Scarlets too good as Zebre slump to a 12th successive URC defeat
The Scarlets claimed their first away win of the season as they defeated URC opponents Zebre Parma 41-24 at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi. The Welsh side built a victory platform through first-half tries from Corey Baldwin, his fellow wing Ryan Conbeer and full-back Johnny McNicholl.
Lock Sam Lousi added a bonus-point score early in the second period before flanker Tomas Lezana and substitute Carwyn Tuipulotu also crossed, while fly-half Rhys Patchell kicked a penalty and three conversions, and his replacement Sam Costelow added a two-pointer.
Zebre slumped to a 12th successive URC defeat this term, with their only highlights provided by fly-half Carlo Canna, full-back Michelangelo Biondelli and wing Giovanni D’Onofrio claiming tries. Canna landed a penalty and conversion, and Biondelli and Antonio Rizzi kicked two points apiece.
The Scarlets made a bright URC start in perfect conditions, with Conbeer almost squeezing over for a try after centre Joe Roberts’ well-placed kick caused problems for Zebre’s defence. Patchell kicked the visitors into a 15th-minute lead through a short-range penalty, but there was little to choose between the sides following an error-strewn opening quarter.
Italy head coach Kieran Crowley, fresh from masterminding a stunning Guinness Six Nations victory over Wales last weekend, looked on, but Zebre were undone by an opening Scarlets try after 22 minutes. Scrum-half Gareth Davies was the creator, delivering an exquisite inside pass to Baldwin, who rounded his opposite number Simone Gesi with ease and touched down, with Patchell converting.
Canna opened Zebre’s account when he landed a penalty, but the Scarlets stung their hosts by claiming two tries in five minutes before the interval. Conbeer finished well under pressure from Zebre defenders, with Patchell adding a conversion from the touchline, then an attacking Scarlets line-out saw possession moved quickly and McNicholl crossed between the posts.
Patchell again slotted the extras as the Scarlets moved through the gears to secure a 24-3 lead at half-time. Zebre dominated early territory in the second period, with number eight Renato Giammarioli prominent, but they could not make it count.
And from their first notable attack of the half, the Scarlets secured a bonus point after number eight Sione Kalamafoni was tackled just short of the line and Zebre could not prevent a supporting Lousi from crossing.
Zebre at least gave their supporters something to shout about through quality tries in quick succession from Canna and Biondelli, but Lezana’s effort ensured that normal service was soon resumed as the Scarlets eased home during a flurry of second-half scoring.
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