SCARLETS returned to winning ways with a confidence-boosting six-try triumph over Benetton at Parc y Scarlets.
Flanker Jac Morgan, on his return from a knee injury, produced a stellar man-of-the-match display, crossing for two tries as part of a dominant first-half performance,
Scarlets had the try bonus point in the bag before half-time with half-backs Sam Costelow and Dane Blacker also crossing the whitewash.
Benetton did attempt to fight their way back into the game in the second period, but late tries from Sione Kalamafoni and replacement Paul Asquith sealed a comprehensive triumph.
It was the Italians who were first on the board thanks to a penalty from international fly-half Tommaso Allan, but the Scarlets’ response was swift.
Strong work from a close-range line-out took play up to the Benetton line and it was that man Morgan who found his way to the line for his first try of the match.
With Scarlets dominating possession and territory and with the visitors continuing to fall foul of referee Dan Jones, Scarlets turned the screw as Benetton found themselves down to 13 men following the sin-binning of hooker Tomas Baravelle and prop Tiziano Pasquali.
Fly-half Costelow found a gap to dummy his way through the stretched Benetton defence, but injured an ankle in the process. It was left to Steff Evans to nail the conversion. The injury forced Costelow off the field to be replaced by Dan Jones.
Three minutes later Scarlets were celebrating a third try when a counter attack found Morgan on the left wing. The openside had plenty to do 30 metres out, but powered through and brushed off four Benetton defenders to cross for a stunning solo score.
Scarlets still weren’t finished for the half. A clever kick through from replacement Jones found acres of space, full-back Johnny McNicholl hacked on and it was scrum-half Blacker who pounced for the bonus-point try.
Trailing 26-3 at the interval, Benetton showed plenty of spirit at the start of the second period, having a length-of-the-field try chalked off then crossing for a legitimate score through wing Leonardo Sarto.
Scarlets conjured up a number of further opportunities, but couldn’t add to their lead in the third quarter and had to be content with a Jones penalty to extend their advantage.
Prop Steff Thomas appeared for his PRO14 debut as Scarlets emptied the bench and finally, on 71 minutes, the fifth try arrived. Centre Tyler Morgan turned provider with a scything break and when he was brought down just before the whitewash, Kalamafoni was on hand to crash over.
The visitors hit back straight away with a try from a line-out rumble, but it was the Scarlets who had the final word when slick hands across the back division found Asquith, who put the finishing touch on the victory with a sharp sidestep for try number six.
With only three matches of the Guinness PRO14 season remaining, the win keeps the Scarlets firmly in the hunt for a Champions Cup spot for next season.
Scarlets support new Wish Fund campaign for children and young people
THE Scarlets are working in partnership with their local NHS Charity to support the Wish Fund, a new campaign which will create magical memories for children and young people living with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions and their families.
The Wish Fund will raise funds for NHS Paediatric Palliative Care services in the Hywel Dda University Health Board area. The funding will enable the services to provide activities which are beyond NHS expenditure.
These include fantastic group activities and family day trips, therapeutic play toys to help young patients process what they are experiencing, and wellbeing resources for families and young siblings.
Angharad Davies, Children’s Community Lead Nurse, said: “The Wish Fund will provide us with opportunities to give that little extra to our patients and families.
“It means we can create lasting memories together which will be cherished forever. I can’t tell you how much this means to the children and young people we work with, their families and carers, and the Paediatric Palliative Care team.”
Jonathan Davies, Scarlets Rugby, said: “We are thrilled to be able to support the Wish Fund and look forward to working with Hywel Dda Health Charities to make a real difference to families across mid and west Wales.
“We hope to inspire people across the region to join with us and bring a bit of joy to their lives. We want to help them create some brilliant memories which will last forever.”
The campaign officially launched on May 20 and the charity publicised the partnership at the Scarlets Vs Stormers match on May 21 at Parc y Scarlets.
The Wish Fund campaign will see the NHS charity and the Scarlets working together on an ongoing basis to raise funds for the campaign and raise awareness about the work of the Paediatric Palliative Care team.
Pictured L-R: Jayne Thomas (Clinical Nurse Specialist, Paediatric Palliative Care), Tiara Davies (patient), Gareth Davies, Jonathan Davies, Delton Williams (patient), Anne-Marie Llewellyn (Children’s Community Nurse)
Rob Evans and Steff Hughes leaving Scarlets
SCARLETS has confirmed that Rob Evans and Steff Hughes are amongst the nine players who will be leaving the club at the end of the 2021-22 season.
It has already been announced that Liam Williams has signed for Cardiff Rugby and Angus O’Brien is rejoining the Dragons for next season, while James Davies revealed in April that he is retiring from the game on medical grounds.
As well as Rob and Steff, the Llanelli-based side will also be saying its farewells and thanks to Tyler Morgan, Marc Jones, Tom Phillips and Tomi Lewis after Saturday’s final URC match of the season against DHL Stormers.
Scarlets head coach Dwayne Peel said: “I’d like to thank all these players for everything they have given to the Scarlets jersey.
“Boys like Rob, Steff, Cubby and Liam have played more than a century of games for the club and they will be fondly remembered by everyone here, staff, team-mates and supporters.
“They can be extremely proud of what they have achieved and I am sure they will have great memories of representing the Scarlets over the years.
“Every season players move on and we always respect the decisions that are made. With a reduced playing budget, we have had to cut our squad for next season and that has meant we have had some difficult decisions to make.
“The players have continued to give their full commitment, as they have always done, and I’m sure our supporters will give them the reception they all deserve at our final game against the Stormers on Saturday. I wish them all well for what comes next.”
SCARLETS LEAVERS 2021-22
The Pembrokeshire loose-head came through the Scarlets Academy and after playing for Carmarthen Quins in the Welsh Premiership made his senior debut against Sale Sharks in January 2013. Rob has made 156 Scarlets appearances and scored 13 tries, including one in Glasgow that secured a memorable away semi-final victory in the PRO14. Was a member of the side that lifted the Guinness PRO12 title in 2017 and will be remembered as a larger than life character around the squad during his 10 seasons at Parc y Scarlets. Capped 39 times for Wales,
Liam Williams is bringing to an end his second spell with the Scarlets. The 31-year-old Wales international full-back and British & Irish Lion has played 119 games for the club and has scored 34 tries, one of which set the Scarlets on their way to PRO12 glory in the final in 2017. Liam is joining Cardiff Rugby for next season.
Steff Hughes has made 104 appearances and scored seven tries for the Scarlets since making his debut at centre in an LV=Cup game against Saracens nine years ago. A former Wales U20s captain, the Llanelli product has skippered the Scarlets on numerous occasions, including the memorable European pool win in Bath in 2020. His two tries in a thrilling home clash against Connacht in the same season helped secure Champions Cup qualification once again.
James Davies has retired from rugby on medical grounds after battling concussion issues. ‘Cubby Boi’ made his Scarlets debut in 2013 and went on to make 101 appearances in a Scarlets jersey. Delivered a superb try-scoring display in the PRO12 title-winning triumph over Munster and went on to win 11 caps for Wales. Cubby also represented Wales 7s at the Commonwealth Games and Team GB at the 2016 Olympics.
The experienced hooker joined the Scarlets from Sale in the summer of 2018 after making more than 150 appearances for the Sharks. The 35-year-old played 46 times for the Scarlets over four seasons, scoring four tries.
Angus O’Brien made his Scarlets debut in 2018 and has made 45 appearances, scoring 112 points, including seven tries. The fly-half is returning to play for his home region, the Dragons, ahead of the 2022-23 campaign.
A former Wales U20s Grand Slam-winning captain, Tom has played 30 matches for the Scarlets since making his senior debut in 2015. Suffered a serious knee ligament injury in the opening URC match of the season in Edinburgh.
The Wales international centre has been at the Scarlets for two seasons, making his debut in the Challenge Cup quarter-final defeat in Toulon in 2020. The 26-year-old has made 22 appearances, scoring one try.
A Wales sevens international,Tomi has made two senior appearances for the Scarlets. Returned to action this season after a lengthy absence recovering from knee surgery and has been playing in the Indigo Premiership for Llandovery RFC.
Physiotherapist Carys Moggridge is also leaving the Scarlets to take up a role with the Welsh Rugby Union.
Matchroom Whites win Worthington Cup
MATCHROOM Whites have won the Llanelli Snooker League’s Worthington Cup team final, after a 4-1 victory in the final against Morfa Social
A highlight of the match was another fine Tyler Rees break of 89, although the maximum was on at one point.
Tyler Rees’ winning streak wasn’t over though, as he teamed up with his Matchroom teammate Chris Davies to win the final of the Doubles tournament, defeating Dean Bowen and Mark Sargent; more nice breaks in this one, Rees firing another 68, while Chris Davies added a fine 71.
Meanwhile, more success for the Matchroom came with Matchroom Blacks’ 4-1 Division 2 Olympic Cup final victory at the expense of Reading Room Reds, with Ryan Maides, Adrian Davies, Rhys Morgan and Thomas Williams winning; just Phil Payne offered any winning resistance for the Burry Port side.
Meanwhile, Ammanord Snooker World’s leftie Anthony Krysa is through to the final of this year’s Singles, after a 3-0 victory against Kev Gronow of the Gremlin Club; Krysa made some nice breaks, including a fine 75 knock.
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