Llanelli Scarlets 53, Border Reivers, 11 An ideal start to tonight’s game at Stradey Park would have been a Borderer crossing the line for the opening try, and that is exactly what happened, except it was former Reiver Scott MacLeod who has become something of a hero in Llanelli after setting up Barry Davies’ winning try in last week’s Heineken Cup quarter-final clash against reigning European champions Munster.Llanelli Scarlets 53, Border Reivers, 11
An ideal start to tonight’s game at Stradey Park would have been a Borderer crossing the line for the opening try, and that is exactly what happened, except it was former Reiver Scott MacLeod who has become something of a hero in Llanelli after setting up Barry Davies’ winning try in last week’s Heineken Cup quarter-final clash against reigning European champions Munster.
Three minutes after MacLeod’s opener, the Reivers were awarded a penalty on the half-way line which stand-off Steve Jones tapped quickly. Following a long pass out wide to Garry Law, the Reivers lost possession and the Scarlets mounted a counter-attack up the left flank but Dougie Flockhart bundled the attacker into touch.
During a tense period of the game, the Reivers clawed three points back with a Jones penalty before they were penalised for taking too long to execute a lineout.
The Reivers’ first-up tackles began to really let them down as the Scarlets regularly broke the gain line, this time resulting in Matthew Rees notching his first try in his Scarlets career.
In the 22nd minute, the Reivers were awarded a penalty on the Scarlets’ 22 meter line which Chris Cusiter took quickly bringing the visitors within five yards of the whitewash.
After four phases of play, the visitors were gifted another penalty which Jones took full advantage of.
However, as the first half wore on, the Scarlets got into their stride and began to manipulate every slight gap in the Reivers’ defensive line as Dafydd James and Matthew Rees crossed the line before the break.
Half-time score: Llanelli Scarlets 26, Border Reivers 6
The Scarlets started the second half exactly where they finished the first, on the front foot.
As the home side continued to slice through the Reivers back-line, the third pick-and-go in the left corner saw Jones seal another five points before Mark Jones followed suit only moments later..
The Reivers did their best to try and compete against a now rampant Llanelli side as John Dalziel finished a very controlled forwards drive over the line.
But it was the European semi-finalists that had the last word as Barry Davies, Liam Davies and Ken Owens all crossed in the final quarter to seal a convincing home win for the Scarlets.
Llanelli Scarlets: Barry Davies; Dafydd James, Matthew Watkins, Gavin Evans, Mark Jones; Stephen Jones, Dwayne Peel; Phil John, Matthew Rees, John Davies, Adam Jones, Scott MacLeod, Simon Easterby CAPTAIN, James Bater, Dafydd Jones
Substitutes: Alix Popham for Easterby (54 mins), Deacon Manu for Rees and Ken Owens for Davies (both 56 mins), Liam Davies for Peel (59 mins), Ceiron Thomas for S. Jones and Regan King for Evans (both 65 mins), Inoke Afeaki for MacLeod (66 mins)
Border Reivers: Stuart Moffat; Dougie Flockhart, Ben MacDougall, Bryan Rennie, Garry Law; Steve Jones, Chris Cusiter CAPTAIN; Gavin Kerr, Ross Ford, Bruce Douglas, John Dalziel, Opeta Palepoi, Scott Newlands, Andy Miller, Kelly Brown
Substitutes: Richie Vernon for Newlands and Nick De Luca for Rennie (both 45 mins), Ed Kalman for Douglas, Craig Hamilton for Palepoi and Rob Chrystie for Cusiter (all 59 mins), Steve Scott for Ford and Gregor Townsend for MacDougall (both 68 mins)
Referee: Donal Courtney (IRFU)