Edinburgh 31-21 Scarlets: Bill Mata hosts' 'point of difference' - Richard Cockerill

Viliame Mata statistics against Scarlets
Viliame "Bill" Mata produced another sterling performance, beating four defenders

In-form Fijian Viliame "Bill" Mata was the "point of difference" in Edinburgh's win over Scarlets, says head coach Richard Cockerill.

The number eight scored two of the hosts' five tries and provided an assist in Friday's 31-21 triumph.

Mata is the top carrier in the Pro14 and made more runs (24) and metres (84) than any other player at Murrayfield.

"We play in a way that allows him to use his strengths," Cockerill told BBC Scotland.

"He doesn't make many tackles and he doesn't clear many rucks. But, when he carries the ball very well, he's a threat and how we use him with the other back-five forwards really suits him."

Edinburgh, who lost away to Zebre last week, were without 22 players through injury and Scotland duty.

Cockerill revealed that Mata, 27, had been in camp with the Fiji squad Sunday-Wednesday and only returned to club training the day before the match.

"He's a great man and we love him to bits and hope to keep him for a long time," Cockerill said of the 2016 Olympic rugby sevens gold medallist.

"We've needed him because of what's gone on and he's the point of difference in tonight's result."

With so many absentees, Cockerill gave 22-year-old Scotland Sevens player Ally Miller his debut on the open-side flank.

Jamie Hodgson and Callum Hunter-Hill, 20 and 21 respectively, performed well in the second-row.

"I actually felt we didn't play too poorly last week - we just conceded some really soft points for nothing," Cockerill said.

"When you've got lads that are playing as hard and as well as they can, some young lads playing for the first time, they're playing to their capacity, what do you do?

"Do you shout and tell them to do better or do you help them and coach them and try and get the performance out of them again?

"Ally Miller was fantastic, Hodgson and Hunter-Hill did a really good job in that second-row."

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