RaboDirect Pro12: Kristian Phillips and Aled Thomas help Scarlets see off Zebre
Last Updated: 03/11/12 10:08pm
Scarlets have gone second in the RaboDirect Pro12 table after a 22-13 home win over Zebre.
However, the west Wales region made quite hard work of beating the winless Italian side, debutant wing Kristian Phillips scoring the only try while outside-half Aled Thomas kicked 17 points.
The Scarlets were without all 12 of their Wales squad players, giving former Ospreys duo Phillips and Gareth Owen a chance to start.
And the visitors took the lead on 13 minutes when Daniel Halangahu kicked a penalty after prop Deacon Manu had transgressed at a ruck.
Owen and Italy flanker Filippo Ferrarini were then yellow-carded by referee Dudley Phillips for an off-the-ball scrap before Thomas levelled with a three-pointer on 36 minutes.
Zebre led 6-3 at the interval thanks to another Halangahu penalty but the hosts began to take charge after the break and Zebre lost Tito Tebaldi to the sin-bin.
Thomas kicked a pair of penalties to make it 9-6 but Zebre launched a counter attack after the Scarlets had lost ball in the Italian 22 and centre Matteo Pratichetti dived over for a converted try.
But the Scarlets cut the deficit with a fourth penalty for Thomas and Phillips then sped over in the right corner after Zebre had failed to gather a box kick from replacement scrum-half Aled Davies.
Thomas converted the try and then put over his fifth penalty two minutes from time to take Zebre out of losing bonus point range.