Scarlets thump Zebre for first win of the season
URC REPORT: Scarlets claimed their first win of the United Rugby Championship season after a 36-12 home success over Zebre Parma.
Dwayne Peel’s side scored five tries in total courtesy of Sam Costelow (two), Sam Lousi, Jonathan Davies, and Ryan Conbeer while Leigh Halfpenny contributed 11 points from the kicking tee. MJ Pelser and Lorenzo Pani touched down for Zebre, with Geronimo Prisciantelli kicking two points.
The hosts made a strong start with a well-timed miss pass from Scott Williams finding Lousi on the touchline and he offloaded to Costelow for the opening try.
Zebre replied by putting the Scarlets under pressure with their driving line-out and, after a period of pressure, Pelser powered over from short range.
Scarlets had a try disallowed after Kieran Hardy spilled the ball forward with the tryline at his mercy. But they did not have to wait long to celebrate their second try as they stretched Zebre with some nice handling down the touchline before Lousi showed his strength to score.
Halfpenny added the extras, and Zebre were soon down to 14 men after prop Luca Rizzoli was sent to the sin bin for a high tackle.
Scarlets led 21-5 at half-time after Davies powered his way over from short range for their third try, with Halfpenny slotting over the conversion.
The home side had the bonus point in the bag within three minutes of the second half as Costelow glided past three defenders to score.
Despite being in control, things got tricky for Scarlets when Lousi was red carded following a direct shoulder to the head of a Zebre player.
The visitors took advantage immediately when fullback Pani slid over.
Hardy had another try disallowed for Scarlets due to Sione Kalamafoni picking the ball up in an offside position from the ruck.
But the hosts were fairly comfortable despite being at a numerical disadvantage, with Halfpenny slotting over a simple three points from a penalty.
And Scarlets put the result beyond doubt with a perfectly timed grubber kick from Davies gathered by Conbeer who touched down to score.
Player of the Match
Sione Kalamafoni. Scarlets’ No.8 was totemic, making 15 carries and 11 tackles to put the home side on the front foot.
Play of the Match
A lovely grubber kick from experienced Wales centre Jonathan Davies put Ryan Conbeer over for the decisive try.
Tries: Costelow 2, Lousi, Davies, Conbeer
Cons: Halfpenny 4
Tries: Pelser, Pani
Red card: Sam Lousi (Scarlets, 51′ – foul play, shoulder to the head)
Yellow card: Luca Rizzoli (Zebre, 36′ foul play, high tackle)
Scarlets: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Jonathan Davies (captain), 12 Scott Williams, 11 Ryan Conbeer, 10 Sam Costelow, 9 Kieran Hardy, 8 Sione Kalamafoni, 7 Josh Macleod, 6 Sam Lousi, 5 Tom Price, 4 Jac Price, 3 Harri O’Connor, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Wyn Jones.
Replacements: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Steff Thomas, 18 Javan Sebastian, 19 Morgan Jones, 20 Shaun Evans, 21 Dane Blacker, 22 Rhys Patchell, 23 Steff Evans.
Zebre: 15 Richard Kriel, 14 Pierre Bruno, 13 Franco Smith Jr, 12 Tommaso Boni, 11 Lorenzo Pani, 10 Geronimo Prisciantelli, 9 Chris Cook, 8 Davide Ruggeri, 7 MJ Pelser, 6 Iacopo Bianchi, 5 Leonard Krumov, 4 David Sisi (captain), 3 Matteo Nocera, 2 Marco Manfredi, 1 Luca Rizzoli.
Replacements: 16 Jacques Du Toit, 17 Alessio Sanavia, 18 Muhamed Hasa, 19 Andrea Zambonin, 20 Guido Volpi, 21 Nicolò Casilio, 22 Joey Caputo, 23 Latu Latunipulu.
Referee: Morne Ferreira (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Ian Davies (Wales), Tom Spurrier (Wales)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)