Outside-half Gareth Bowen slotted a last-minute conversion from the sideline to snatch a late late win at Stradey Park.

Edinburgh had led throughout the match, but watched the scoreboard go from 5-13 to 15-13 in the final 10 minutes as the home crowd spurred their heroes home. The Scots were shattered after the match, having done everything but win after last weekend’s memorable victory over London Wasps.

Wales backrower Dafydd Jones scored the last-minute try to set up Bowen’s kick, and the long-term injury victim was happy to come back with a bang.

“We always base our season on the Heineken Cup and this keeps us in it,” he said. “Once you get one loss, it gets very difficult, and it was unfortunate we had to go away to Toulouse in our first match.

“We knew we had to win this one, which put extra pressure on us. We’re not happy with our set-piece today, and we didn’t get a lot of things right, but we ground out a result which keeps us in the competition.”

Scarlets coach Nigel Davies added: “Now we have a massive two games in December (against London Wasps). This win makes all the difference to our season.

“This is what great rugby is all about – testing ourselves against the very best in Europe. It raises the bar for all of us.

“Today, our lineout was poor, and we’ll be working on that, but the result was all-important coming off the heavy defeat to Toulouse.”

Edinburgh coach Todd Blackadder was gracious in defeat.

“Great rugby brings out the best in everyone – especially when it goes right to the wire like that. This is a massive blow to us, but this pool was always going to be an uphill struggle.

“We didn’t come away with nothing – we have a point which may help us in the latter stages of the competition. We were the first team to come here and others are going to find it a tough task.” 

The Scarlets’ reputation as the Welsh standard-bearers in Europe has been looking a little tarnished lately, and the last thing coach Gareth Jenkins needed after last weekend’s seven-try rugby lesson in Toulouse was the loss of his workhorse captain Simon Easterby (broken nose) and inspirational scrum-half Dwayne Peel (ankle).

The Scarlets looked like a team missing its captain and play-maker in the early exchanges yesterday, with Edinburgh spending the first 15 minutes camped in the Scarlets’ quarter.

A missed Chris Paterson goal and Dafydd James’ try-saving tackle on Simon Webster saved the home side’s blushes, but Edinburgh, their confidence boosted by last weekend’s stunning win over former European champions London Wasps, kept their heads and were finally rewarded in the 15th minute.

Lock Scott Murray was driven over from a lineout 15 metres from the Llanelli line and Paterson’s conversion gave the visitors a well-deserved 7-0 lead.

Murray – fresh from a man-of-the-match performance against Wasps – had a field day in the lineouts. His constant thieving of the Scarlets ball prompted the home side to try short lineouts, quick lineouts and complicated lineouts, but all to no avail. Murray rose above everything the Scarlets tried and he will be a crucial member of Frank Hadden’s Scotland side next month as they take on Samoa, Argentina and New Zealand.

The home side eventually gave up kicking for touch, and it paid dividends when No 8 Alix Popham scored after some good work from new Wales squad member Lee Byrne.

Bowen missed the extras, but home fans were more than happy to be only two points in arrears after a poor first-half performance. 

Dafydd Jones made his first appearance of the season as a blood replacement for Jonathan Mills in the opening minute of the second half. Jones’ return was cheered by the Stradey Park fans, but they had little else to make a noise about. Paterson edged the visitors further ahead with a penalty goal from in front, and made it 13-5 with a third goal after some good work from Webster.

But the introduction of Jones and prop Martyn Madden brought the Scarlets back into the match. Bowen kicked a penalty goal from in front, before the home side’s mis-firing lineout finally put a move together.

With time up on the clock, they gathered possession and drove Jones over the try-line. And Bowen’s kick never looked like missing.