Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Scarlets secure Champions Cup spot

Scarlets fought back from a 10-point deficit at half-time to beat Treviso 17-13 and secure a place in next season's European Champions Cup competition.

Second-half tries from Liam Williams and Steffan Evans helped to complete a remarkable turnaround for the Welsh side as they held on to clinch sixth place ahead of Connacht on a dramatic final day of the regular Guinness PRO12 season.

Treviso, who squandered a 13-3 half-time lead to lose their seventh match in a row, still qualified for European rugby's premier club competition as bottom side Zebre failed to beat Cardiff.

The Italians drew first blood in the 13th minute as hooker Davide Giazzon drove over from an attacking line out. Full-back Jayden Hayward missed the conversion but added a penalty on 20 minutes as Treviso cruised into an 8-0 lead.

Fly-half Rhys Priestland got Scarlets on the board when he kicked a 26th-minute penalty but Wayne Pivac's side fell further behind two minutes later when Hayward intercepted a wayward pass and raced clear to touch down in the corner.

It looked like Scarlets would have to rely on results elsewhere as they went into the interval 13-3 down and they were let off the hook in bizarre fashion shortly after the restart when scrum-half Henry Seniloli celebrated before touching the ball down and was held up over the line by Scott Williams.

Liam Williams gave Scarlets hope on the hour mark when he skipped through the Treviso defence to score underneath the posts and P riestland kicked the straightforward conversion to cut Treviso's lead to three points.

The mood at the Stadio Comunale di Monigo was changing rapidly and Scarlets' comeback was sealed in the 70th minute when Evans dived over in the corner to put his side into the lead for the first time in the match.

Priestland showed impressive concentration to stroke home the touchline conversion and Scarlets survived the final 10 minutes to ensure there was to be no further late drama.

Scarlets and Treviso are joined by PRO12 rivals Munster, Ulster, Leinster, Ospreys and Glasgow in qualifying for next season's Champions Cup.

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.


From Belfast Telegraph