Scarlets thrash Cardiff
URC REPORT: Liam Williams scored two tries as Scarlets completed a quickfire double over Cardiff with an impressive second half to win 49-14 and make them firm favourites for a Champions Cup spot next season.
After last Saturday’s 20-35 defeat at Parc y Scarlets, Cardiff made an enterprising start to build up a 14-point lead but their opponents’ pack, aided by two yellow cards, then took total control of the match as the home side folded tamely.
Aaron Shingler, Tom Rogers, Jonathan Davies and Dan Davis were also on the try-scoring sheet and there was a penalty try awarded too, with Sam Costelow converting four and Angus O’Brien two.
Theo Cabango and Lloyd Williams scored Cardiff’s tries with Jarrod Evans adding two conversions.
Despite losing captain Josh Turnbull to injury in the warm-up, Cardiff made an impressive start.
Rhys Carre and Matthew Morgan both made penetrative runs to test the visitors’ defence before the ball was spun wide for Cabango to skin Johnny McNicholl and score.
The home side soon added a second when Owen Lane sailed past lock Jac Price to provide Lloyd Williams with an easy run-in.
Evans converted both and missed a penalty attempt before Scarlets suffered a double injury blow when forwards Ryan Elias and Price clashed heads and were forced to leave the field.
Despite this setback, the visitors livened up when Rogers and McNicholl combined dangerously down the right flank and it took an excellent cover tackle from Evans to keep Cardiff’s line intact.
However, Scarlets continued to increase their influence and with the last move of the half Shingler brushed aside a weak tackle from Morgan to score with Costelow’s touchline conversion leaving his side trailing 14-7 at the interval.
Two minutes after the restart, Scarlets drew level when McNicholl ran elusively to send Liam Williams over but almost immediately McNicholl became his side’s third casualty of the afternoon.
The hosts then suffered a big blow when Evans was yellow-carded for a high challenge on Scarlets centre Johnny Williams, with the visitors taking immediate advantage by winning a penalty try award following a dragged down line-out.
As a result, Seb Davies joined Evans in the sin-bin and it therefore came as no surprise when Scarlets scored their bonus-point try with Davis forcing his way over from close range.
Lions prop Wyn Jones was helped off with a leg injury only 15 minutes after coming on as a replacement but his side continued to dominate with Cardiff-bound Williams, Rogers and Davies all strolling through some weak defence to complete the home side’s misery.
Player of the match
Former Wales flank Shingler was at the heart of his pack’s superb second-half performance as they took total control of the match.
This was after his try on the stroke of half-time gave his side a foothold in the pack as they trailed 14-0 at that stage.
Play of the match
Scarlets were second best in the opening 25 minutes and after blowing a couple of chances, they needed a score by half-time.
Shingler achieved it by supporting a line break before brushing aside Morgan’s tackle for the first of his side’s 49 unanswered points.
Tries: Cabango, Lloyd Williams
Cons: Evans 2
Tries: Shingler, Liam Williams 2, Penalty try, Davis, Rogers, J Davies
Cons: Costelow 4, O’Brien 2
Cardiff: 15 Matthew Morgan, 14 Owen Lane, 13 Rey Lee-Lo, 12 Garyn Smith, 11 Theo Cabango, 10 Jarrod Evans, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Josh Turnbull (c), 7 Ellis Jenkins, 6 Shane Lewis-Hughes, 5 Matthew Screech, 4 Seb Davies, 3 Dmitri Arhip, 2 Kirby Myhill, 1 Rhys Carré.
Replacements: 16 Liam Belcher, 17 Corey Domachowski, 18 Will Davies-King, 19 Teddy Williams, 20 Will Boyde, 21 Tomos Williams, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 Aled Summerhill.
Scarlets: 15 Johnny McNicholl, 14 Tom Rogers, 13 Jonathan Davies (c), 12 Johnny Williams, 11 Liam Williams, 10 Sam Costelow, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Sione Kalamafoni, 7 Dan Davis, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Jac Price, 4 Sam Lousi, 3 Javan Sebastian, 2 Ryan Elias, 1 Steff Thomas.
Replacements: 16 Shaun Evans, 17 Wyn Jones, 18 Harri O’Connor, 19 Josh Macleod, 20 Carwyn Tuipulotu, 21 Kieran Hardy, 22 Angus O’Brien, 23 Joe Roberts.
Referee: Adam Jones (Wales)
Assistant referees: Rhys Jones (Wales), Carwyn Williams (Wales)
TMO: Sean Brickell (Wales)
Additional source: @URCOfficial