Northampton maintain winning record
Aviva Premiership champions Northampton Saints made it two wins from two in the LV= Cup with a hard-earned 24-7 victory over Scarlets in an error-strewn contest in Llanelli.
England squad members Lee Dickson and Calum Clark came off the bench to cross for second-half tries as the visitors' pack turned the screw in a powerful second-half showing.
A Scarlets side shorn of some 24 players, battled gamely in the opening period with the scores level 7-7 at the break, but the Saints pack took control after the interval.
Following their 37-23 victory against Newcastle Falcons at Franklin's Gardens in round one, the Saints went into the match with confidence and started impressively.
A kick through from home fly-half Steve Shingler was gathered and the Saints countered in style, attacking the blindside with centre Tom Stephenson racing clear before putting flying wing Howard Packman away in the corner after 11 minutes.
Fly-half Will Hooley converted brilliantly from the touchline, but fell short with a long-range penalty effort shortly after.
The Scarlets responded impressively to the setback and after Hooley scuffed a clearance, the home pack surged forward from an attacking line-out before 20-year-old full-back Steffan Evans hit a nice angle to cross after 22 minutes.
Shingler added the extras to level matters with just over a quarter of the match gone.
The Scarlets thought they had claimed their second towards the end of a stop-start half with the lively James Davies making the break to put Shingler under the posts. But referee Tom Foley adjudged an obstruction and the score was chalked off.
Hooley almost put his side early in the second half, but after racing onto a fine pass from half-back partner Joel Hodgson, last-ditch home defence forced the ball from his grasp.
A close-range penalty from man of the match Hooley put his side ahead shortly after, as the Saints started to turn the screw with the elements in their favour.
With the Scarlets pinned inside their own 22, eventually the power of the visitors pack led to replacement scrum-half Dickson, released from England duty this weekend, touching down from a forward rumble.
Hooley converted and the fly-half was soon lining up another as another replacement, Clark, also went over from similar range.
Living off scraps, the home side attempted to attack from deep, but replacement wing Aaron Warren was hauled down just short by a brilliant cover tackle from Packman after the Scarlet flyer had intercepted 70 metres out.