Scarlets too good for rivals Cardiff Blues
PRO14 REPORT: Scarlets extended their unbeaten home run in the Pro14 with a 30-17 bonus point victory over Cardiff Blues at Parc y Scarlets on Saturday.
The Conference B leaders have won every league game at home since the opening weekend of last season but they were made to work hard for their derby victory.
First-half tries from Hadleigh Parkes and Ryan Elias were cancelled out by scores from Willis Halaholo and Lloyd Williams, on his 150th appearance for the Blues.
But Scarlets’ tries from Jonathan Evans and Steff Evans in the final 20 minutes of the match gave them a hard-fought bonus point victory.
Leigh Halfpenny and Jarrod Evans exchanged early penalties before Hadleigh Parkes waltzed through the Blues defence to score the opening try of the match.
Halfpenny extended the home side's lead with a second penalty before the visitors saw No.8 Nick Williams sent to the sin bin for ten minutes.
Scott Williams thought he had added to the Scarlets lead on the half hour but after consultation with the TMO referee Stuart Berry adjudged the centre to have knocked on.
The Scarets weren't to be denied though, referee Berry went back to the penalty which was kicked to the corner and the home side drove over with hooker Ryan Elias touching down.
Fullback Halfpenny nailed the conversion from the touchline to give the Scarlets an 18-3 lead at the break at Parc y Scarlets.
Cardiff Blues were back into the match thanks to a brilliant step from centre Willis Halaholo which allowed him a comfortable 20 metre run-in with Shingler adding the extras.
And it was a one-point game when winger Johnny McNicholl coughed up possession as he collected a grubber kick on his own line and Lloyd Williams grabbed an opportunistic score.
The Scarlets responded immediately through the excellent Steff Evans, the wing had time and space to slot a clever kick through and replacement Jonathan Evans dived on the loose ball.
And Steff Evans had the home side's bonus point try with 70 minutes played as he benefited from some lovely Scarlets' hands to score his fourth try of the campaign.
Rhys Patchell added the conversion and secure Scarlets' sixth win of the campaign and keep them at the top of Conference B after Leinster’s victory over Ulster had temporarily dethroned them.
Tries: Parkes, Elias, Evans, Evans
Cons: Halfpenny, Patchell
Pens: Halfpenny 2
For Cardiff Blues:
Tries: Halaholo, Williams
Cons: Shingler 2
Scarlets: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Hadleigh Parkes, 12 Scott Williams (captain), 11 Steff Evans, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Tadhg Beirne, 7 Will Boyde, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Lewis Rawlins, 4 Jake Ball, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Ryan Elias, 1 Wyn Jones.
Replacements: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Dylan Evans, 18 Simon Gardiner, 19 David Bulbring, 20 Josh Macleod, 21 Paul Asquith, 22 Jonathan Davies.
Cardiff Blues: 15 Matthew Morgan, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Rey Lee-Lo, 12 Willis Halaholo, 11 Blaine Scully, 10 Jarrod Evans, 9 Tomos Williams, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Olly Robinson, 6 Josh Navidi, 5 James Down, 4 Seb Davies, 3 Dillon Lewis, 2 Kristian Dacey (captain), 1 Brad Thyer.
Replacements: 16 Matthew Rees, 17 Corey Domachowski, 18 Keiron Assiratti, 19 Macauley Cook, 20 Josh Turnbull, 21 Lloyd Williams, 22 Steve Shingler, 23 Rhun Williams.
Referee: Stuart Berry
Assistant Referees: Rhys Thomas, Jon Hardy
TMO: Neil Hennessey