Scarlets v Newport Gwent Dragons Match Report
The Scarlets hit the ground running from the first whistle and exploited Dragons forwards in the defensive line for Steff Evans to race between Rhys Buckley and Pat Howard with just two minutes on the clock to put the home side ahead with Rhys Patchell neatly converting from the touchline.
The early set back acted as a wake up call to the Dragons who went on to dominate territory and possession leading up to their own first score. Strong running from the forwards made the hard yards and with the Scarlets defence on the back foot Hallam Amos raced on to a pass to break through the would be tackles and reach for the line. Nick Macleod matched Patchells efforts with the boot to draw the scores level at 7-7 and a few minutes later put the Dragons ahead after the Scarlets were penalised for holding on at the ruck.
With momentum firmly with the Dragons Adam Warren scored the first of his two tries thanks to a well weighted grubber kick down the left flank from Amos and just three minutes later Warren was in for his second. More attacking intent and hard carries from the pack stationed the Dragons inside the opposition 22m and with the defence sucked in substitute Angus O’Brien lofted a pinpoint pass out to the left wing for Warren to slide in at the corner. Both conversion attempts sailed wide of the posts from the tricky angle but at 7-20 the Dragons were looking well worth their 13-point lead.
Scarlets Full back Liam Williams had other ideas however and when the dragons couldn’t deal with the restart the wales international crossed the line after James Davies was pulled down just short, Patchell converted to narrow the scores to 14-20 to bring an end to an entertaining first half.
Both teams came out for the second half looking to control the game and the Scarlets did well to prevent the Dragons from playing rugby in their half. Patchell slotted a penalty in the 53rd minute for the first points of the second half bringing the Scarlets to just 3 points down and it was ex Dragon Jon Evans who darted down an exposed blind side to race in from the 22m to give the Scarlets the lead on the hour with Patchell once again converting, 24-20.
The Dragons were being starved of possession now and a moment of brilliance from Scott Williams provided an assist for Steff Evans’ 2nd try and a try bonus for the Scarlets, Patchell kept up his faultless display with the boot to extend the Scarlets lead at 31-20.
With the game seemingly put to bed the Dragons once again breathed fire into the game with skipper Lewis Evans ripping the ball from the grasp of opposite captain Ken Owens with the ball falling to Sarel Pretorius. The South African flier scorched through the Scarlets defence leaving Patchell scrambling to score under the posts with 8 minutes remaining, alas the Dragons couldn’t manage winning try having to be content with returning to Rodney Parade with two bonus points in hand.