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Scarlets rally to secure first win of season after beating Cardiff

By PA
Dwayne Peel head coach of the Scarlets during the Semi Finals of the EPCR Challenge Cup, between Scarlets v Glasgow Warriors at Parc y Scarlets on April 29, 2023 in Llanelli, Wales. (Photo by Huw Fairclough/Getty Images)

The Scarlets put their South African woes from the opening two rounds of the BKT United Rugby Championship well and truly behind them as they beat Cardiff 31-25 for their first win of the season at Parc Y Scarlets.

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Not only that, they scored four tries to earn a bonus point and won the bragging rights from a highly entertaining Welsh regional derby against a Cardiff side that had beaten them on their own patch last season.

Wales World Cup scrum-half Gareth Davies, who was leading his home region for the first time in his illustrious career, was the star of the game as he scored one try and made another in a second-half performance from the home side that turned the game on its head.

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Marlie Packer reacts to winning WXV1 and World Player of the Year

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Marlie Packer reacts to winning WXV1 and World Player of the Year

Cardiff drew first blood with a fourth-minute try from scrum-half Ellis Bevan that had its origins in a lovely break from Wales U20 full-back Cameron Winnett. Ellis’s half-back partner Tinus De Beer added the extras.

The hosts hit back quickly when centre Eddie James got Scarlets over the gain-line to allow new second row recruit Alex Craig to power over from short range for a try that Ioan Lloyd improved.

Cardiff held the upper hand physically, with their front-row annihilating the Scarlets scrum to begin with, and referee Adam Jones was forced to show a yellow card to home loosehead Kemsley Mathias for collapsing the scrum.

Cardiff made the most of their numerical advantage when discarded Wales prop Rhys Carre showed his strength to force his way over the line for a try.

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De Beer added the extra two points and the visitors looked in complete control. But then Scarlets managed to find a way to break out of their own half and, completely against the run of play, Johnny McNicholl sliced through to notch his 45th URC try.

Lloyd’s touchline conversion meant it all was all-square at 14-14 at the break. Cardiff’s forward dominance fell away in the second half and that allowed Davies to take centre stage, scoring one and making another for number eight Vaea Fifita with a great blindside break from a scrum.

Theo Cabango’s 70 metre solo effort four minutes from time made it an interesting final few minutes, especially when the home side went down to 14 minute with Teddy Leatherbarrow being sent to the sin-bin for a petulant shoulder charge, but it was Scarlets who earned the bragging rights as they picked up their first win of the season.

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