Scarlets in memorable comeback win
PRO14 MATCH REPORT: Angus O’Brien’s late try propelled Scarlets to a comeback Derby Day victory over Ospreys at a windswept Parc y Scarlets.
Toby Booth’s side led for the majority of the match but O’Brien’s late intervention, bolstered by 11 points from flyhalf Dan Jones, helped Glenn Delaney’s side clinch the Welsh bragging rights 16-14 in Llanelli.
Reuben Morgan-Williams scored a brilliant solo try for Ospreys and while Stephen Myler also kicked nine points, they were unable to hold on for a Boxing Day victory.
Ospreys started steadily and were soon on the scoreboard when Myler battled the conditions to slot an early penalty.
Both sides struggled to fully adapt to the heavy gale – but it was Morgan-Williams’ brilliance that marked the contest’s first real moment of class.
The wily scrumhalf, 22, audaciously dummied his way past the Scarlets defence before making a dash for the line to extend Ospreys’ advantage in style.
Jones’ penalty shortly after reduced the deficit to three as an absorbing contest unfolded under the Parc y Scarlets lights.
The intriguing battle continued during the early stages of the second half and evergreen Myler, 36, exchanged early penalties with Jones as both efforts had enough to edge over in the strong Llanelli wind.
The experienced No.10 then took his personal tally to nine but Delaney’s side were not going anywhere, as Jones followed suit to keep the gap at five points heading into the final quarter.
And they hauled themselves into the lead for the first time in the contest when O’Brien surged clear to touch down under the posts.
The Scarlets fullback received a brilliant offload from replacement Blade Thomson and after Jones converted the extras, Delaney’s men held on to draw level on points with Connacht at the business end of Conference B.
Play of the Day
Take a bow, Reuben Morgan-Williams. He may have ended up on the losing side but the precocious No.9 delivered a moment of real quality to open up some early daylight between the teams.
The lively scrumhalf pulled off a delicious dummy before racing clear to touch down with 22 minutes on the clock. O’Brien’s decisive try – set up by Thomson’s expert offload – was brilliant but Morgan-Williams’ score was a genuine festive cracker.
Player of the Match
O’Brien was the late hero for Scarlets but it was No.10 Jones, 24, who admirably navigated the windy conditions to kick 11 points from the tee.
Jones calmly went about his business and despite Myler’s equally impressive efforts for Ospreys, it was the Scarlets fly-half who departed Llanelli on the winning side.
Pens: Myler 3
Con: D Jones
Pens: D Jones 3
Ospreys: 15 Dan Evans, 14 George North, 13 Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler, 12 Scott Williams, 11 Luke Morgan, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Reuben Morgan-Williams, 8 Morgan Morris, 7 Justin Tipuric (captain), 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Rhys Davies, 4 Adam Beard, 3 Tom Botha, 2 Dewi Lake, 1 Gareth Thomas.
Replacements: 16 Ifan Phillips, 17 Rhodri Jones, 18 Ma’afu Fia, 19 Lloyd Ashley, 20 Sam Cross, 21 Rhys Webb, 22 Josh Thomas, 23 Keiran Williams.
Scarlets: 15 Johnny McNicholl, 14 Tom Rogers, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Steff Hughes (captain), 11 Steff Evans, 10 Dan Jones, 9 Kieran Hardy, 8 Uzair Cassiem, 7 Josh Macleod, 6 Ed Kennedy, 5 Morgan Jones, 4 Jake Ball, 3 Javan Sebastian, 2 Ryan Elias, 1 Wyn Jones.
Replacements: 16 Marc Jones, 17 Phil Price, 18 Pieter Scholtz, 19 Tevita Ratuva, 20 Blade Thomson, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Sam Costelow, Tyler Morgan
Referee: Adam Jones (WRU)
Assistant referees: Ben Whitehouse and Aled Evans (both WRU)
TMO: Jon Mason (WRU)