Scarlets break their duck
MATCH REPORT: The Scarlets recorded their first victory of the PRO14 Rainbow Cup with a 22-6 win over the Ospreys in atrocious conditions in Llanelli.
A first-half try from tight-head prop Alex Jeffries along with a 17-point haul from Wales full-back Leigh Halfpenny was enough to get the Scarlets over the line. All Ospreys could muster was six points from the boot of Luke Price.
Price opened the scoring with an early penalty as Ospreys enjoyed the majority of territory during the opening exchanges at the Parc y Scarlets.
Scarlets finally burst into life with a searing break from Blade Thomson, who offloaded to Aaron Shingler with the Wales forward surging into the Ospreys 22.
After going through the phases, Jonathan Davies slid over the line but the try was disallowed after the television match official decided he had lost control of the ball.
Halfpenny kicked his first penalty to level the scores in the 16th minute before Jake Ball, who will be departing Llanelli to return to Australia at the end of the season, received a yellow card soon after.
Following a charge down, Ospreys playmaker Price was slow to rise after diving on the ball and was subsequently smashed by Ball.
At one stage, it looked as though referee Ben Blain might opt for a red card, but after reviewing the television footage it was described as a “reckless dive” with the first point of contact the shoulder.
Scarlets survived and a rare Justin Tipuric error, with the dependable openside spilling a high ball and being caught offside, allowed the hosts to take the lead through Halfpenny’s boot.
The hosts ended the first half strongly as their pack of forwards began to get on top. A powerful break from Davies and a sublime offload sent Jeffries over for a tremendous try.
Halfpenny added the extras to give Glenn Delaney’s side a commanding 16-3 lead at the interval. The hosts began the second half with intent and Halfpenny extended their lead to 16 points with another penalty.
Toby Booth’s side hit back with a powerful driving line-out but had to make do with three points from Price’s boot.
Scarlets began to cough up the penalties and were let off the hook when Ifan Phillips was held up over the try-line.
As the game wore on, the rain came down heavier as Scarlets took control, with their forwards battering Ospreys into submission.
Halfpenny sealed the home side’s victory with a late penalty from 45 metres out on the angle despite replacement forward Uzair Cassiem being sent to the sin-bin for killing the ball in the 79th minute.
Pens: Halfpenny 5
Pens: Price 2
Scarlets: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Tom Rogers, 13 Tyler Morgan, 12 Jonathan Davies, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Angus O’Brien, 9 Kieran Hardy, 8 Blade Thomson, 7 Jac Morgan, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Lewis Rawlins, 4 Jake Ball, 3 Alex Jeffries, 2 Ken Owens (captain), 1 Rob Evans.
Replacements: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Steff Thomas, 18 Werner Kruger, 19 Lewis Rawlins, 20 Uzair Cassiem, 21 Dane Blacker, 22 Paul Asquith, 23 Joe Roberts.
Ospreys: 15 Dan Evans, 14 Cai Evans, 13 Owen Watkin, 12 Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler, 11 Mat Protheroe, 10 Luke Price, 9 Matthew Aubrey, 8 Ethan Roots, 7 Justin Tipuric (captain), 6 Sam Cross, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Adam Beard, 3 Tom Botha, 2 Ifan Phillips, 1 Gareth Thomas.
Replacements: 16 Sam Parry, 17 Nicky Smith, 18 Rhys Henry, 19 Bradley Davies, 20 Rhys Davies, 21 Reuben Morgan-Williams, 22 Joe Hawkins, 23 Luke Morgan.
Referee: Ben Blain
Assistant referees: Ben Whitehouse, Aled Evans
TMO: Ian Davies