Scarlets stun Leinster

first_img After strong work from the forwards which took play to the Leinster line, the home side appeared to have butchered an overlap. However, they regrouped well and silky hands from Kiwi centre Regan King put full-back Jordan Williams over. A long-range Gopperth penalty reduced the arrears to two points, then it needed a try-saving tackle from Barclay to deny opposite number Jack Conan, with James Davies claiming a crucial turnover. The outstanding Barclay was then involved at the opposite end of the field, bursting through to set up the Scarlets third try, finished off with an outstretched hand by replacement Rory Pitman. Shingler couldn’t land the conversion and seven points separated the sides going into the final 13 minutes. Replacement Rhys Priestland landed a penalty to put more distance between the sides and Leinster left empty handed after a score by full-back Zane Kirchner was ruled out by the TMO in the final minutes. Press Association Scarlets boosted their European Champions Cup qualification ambitions by seeing off Leinster 23-13 in a rousing Guinness Pro12 clash at Parc y Scarlets. Both sides welcomed back Six Nations squad members with British and Irish Lions prop Cian Healy making his first Leinster start since September, while Wales centre Scott Williams had not pulled on a Scarlets jersey for six weeks. And the Scarlets’ vice-captain came to the fore in a bright start from the home side, which was rewarded with a penalty from fly-half Steve Shingler after 10 minutes. However, Leinster began to grow into the game as the half wore on and on 18 minutes they showed the clinical edge of champions to claim the game’s opening try. After Leinster had set up an attack in the home 22, former NRL star Ben Te’o cut an exquisite angle through the Scarlets midfield before stepping his way to score at the posts. Fly-half Jimmy Gopperth landed the simple conversion. The Wasps-bound number 10 added another three points following more pressure from the visitors, but Scarlets responded strongly and crossed for their first try just before the half-hour mark. Some slick handling by the home backs had Leinster on the back foot and Scotland back-rower John Barclay did well to squeeze in at the corner – although it needed the television match official to confirm the number eight had avoided touch in the process of touching down. Shingler was short with the conversion and it meant Leinster held a slender 10-8 advantage at the interval. However, a well-worked team try from the Scarlets wiped out that advantage 11 minutes after the restart. The home side remain outside of the top six, but are now just three points behind Connacht in the battle to book a place among Europe’s elite. It was a deserved win for the Llanelli-based region, who put a big dent in Leinster’s play-off hopes with just five rounds of action remaining. last_img

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