Tim Visser was called back for a forward pass when he threatened to add to his 12 tries in the RaboDirect PRO12 this season, Laidlaw added another three to put the home side in front.

The returning internationals were making all the difference and it was David Denton, playing at blindside flanker, who got the game’s opening try with a trademark charge, battling his way over the line.

Laidlaw converted but a penalty from Priestland edged the Scarlets back into contention with seven minutes remaining in the first half.

The home side finished the half in complete control and after some concerted pressure in the Scarlets 22, Deacon Manu paid the price for his team’s indiscipline and was sent to the sin bin.

He was joined there soon after by Wales hooker Matthew Rees who received his marching orders for an intentional knock on, and with two members of the front row in the bin, the Scarlets scrum crumpled to concede a penalty try.

Laidlaw’s conversion made it 20-6 at the half, but despite a two-man advantage, Edinburgh could not build on their lead.

In fact once Manu and Rees had returned it was the Scarlets who began to take control and after some good handling in the backs Andy Fenby went over for their first try.

Laidlaw replied with another penalty but the momentum swung the Scarlets’ way when Ross Rennie was sent to the sin bin for a tip tackle.

The visitors took their chance with replacement fly-half Stephen Jones darting through and finding Welsh teammate Davies for the try, Jones’ conversion made it 23-23.

However Edinburgh were not done yet and with eight minutes remaining their pack earned a penalty which Laidlaw slotted to put the home side back in front and they held out for a morale-boosting win ahead of next week's Heineken Cup quarter-final with Toulouse.

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