SCARLETS welcomed Benetton Rugby to Parc y Scarlets on Saturday afternoon (Sept 15) in the third round of the Guinness PRO14 and came away with a thrilling 38-29 win.
Bennetton have proved a difficult opposition for the Scarlets on numerous occasions in the past and they came to the Parc ready for a challenge as they looked to keep their 100% record alive.
It was the Scarlets who drew first blood but Benetton kept pushing the Scarlets, going ahead on two occasions and kept the pressure on with Scarlets getting the sixth and final try to ensure the victory with one minute left.
Scarlets got the third round clash, against Benetton Rugby, at Parc y Scarlets underway in thrilling fashion with a try from scrum half Gareth Davies under the posts after just four minutes.
Davies found himself in space and made a break along the far touchline to cross the whitewash for the opening try of the game which was then converted by Leigh Halfpenny.
Bennetton hit back and after winning a penalty they kicked to touch and prop Nicola Quaglio went over to get their first points on the board with Tommaso Allen converting to level the score at 7-7.
Scarlets again pushed forward and this time it was Kieron Fonotia who made an excellent break to cross for the try. Halfpenny’s conversion looked to be going through until a late turn saw the ball bounce off the post.
With only fourteen minutes on the clock Bennetton took the lead as Allan converted Simone Ferrari’s try.
There was then a break in the try-scoring as Bennetton lost possession in the Scarlets’ 22 before the visitors were reduced to 14 men. Irne Herbst was shown a red card after he was seen to lead with his elbow into Samson Lee’s head on inspection by the TMO.
Scarlets looked to make their man-advantage count and from a scrum man of the match Blade Thomson made a storming run before passing to Davies who touched down to put the home side back into the lead. Halfpenny missed the conversion but the Scarlets held a 17-14 lead at half time.
They looked to add to their lead early in the second half but it was the visitors who regained the lead as Hadleigh Parkes knocked the ball on giving the ball to Monti Ioane who kicked ahead before running on to touch the ball down. Allan missed the conversion and Bennetton only led by two points.
Despite being down a man Bennetton continued to cause problems for the Scarlets as a bouncing ball was picked up by Luca Sperandio who crossed for another try which was then converted by Allan for a 24-17 lead.
Bennetton then saw one of their players shown a yellow card and the home side sniffed a chance to get back into the game.
Davies picked the ball out of the scrum before passing to McNicholl who went over in the corner before Halfpenny added the extras to bring them back to within two points at 24-26.
Scarlets were now on top and sub Paul Asquith found Ed Kennedy who went over to put his side into the lead and Halfpenny then added the extras for a 31-26 lead.
With just over ten minutes to go Bennetton hit back once more and were awarded a penalty which Allan scored to bring the visitors back to within two points once again.
The Scarlets kept their composure as they looked to make the game safe and with a minute to go Tom Prydie secured the win as he crossed for another try which Halfpenny then converted to make it 38-29.
It was an excellent win for the Scarlets who now have two wins from their opening three games.
On Saturday (Sept 22), the men in Red are away as they take on Connacht, kick off 5:15pm. They return to the Parc a week later (Sept 29) to take on Southern Kings, kick off 6:30pm.