Scarlets keep top-eight hopes alive
MATCH REPORT: The Scarlets stayed in the hunt for the United Rugby Championship play-offs with a 38-19 bonus-point win over the Dragons at Rodney Parade.
Tries from Sam Lousi, Angus O’Brien (2), Ryan Elias, Rob Evans and Corey Baldwin, along with eight points from the boot of Rhys Patchell, were enough to get Dwayne Peel’s side over the line, gaining revenge for their defeat to the same opponents at Parc y Scarlets last weekend.
Jack Dixon, Jordan Williams, and Adam Warren claimed tries for the hosts, with Sam Davies kicking four points.
The Scarlets opened the scoring with a powerful driving line-out which ended with Lousi scoring a one-handed finish.
Peel’s side was full of confidence and was soon celebrating their second try when full-back O’Brien hit a tremendous angle to run in unopposed from 55 metres, with Patchell adding the extras.
The Dragons tried their best to get back into the game and were given some early hope when Scarlets’ wing Steff Evans got sent to the sin bin for intentionally knocking the ball forward on his 150th appearance.
Wales second-row Will Rowlands left the field with a shoulder injury and the Scarlets took full advantage, with Elias powering over from short range off the back of a well-worked driving line-out.
The hosts finally crossed the whitewash when impressive centre Dixon showed his strength to force his way over the line, with Davies converting to reduce the deficit to 17-7 at the interval.
The Dragons made a bright start to the second half, with an inside pass from Davies allowing Williams to jink in for the try.
The Scarlets had an opportunity to put the game to bed when Elias charged into the 22, but a tremendous tackle from Rio Dyer kept him out.
And the Dragons took the lead for the first time when centre Warren held on to a pass from Davies before ghosting in for the score.
But the Scarlets hit straight back, with former Wales prop Evans forcing his way over the line after a period of sustained pressure.
The visitors put the result beyond doubt when a tremendous pass from Patchell put wing Corey Baldwin over in the right-hand corner, and O’Brien crossed for their final try at the death after being set up by Johnny Williams.
Player of the match
Giant Tongan lock Lousi thwarted the Dragons’ go-forward with his industrious defence, while his offloading game was a real point of difference.
Play of the match
Scarlets’ fullback O’Brien hit a tremendous angle off a Patchell pass to run in unopposed from 55 metres out.
For the Dragons
Tries: Dixon, Williams, Warren
Cons: Davies 2
Tries: Lousi, O’Brien 2, Elias, R Evans, Baldwin
Cons: Patchell 4
Dragons: 15 Jordan Williams, 14 Jared Rosser, 13 Adam Warren, 12 Jack Dixon, 11 Rio Dyer, 10 Sam Davies, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Aaron Wainwright, 7 Ben Fry, 6 Harri Keddie (captain), 5 Will Rowlands, 4 Ben Carter, 3 Leon Brown, 2 Taylor Davies, 1 Aki Seiuli.
Replacements: 16 Elliot Dee, 17 Josh Reynolds, 18 Chris Coleman, 19 Joe Davies, 20 Taine Basham, 21 Rhodri Williams, 22 Josh Lewis, 23 Ioan Davies.
Scarlets: 15 Angus O’Brien, 14 Corey Baldwin, 13 Jonathan Davies (captain), 12 Johnny Williams, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Sione Kalamafoni, 7 Tomas Lezana, 6 Josh Macleod, 5 Jac Price, 4 Sam Lousi, 3 Javan Sebastian, 2 Ryan Elias, 1 Steff Thomas.
Replacements: 16 Daf Hughes, 17 Rob Evans, 18 WillGriff John, 19 Morgan Jones, 20 Aaron Shingler, 21 Kieran Hardy, 22 Tyler Morgan, 23 Ryan Conbeer.
Referee: Sam Grove-White (Scotland)
Assistant referees: Gareth Newman (Wales), Elgan Williams (Wales)
TMO: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)
* Source: @URCOfficial