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Steff Evans inspires Scarlets to victory over Blues

Steff Evans scored one try and created another as Scarlets held on to celebrate an important 15-10 Guinness Pro12 derby victory over Cardiff Blues at Parc y Scarlets.

Scarlets' two tries - one in each half - came from Evans and skipper Scott Williams, with Rhys Patchell providing a penalty and a conversion.

Blues, who claimed a losing bonus point, were indebted to a fine try from centre Willis Halaholo in the second half, converted by Steve Shingler who also kicked an earlier penalty.

The Scarlets welcomed back Wales centre Jonathan Davies but were without fellow international duo Liam Williams and Ken Owens.

For Blues Rhun Williams and Taufa'ao Filise came in as the only changes from their 27-16 win over the Dragons on Boxing Day.

There was plenty of endeavour from both sides in the opening exchanges but all the action happened between the respective 22s before the game came alive after 11 minutes with the only try of the first half.

Patchell dummied to kick but instead went on a run and when the ball was recycled from the breakdown, wing Johnny McNicholl put fellow wing Evans through and he dummied his way over. Patchell missed the conversion.

There was a worry for Scarlets and Wales as prop Samson Lee limped off with a calf injury on 16 minutes.

The Blues showed their attacking intent with runs from full-back Matthew Morgan and centre Rey Lee-Lo but the visitors gave away a penalty in a good attacking position in the Scarlets 22.

The Blues came again through a break from Shingler and scrum-half Lloyd Williams but a knock-on snuffed out their momentum.

Scarlets increased their lead on the half-hour with a Patchell penalty after Sam Warburton had gone in from the side of a ruck right in front of the posts.

But Davies dropped the restart in his 22 and from the resulting scrum Scarlets gave away a penalty which Shingler converted.

Scarlets went close to scoring their second try at the start of the second half when Will Boyde's kick ahead was missed by Alex Cuthbert and Scott Williams was just stopped from going over.

Patchell missed a long-range penalty after 44 minutes but that was soon forgotten as Scarlets scored another excellent try.

Evans went on a 40-metre run and got to the 22-metre line before passing to Davies who sent fellow centre Scott Williams over. Patchell converted to extend the home lead to 12 points.

Blues responded seven minutes later as Halaholo ran in from close to halfway, dummying his way past full-back Aled Thomas. Shingler converted to cut the Blues advantage to just five points.

Thomas missed a 40-metre penalty attempt five minutes from the end and then fluffed a drop-goal attempt.


From Belfast Telegraph