Evans shines in Scarlets' triumph

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 22:07
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PRO12 REPORT: Steff Evans turned in a dazzling try-scoring performance for Scarlets as they claimed a vital bonus-point 42-7 home win against Zebre to remain fourth.

Wayne Pivac's side claimed a pivotal league win over Glasgow Warriors at Scotstoun last Friday and they clearly sensed the chance to compound their top-four spot with a bonus-point win at home to bottom-place Zebre, kicking to the corner repeatedly early on.

After two near misses, Evans scored the opener with just under 15 minutes gone and though Mattia Bellini's converted try levelled the scores 10 minutes later, Aaron Shingler and Tom Williams both crossed to put the hosts 21-7 up at the break.

Lock Tom Price got the critical bonus-point score on 50 minutes before the hosts' pack earned them an even healthier buffer with a penalty try following huge scrum pressure, before Will Boyd bamboozled the Zebre defence to cross from a lineout.

James Davies showed his breakdown expertise after just 90 seconds with a textbook turnover as Scarlets applied the pressure early doors. A drop from Jones handed Zebre a reprieve before Tom Williams looked to have crossed, only to be pulled back for a Johnny McNicholl knock-on.

The breakthrough came on 13 minutes when Scarlets refused another shot at goal and kicked to the corner. The sustained pressure eventually telling with Evans diving over in the corner and Jones converting from the touchline.

Giulio Bisegni almost mustered a reply for Zebre, capitalising on a failed Scarlets attack to kick ahead with no cover defence in place for Pivac's side, but the ball rolled into touch. Bellini then made good on that promise, racing over from a strong Zebre scrum that came from a Scarlets mix-up in the backfield, with Marcello Violi knocking the conversion over.

That sparked Scarlets into life, turning down another close-range penalty and opting instead to scrum, Shingler picking a plum line from a short pass to cross for their second converted try.

Tadhg Beirne then picked up on a loose Zebre pass, kicking ahead and watching the ball bobble kindly for Williams, sitting up perfectly for the wing to race over before Jones' conversion took them 21-7 ahead at the break.

A thrilling break from Will Boyd threatened to cut Zebre open early in the second period only for the attack to stall following a handling error. Shingler had a hand in Scarlets' all-important bonus-point score, powering towards the line before second row forward Price snaffled a pass to barrel over on 50 minutes.

The hosts then put the game to bed with a penalty try on 63 minutes following huge scrum pressure. Jones converted for a 35-7 lead.

Boyd had been threatening all half and eventually earned some reward for his industrious attacking work, sneaking over after a line-out move for Scarlets' sixth of the evening that Aled Thomas converted.


For Scarlets:
Tries: Evans, Shingler, T Williams, Price, Penalty try, Boyde
Cons: Jones 5, Davies

For Zebre:
Try: Bellini
Con: Violi

Yellow card: Bruno Postiglioni (Zebre, 61)


Scarlets: 15 Johnny McNicholl, 14 Tom Williams, 13 Steff Hughes, 12 Hadleigh Parkes (captain), 11 DTH van der Merwe, 10 Dan Jones, 9 Jonathan Evans, 8 Will Boyde 7 James Davies, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Tadhg Beirne, 4 Tom Price, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Emyr Phillips, 1 Wyn Jones.
Replacements: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Luke Garrett, 18 Nicky Thomas, 19 Tom Phillips, 20 Josh Macleod, 21 Aled Davies, 22 Gareth Owen, 23 Steff Evans.

Zebre: 15 Kurt Baker, 14 Mattia Bellini, 13 Giulio Bisegni, 12 Thomas Boni, 11 Lloyd Greeff, 10 Serafin Bordoli, 9 Marcello Violi, 8 Federico Ruzza, 7 Oliviero Fabiani, 6 Derick Minnie, 5 Gideon Koegelenberg, 4 Joshua Furno, 3 Pietro Ceccarelli, 2 Tommaso D'Apice, 1 Andrea De Marchi (captain).
Replacements: 16 Bruno Postiglioni, 17 Guillermo Roan, 18 Bartholomeus Le Roux, 19 Valerio Bernabo, 20 Dario Zanetti, 21 William Palazzani, 22 Matteo Pratichetti, 23 Dion Berryman.

Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Sean Gallagher (Ireland), Simon Mills (Wales)
TMO: Kevin Beggs (Ireland)


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Fri, 23 March 2018
Crusaders v Bulls 06h35 Christchurch
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Connacht v Edinburgh 19h35 Sportsground
Dragons v Cheetahs 19h35 Rodney Parade
Glasgow Warriors v Zebre 19h35 Scotstoun
Bath v Exeter Chiefs 19h45 Recreation Ground
Sat, 24 March 2018
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Saracens v Harlequins 15h00 London
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Cardiff Blues v Ulster 15h15 Cardiff Arms Park
Munster v Scarlets 17h30 Thomond Park
Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints 17h30 Kingston Park
Ospreys v Leinster 19h35 Liberty Stadium
Jaguares v Lions 19h40 Estadio Jose Amalfitani
Sun, 25 March 2018
Leicester Tigers v Wasps 15h00 Welford Road
Sun, 18 March 2018
Waratahs v Rebels 51 | 27
Sat, 17 March 2018
Jaguares v Reds 7 | 18
Wales v France 14 | 13
Lions v Sunwolves 40 | 38
England v Ireland 15 | 24
Stormers v Blues 37 | 20
Italy v Scotland 27 | 29
Brumbies v Sharks 24 | 17
Highlanders v Crusaders 25 | 17
Fri, 16 March 2018
Cardiff Blues v Treviso 31 | 25
Edinburgh v Munster 12 | 6
Chiefs v Bulls 41 | 28
Sun, 11 March 2018
Wales v Italy 38 | 14
Sat, 10 March 2018
Jaguares v Waratahs 38 | 28
France v England 22 | 16
Pool A
Team P W D L Pts
Glasgow Warriors 16 13 1 2 65
Munster 17 10 0 7 54
Cheetahs 17 9 0 8 47
Cardiff Blues 17 9 0 8 42
Connacht 17 6 0 11 33
Ospreys 16 6 0 10 30
Zebre 16 4 0 12 22
Pool B
Team P W D L Pts
Leinster 17 13 1 3 64
Scarlets 17 12 1 4 61
Edinburgh 17 12 0 5 55
Ulster 16 9 1 6 46
Treviso 17 8 0 9 40
Dragons 17 2 2 13 17
Kings 17 1 0 16 9