Scarlets dominate in Treviso
Bonus point win sees Welsh outfit to top of Pool Five
By Simon Dilger. Last Updated: 18/12/10 5:59pm
Scarlets: Bonus point victory
Scarlets took control at the top of Pool Five with a comfortable 38-15 Heineken Cup victory over Treviso on Saturday.
Tries from Dominic Day, Daniel Newton, Gareth Maule and Johnny Fa'amatuainu ensured the Welsh outfit of a crucial bonus point at the Stadio Comunale di Monigo.
The visitors created opportunities from all areas as they continuously looked to spread the ball wide throughout the clash.
In contrast, Treviso lacked inventiveness and, despite dominating possession for a large part of the second half seemed short on ideas in attack.
Credit however must go to the Italians' pack who did some good work up front, and it was from their solid and well-organised forwards play that their tries came when they did.
Treviso put the visitors under immediate pressure when they moved up quickly from the kick-off to push Scarlets back into their own 22.
Disaster almost struck inside the first minute for the Welsh when Priestland saw his clearance kick charged down on his try line.
The ball came back to the hosts and when Scarlets were penalised for not rolling away De Waal stepped up to slot three points for the Italian champions.
Priestland made amends on 10 minutes though, levelling the scores with a fine penalty from 35 metres out after centre Alberto Sgarbi was pinged for intercepting from an offside position.
And seven minutes later the 23-year-old fly-half made it two from two to put his side 6-3 up with a straightforward effort when Trevioso infringed almost in front of their posts.
Scarlets began to turn the screws on their hosts as the game entered the second quarter and proceeded to camp themselves firmly in Italian territory.
And on 28 minutes the pressure paid off when lock Day grabbed a quickly recycled ball and dived over from close range. Priestland added the extras to make it 13-3.
Two-and-a-half minutes before the break the Welshmen stretched their lead to 15 points when a well-worked move saw Newton cross for his second try of the season.
Winger Morgan Stoddart made good ground up the middle before delivering a neat offload to the supporting Newton, who accelerated away to the line.
Priestland saw his kick drift wide to leave the scores on 18-3 and a seemingly safe buffer at the end of the first half.
But, with the clock reading 40 minutes and the ball still in play, Treviso hit right back to score a vital try, brilliantly engineered by the Italian forwards.
The Treviso pack shoved the Scarlets' big men a full 25 metres back before flanker Robert Barbieri spotted a hole and peeled of the back of the rolling maul to dive in for the try.
De Waal struck the all-important conversion to keep his side's hopes alive and take the hosts into the interval trailing by 18-10.
Scarlets extended their lead by three points five minutes after the restart, courtesy of Priestland's boot, when Treviso were penalised in front of their posts.
But on 53 minutes the Treviso pack struck again in almost identical fashion to their first try to put the Italians right back in it.
After opting for a second line-out when Vernon Cooper was yellow-carded, the Italian pack drove up towards the visitors' line, this time replacement Fabio Semenzato nipping round the side of the maul to touch down.
De Waal hooked his kick to the right of the posts to leave the scores on 15-21 but just six minutes later they were back to square one.
Scarlets' third try came following an attacking scrum five yards out from the Treviso line that saw Morgan pick up at the back and surge forward.
The quickly recycled ball found its way into the hands of Maule, who was brought down just short and needed every inch of his six foot frame to stretch out and touch down.
The television official confirmed the five points before Priestland added the extras to make it 28-15 and restore the visitors' 13 point buffer.
With less than 10 minutes to go he added three more from a simple penalty from right under the sticks to take the score to 31-15.
Scarlets went close again on 74 minutes but the referee was perfectly placed to see that Morgan had been held up thanks to some fantastic defence from replacement Brendan Williams.
Two minutes later though they got their crucial fourth try, as Johnny Fa'amatuainu blasted through four tackles to secure the bonus point.
Priestland converted to make it 38-15 to close out the game and end what had been a solid kicking display for the Welsh club.