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Scarlets fightback stuns Dragons in derby thriller

Published 08/10/2016

The Parc y Scarlets staged a thriller
The Parc y Scarlets staged a thriller

Wing Steff Evans crossed twice as Scarlets came back from being 13 points behind to secure a bonus-point victory in the Guinness PRO12 Welsh derby at Parc y Scarlets.

Scarlets, who scored tries from Steff Evans, Liam Williams and Jonathan Evans, recovered from a 20-7 deficit before half-time to beat Newport Gwent Dragons 31-27.

Dragons came out of the match with two bonus points following tries by Hallam Amos, Adam Warren - who crossed twice - and Sarel Pretorius.

After three straight defeats at the start of the campaign, Scarlets have now won three on the trot.

Scarlets included scrum-half Aled Davies and back-rower Morgan Allen who came in for Gareth Davies and John Barclay respectively.

Dragons made six changes from the defeat to Glasgow with full-back Tom Prydie starting for the first time since December 2015.

And those changes seemed to have an impact as they went in with a 20-14 lead at the break.

But the Dragons made a dreadful start to the derby conceding a try inside two minutes when Steff Evans was allowed to run in from his own 10-metre line. Rhys Patchell converted to make it 7-0 in the home side's favour.

Dragons, however, regrouped impressively to score 20 unanswered points in as many minutes, much of their positive play dictated by Amos.

The Welsh international scored one, finishing an attack down the right, and then put through a kick for former Scarlet Warren to latch on to for the second score. In between those two scores Nick Macleod put over a penalty.

Warren was then put over for a second try in the left corner after a beautifully weighted long pass from replacement Angus O'Brien which saw Dragons lead 20-7.

Stunned Scarlets pulled themselves together to hit back with a try three minutes later, beginning with a burst up the right by James Davies before Williams stretched for the line, although there had been a hint of a knock-on earlier in the move.

Patchell's conversion closed the gap to six points.

O'Brien had a penalty shot to increase Dragons' lead but he missed the kickable attempt with the final action of the half.

It took time in the second half for the stuttering Scarlets to eat into the Dragons' lead.

On 54 minutes Patchell kicked a penalty which seemed to propel his side into action and two tries followed in the space of five minutes.

Replacement Jonathan Evans spotted a gap down the blindside to run in for Scarlets' third try which took them back into the lead.

And he was followed over by Steff Evans for his second and Scarlets' fourth after a brilliant break and offload by Scott Williams. Patchell's conversion gave Scarlets a 31-20 lead.

That lead was reduced to only four points eight minutes from the end when the ball was turned over and replacement scrum-half Sarel Pretorius broke free to the line, with O'Brien converting to secure a try bonus point.

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