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Scarlets slay Dragons

Scarlets beat a lacklustre Newport Gwent Dragons 29-10 to earn a bonus-point Guinness Pro12 victory at the Millennium Stadium and give themselves a golden opportunity of making next season's European Champions Cup.

Scarlets' Wales internationals Scott and Liam Williams were prominent in putting out the Dragons' fire, with both getting tries either side of the break. Captain and hooker Ken Owens got the first Scarlets touchdown and wing Harry Robinson topped a good performance with one of his own.

Fly-half Rhys Priestland booted a penalty and three conversions while the Dragons relied on a well-taken try from centre Tyler Morgan and a solitary penalty and conversion from outside-half Dorian Jones for their points.

But the match was mistake-ridden at the start, with the best moment of the first 35 minutes coming from the Dragons' try which included an amazing pass from centre Jack Dixon, where he fell forwards in a tackle but managed to offload to Morgan to touch down.

The converted score put the Dragons ahead following Priestland's only penalty of the match early on.

The Dragons went further ahead when Jones landed his penalty from 40 metres. But Scarlets eventually found their stride and hammered at the Dragons' door until it opened.

In six minutes either side of the break, the whole nature of the game changed. Scarlets romped over for three tries which took them from 10-3 down to 24-10 ahead.

Owens picked up a pass from the floor by lock Jake Ball to race through some poor defence and go under the posts before a wonderful piece of invention saw Scarlets' two Williams stars combine for a terrific score.

Full-back Liam chipped a ball from his own half over the Dragons' defence, regained it and, when he was tackled, threw a pass off the floor to namesake Scott to go under the posts, giving Priestland another easy conversion.

And, with the Dragons on the rack again, Liam Williams took a ball from the base of a ruck on the opposition line and danced past a tame Dixon tackle to go over.

Scarlets were ruthless and played a good kicking game, forcing their opponents to their 22 and, when they regained possession, out-muscling the Dragons eight through the contact area.

British and Irish Lions number eight Taulupe Faletau was about the best of the Dragons, optimised by a race back to cover and tackle Robinson and prevent a try five metres from his own line.

But there was no denying Robinson as the Newport defence cracked and a long pass from Priestland to the right saw the wing dive in at the corner for the bonus-point touchdown.

It was all Scarlets had to do as the game dwindled back to the error-ridden mess of the opening minutes.

Newport's misery was compiled when Jones dropped the ball as he attempted to cross for a last-minute consolation try.


From Belfast Telegraph