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PRO 14    

Halfpenny makes statement with boot

PRO 14    

Halfpenny makes statement with boot on return as Scarlets rout Cheetahs

Leigh Halfpenny contributed 11 points on his return to action as the Scarlets eased to a resounding 43-21 victory over the Cheetahs in Pro14 on Sunday.

The Wales full-back took to the field for the first time in over three months at Parc y Scarlets, having sustained a concussion playing for his country against Australia in November.

Halfpenny had trained with Warren Gatland’s squad during the week in the build-up to Saturday’s Six Nations clash with England, but was not considered for selection as Wales prevailed 21-13 to keep their Grand Slam hopes alive.

And the British and Irish Lion played the full 80 minutes for his club, converting four of the six tries and adding a penalty as the Scarlets closed to within three points of a play-off spot in Conference B.

The Scarlets were rampant in the opening quarter of the game and secured a bonus point by running in four tries inside 20 minutes.

Uzair Cassiem got the hosts off to a flier against his former side before Johnny McNicholl crossed the whitewash, shortly followed by Kieron Fonotia – on the end of Dan Jones’ chip – and Josh Macleod.

Halfpenny converted the latter trio of scores, but the Cheetahs fought their way back into contention late in the half, aided by McNicholl’s sin-bin for a professional foul.

Benhard Janse van Rensburg went over with the Scarlets down to 14 and once McNicholl had returned Rabz Maxwane benefitted from a spectacular backheel flick from flanker Abongile Nonkontwana out on the left wing.

Wyn Jones and Gerhard Olivier traded scores early in the second period before Halfpenny slotted a simple penalty and the hosts rounded off the scoring as McNicholl intercepted and sent Paul Asquith surging over.

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Halfpenny makes statement with boot on return as Scarlets rout Cheetahs