Scarlets keep Euro hopes alive
PRO14 SATURDAY WRAP: Scarlets kept alive their hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions Cup with a comprehensive 41-17 bonus-point victory over Benetton in Llanelli.
Two tries from Jac Morgan and scores from Sam Costelow, Dane Blacker, Sione Kalamafoni and Paul Asquith, along with 11 points from the boots of Dan Jones and Steff Evans, got Scarlets over the line.
Leonardo Sarto and Cornelius Els scored Benetton’s tries, with four points coming from Edoardo Padovani.
Benetton opened the scoring through the boot of Tommaso Allan after the Scarlets were penalised for illegally sacking a driving lineout.
But the hosts hit back immediately by applying pressure on the Benetton try-line with a well-worked maul.
With the visiting defence on the back foot, openside flanker Morgan was able to power over from short range.
The Scarlets pack were dominant in the first quarter and they had a try disallowed when Wales hooker Ryan Elias was held up over the line.
#⃣NEWS: @UlsterRugby, the @BlueBullsRugby and @Springboks will be sweating over the extent of @marcell_coetzee‘s injury for the 48 hours#Rugby #Pro14 #WARvULS
— rugby365.com (@rugby365com) February 20, 2021
Benetton were soon down to 14 men when hooker Tomas Baravalle was sent to the sin bin for killing the ball at the breakdown after an accumulation of penalties.
The visitors were then reduced to 13 when tight-head prop Tiziano Pasquali was given a yellow for repeatedly infringing at the scrum.
Costelow made the most of the Scarlets’ two-man advantage when he ghosted past two defenders to score.
The Wales Under-20s outside-half injured himself in the process, meaning wing Evans had to take the conversion.
Scarlets were now rampant, with Morgan claiming their third try after he dummied and squeezed his way past two tackles to score, with Evans again converting.
And the home side secured their try bonus point just before the interval when replacement outside-half Jones dinked a grubber kick behind the Benetton defence.
The ball was flicked ahead by Johnny McNicholl, whose kick fortuitously fell into the arms of Blacker to score. Jones added the extras meaning the hosts led 26-3 at half-time.
Benetton were a lot better in the early stages of the second half and claimed their first try of the game when Sarto stepped inside Evans to score, with Padovani adding the extras.
Glenn Delaney emptied his replacements bench, meaning the hosts lost some of the rhythm they had in the first half.
It took them 25 minutes of the second half to get back on the scoreboard through Jones’ boot. The Scarlets were soon celebrating their fifth try with a Morgan break taking them into the Benetton 22.
Morgan was brought down just short but the ball was recycled, with a well-timed pass from Morgan sending Kalamafoni over.
To their credit, Benetton refused to throw in the towel, with replacement hooker Els touching down from short range before Asquith scored the Scarlets’ sixth try.
Elsewhere, Ospreys secured a hard-earned 10-0 home win over Zebre to strengthen their grip on third place in PRO14 Conference A.
Scarlets 41-17 Benetton
Tries: Morgan 2, Costelow, Blacker, Kalamafoni, Asquith
Cons: S Evans 2, D Jones 2
Pen: D JOnes
Tries: Sarto, Els
Cons: Padovani 2
Scarlets: 15 Johnny McNicholl, 14 Ryan Conbeer, 13 Tyler Morgan, 12 Steff Hughes (captain), 11 Steff Evans, 10 Sam Costelow, 9 Dane Blacker, 8 Sione Kalamafoni, 7 Jac Morgan, 6 Uzair Cassiem, 5 Morgan Jones, 4 Jake Ball, 3 Javan Sebastian, 2 Ryan Elias, 1 Phil Price
Replacements: 16 Marc Jones, 17 Steff Thomas, 18 Pieter Scholtz, 19 Sam Lousi, 20 Ed Kennedy, 21 Will Homer, 22 Dan Jones, 23 Paul Asquith
Benetton: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Angelo Esposito, 13 Joaquin Riera, 12 Luca Morisi, 11 Leonardo Sarto, 10 Tommaso Allan, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage (captain), 8 Riccardo Favretto, 7 Manuel Zuliani, 6 Giovanni Pettinelli, 5 Eli Snyman, 4 Irné Herbst, 3 Tiziano Pasquali, 2 Tomas Baravalle, 1 Thomas Gallo
Replacements: 16 Corniel Els, 17 Nicola Quaglio, 18 Ivan Nemer, 19 Matteo Canali, 20 Alberto Sgarbi, 21 Davide Ruggeri, 22 Callum Braley, 23 Edoardo Padovani
Referee: Dan Jones
Assistant Referees: Ben Whitehouse, Elgan Williams
TMO: Jon Mason
Ospreys 10-0 Zebre
For Zebre: NONE
Ospreys: 15 Dan Evans, 14 Mat Protheroe, 13 Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler, 12 Keiran Williams, 11 Luke Morgan, 10 Josh Thomas, 9 Rhys Webb (captain), 8 Morgan Morris, 7 Sam Cross, 6 Olly Cracknell, 5 Rhys Davies, 4 Lloyd Ashley, 3 Ma’afu Fia, 2 Sam Parry, 1 Gareth Thomas
Replacements: 16 Ifan Phillips, 17 Garyn Phillips, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Will Griffiths, 20 Gareth Evans, 21 Shaun Venter, 22 Joe Hawkins, 23 Keelan Giles
Zebre: 15 Michelangelo Biondelli, 14 Pierre Bruno, 13 Tommaso Boni (captain), 12 Enrico Lucchin, 11 Mattia Bellini, 10 Antonio Rizzi, 9 Nicholas Casilio, 8 Renato Giammarioli, 7 Potu Junior Leavasa, 6 Lorenzo Masselli, 5 Ian Nagle, 4 Mick Kearney, 3 Eduardo Bello, 2 Oliviero Fabiani, 1 Daniele Rimpelli
Replacements: 16 Massimo Ceciliani, 17 Paolo Buonfiglio, 18 Matteo Nocera, 19 Leonard Krumov, 20 Samuel Ortis, 21 Alessandro Fusco, 22 Paolo Pescetto, 23 Jamie Elliott
Referee: Nigel Owens
Assistant Referees: Gwyn Morris, Ben Breakspear
TMO: Wayne Davies