THE BORDERS 8, LLANELLI SCARLETS 41
The Scarlets got just the boost they needed after last weekend’s home draw with Connacht as they moved back to the top of the Celtic League with this bonus point triumph in Scotland.
Back at the ground where they secured a substantial Heineken Cup victory on their way to next weekend’s European quarter-final showdown with Biarrtiz Olympique, the Welshmen proved too strong for the home side.
Two tries in the opening six minutes from Welsh internationals Garan Evans and Matthew Watkins settled the Scarlets’ nerves and set them on their way to a vital victory.
With six players back on club duty after the RBS Six Nations Championship, the Scarlets’ were back to something like full strength after a difficult seven weeks. Gareth Bowen added a conversion of one of the tries to make it 12-0 in that explosive start, but the home side rallied bravely to cut the deficit to a mere four points by half-time.
Former Scotland and Lions scrum half Gary Armstrong went close to scoring a try and a penalty from Tanner Vili and veteran international lock Doddie Weir gave the Netherdale fans every home of an upset at half-time.
But the Scarelts came back onto the field in clinical mode and proceeded to demolish their hosts with a four try burst without response. Wales centre Mark Taylor crossed for two tries, Tongan wing Salesi Finau powered over for another and Canadian prop Jon Thiel also got in on the act.
Bowen’s boot kept the scoreboard ticking over with three more conversions and a penalty and the Scarlets’ were back on track.
Irish referee Marshall Kilgore was kept busy in the second half as he sent four players to the sin-bin. Home skipper Andy Rennick was first to go, Finau followed after throwing a punch and then Iestyn Thomas and Semo Sititi were sent to the sidelines for their part in a mass brawl.