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Priestland claims late Scarlets win

Published 11/04/2015

Rhys Priestland was the hero for Scarlets, who beat Zebre 28-26
Rhys Priestland was the hero for Scarlets, who beat Zebre 28-26

Rhys Priestland's last-gasp penalty gave Scarlets a vital 28-26 victory over Zebre in the Guinness Pro12 on Saturday, to keep the Welsh side's top-six hopes alive.

Priestland had missed with a penalty attempt when Zebre were leading 26-25 in the final minute, and just when the Italians were poised to celebrate, the fly-half popped up with his winning strike at the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi.

Both sides had gone into half-time locked at 13 each, though Scarlets eventually secured the win, which came on the back of two Scott Williams tries in the first half and a James Davies effort on 74 minutes.

Tries from George Biagi and Quintin Geldenhuys meant Zebre were keeping pace well with Scarlets, though it was not to be for the bottom-of-the-table side, who fell to their third-straight loss.

Scarlets had put 28 past the same opposition in their win last November and a victory was crucial in maintaining their push up the table, especially after going down 26-15 to Edinburgh last time out.

Zebre started Saturday's game with an early penalty from Luciano Orquera but Steve Shingler quickly responded with a similar effort, and then successfully converted after Williams crossed over on 10 minutes.

Biagi ran in Zebre's first try, and a missed penalty from Shingler meant it was even at half-time, though Williams soon put Scarlets ahead with his second try in what was proving a see-saw second half.

Priestland missed another penalty before the hour mark and there was trouble for the visitors when Quintin Geldenhuys' try helped give Zebre a narrow lead, before Davies steadied the visitors' nerves by crossing over with little over five minutes remaining.

It was set up for a close finish, and so it proved after Gonzalo Garcia struck a penalty for Zebre, with Priestland - whose 79th-minute kick was not good enough - clinching the points two minutes outside of normal time.

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