Scarlets ground out a hard fought 20-3 Guinness PRO14 victory over a resilient Dragons outfit in Llanelli.
Two second-half tries from number eight Sione Kalamafoni and replacement outside-half Sam Costelow was enough to get Glenn Delaney’s side over the line.
Dan Jones and Costelow also kicked 10 points between them, while all the Dragons could muster was three points from the boot of Josh Lewis.
The first half was a dour affair but the hosts began brightly with a scintillating break from Steffan Evans, although they were up against a resilient Dragons defence.
Scarlets and Wales second-row Jake Ball, who this week announced his departure back to Australia at the end of the season, was left the field with a knee injury after 16 minutes, while Ryan Elias was also forced to leave the fray early.
Scarlets enjoyed most of the territory and possession but they struggled to break down their hosts, with numerous handling errors undermining their efforts, while Dragons openside flanker Taine Basham was a menace at the breakdown. It was the Dragons who opened the scoring after 13 minutes when Lewis slotted over a penalty after Javan Sebastian was penalised for offside.
The Dragons were full of confidence and sent the Scarlets defence into disarray when Wales squad member Jonah Holmes burst 50 metres upfield after cutting inside Tyler Morgan. He was eventually brought down and the ball was turned over by Scarlets, who cleared their lines.
It took the hosts 29 minutes to get on the scoresheet courtesy of a penalty from Jones after the visitors transgressed at the breakdown.
Kieran Hardy sparked Scarlets just before the break with a quickly-tapped penalty which was put through the hands, stretching the Dragons defence.
But they were unable to get full rewards for their efforts and had to make do with three points from Jones’ boot, meaning the hosts held a slender 6-3 lead at the interval.
Scarlets began the second half with a renewed sense of purpose as they lay siege to Dragons’ try line but repeatedly they were repelled.
The home side finally crossed the whitewash in the 57th minute when a five-metre lineout was taken by replacement second row Tevita Ratuva.
The Fiji international cleverly turned the ball inside for Kalamafoni to charge over from short-range, with Jones adding the extras.
Dragons refused to admit defeat and pierced the Scarlets defence with a powerful break by Jack Dixon into the home side’s 22. However, the attack came to nothing due to an impressive turnover by Ratuva.
Scarlets sealed their win with a terrific individual try from Costelow, who dummied and went 30 metres to score a try which he converted himself.
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