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.
— Scarlets Rugby (@scarlets_rugby) February 24, 2019
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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