SCARLETS returned to winning ways with a confidence-boosting six-try triumph over Benetton at Parc y Scarlets.
Flanker Jac Morgan, on his return from a knee injury, produced a stellar man-of-the-match display, crossing for two tries as part of a dominant first-half performance,
Scarlets had the try bonus point in the bag before half-time with half-backs Sam Costelow and Dane Blacker also crossing the whitewash.
Benetton did attempt to fight their way back into the game in the second period, but late tries from Sione Kalamafoni and replacement Paul Asquith sealed a comprehensive triumph.
It was the Italians who were first on the board thanks to a penalty from international fly-half Tommaso Allan, but the Scarlets’ response was swift.
Strong work from a close-range line-out took play up to the Benetton line and it was that man Morgan who found his way to the line for his first try of the match.
With Scarlets dominating possession and territory and with the visitors continuing to fall foul of referee Dan Jones, Scarlets turned the screw as Benetton found themselves down to 13 men following the sin-binning of hooker Tomas Baravelle and prop Tiziano Pasquali.
Fly-half Costelow found a gap to dummy his way through the stretched Benetton defence, but injured an ankle in the process. It was left to Steff Evans to nail the conversion. The injury forced Costelow off the field to be replaced by Dan Jones.
Three minutes later Scarlets were celebrating a third try when a counter attack found Morgan on the left wing. The openside had plenty to do 30 metres out, but powered through and brushed off four Benetton defenders to cross for a stunning solo score.
Scarlets still weren’t finished for the half. A clever kick through from replacement Jones found acres of space, full-back Johnny McNicholl hacked on and it was scrum-half Blacker who pounced for the bonus-point try.
Trailing 26-3 at the interval, Benetton showed plenty of spirit at the start of the second period, having a length-of-the-field try chalked off then crossing for a legitimate score through wing Leonardo Sarto.
Scarlets conjured up a number of further opportunities, but couldn’t add to their lead in the third quarter and had to be content with a Jones penalty to extend their advantage.
Prop Steff Thomas appeared for his PRO14 debut as Scarlets emptied the bench and finally, on 71 minutes, the fifth try arrived. Centre Tyler Morgan turned provider with a scything break and when he was brought down just before the whitewash, Kalamafoni was on hand to crash over.
The visitors hit back straight away with a try from a line-out rumble, but it was the Scarlets who had the final word when slick hands across the back division found Asquith, who put the finishing touch on the victory with a sharp sidestep for try number six.
With only three matches of the Guinness PRO14 season remaining, the win keeps the Scarlets firmly in the hunt for a Champions Cup spot for next season.
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