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Scarlets secure victory as Leigh Halfpenny misses late kicks

Leigh Halfpenny missed two late penalties as Scarlets held on to secure a famous 22-21 victory over Toulon in the Champions Cup at Parc y Scarlets.

Halfpenny kicked seven penalties but crucially was wayward with four other attempts - two in each half.

Scarlets had led from the 11th minute when Rhys Patchell, who supplied 17 points with the boot, kicked a penalty, with man of the match Scott Williams scoring the only try of the match in the first half.

Toulon, who had replacement Florian Fresia sent to the sin bin, had to settle for a losing bonus point as they went down to their second defeat in Pool 3.

Wales centre Jonathan Davies was a late withdrawal from the Scarlets bench after he failed to recover from a hamstring strain. He had missed Scarlets' 31-20 defeat to Toulon last weekend. Wales loosehead prop Rob Evans made his first start of the season with Samson Lee returning at tighthead.

Will Boyde came in at openside for the suspended James Davies, who was given a three-week ban for swearing and using an obscene gesture during last week's match at Stade Felix Mayol.

Scarlets dominated the first half to lead 16-9 at the interval with Halfpenny keeping the French side in touch with three penalties from four attempts.

After defending a dangerous early drive from a line-out it was all Scarlets in the opening quarter as they played a positive offloading brand of rugby.

Scarlets went into a 13-0 lead in the opening 19 minutes with two Patchell penalties sandwiched by a well-worked try.

Centre Williams went over after some fine interplay involving Hadleigh Parkes and the impressive Aaron Shingler. Patchell converted.

Scarlets, who had a strong scrum, did miss two opportunities when wing Steff Evans failed to collect a Patchell cross-kick and when scrum-half Gareth Davies dropped the ball over the line.

Halfpenny, who got back to deny DTH van der Merwe following up a Patchell kick ahead, got Toulon on the board with a 21st-minute penalty.

That was cancelled out by a Patchell penalty which had been earned from a scrum in the shadow of the posts after both sides had been involved in a flare-up of tempers.

Though Scarlets were much the better side in the first 40 minutes Toulon were kept in the contest by Halfpenny penalties on 29 and 40 minutes, although he missed an attempt from the halfway line on 38 minutes.

The second half was all about a Toulon comeback despite Patchell getting the first score after the break when he kicked a 45th-minute penalty.

That score was cancelled out two minutes later by Halfpenny as Toulon started to force the home side into giving away penalties.

Toulon did suffer a setback when Fresia received a yellow card for a neck hold on Shingler.

Halfpenny and Patchell swapped penalties on 64 and 66 minutes respectively before Scarlets found themselves on the back foot in the final 15 minutes.

Halfpenny's seventh penalty took Toulon to within a point of Scarlets with eight minutes remaining.

But the usually accurate Wales full-back missed penalties on 75 and 80 minutes, the second from near halfway, with Pierre Bernard well short with a speculative drop-goal attempt on 77 minutes.


From Belfast Telegraph