RaboDirect Pro12: Scarlets beat leaders Munster
Last Updated: 01/03/14 9:56pm
Gareth Davies: scampered in after breaking down the blindside from a maul
Scarlets held on to earn an 18-13 RaboDirect Pro12 victory over leaders Munster, as the Irish side were denied an unprecedented clean sweep of victories over the four Welsh regions.
Munster's consolation was a losing bonus point which stretched their lead to three points over Leinster.
A try apiece from scrum-half Gareth Davies and flanker John Barclay set the hosts on their way to victory at Parc y Scarlets with Munster's try coming from wing Gerhard van den Heever.
The match saw British & Irish Lions centre Jonathan Davies return for the Scarlets giving him an opportunity to prove his fitness ahead of Wales' clash with England at Twickenham next Sunday.
Davies was back after recovering from a pectoral injury in Wales' defeat to South Africa last November. He partnered former England international Olly Barkley in midfield.
Leaders Munster, who had won all their previous seven games against the four regions, made eight changes from the side that beat the Ospreys last weekend.
Despite having most of the territory and possession in the first period, Scarlets found themselves frustratingly 13-8 behind at the break.
Munster had to soak up attack after attack in the opening quarter but the Scarlets had to settle for a 3-3 scoreline with Barkley and Ian Keatley having swapped penalties in the space of two minutes.
For all their intense pressure Scarlets were eventually rewarded with a try when scrum-half Gareth Davies scampered in after breaking down the blindside from a maul.
But all the hard work from the Welsh region was undone in the space of five minutes before half-time when a dropped pass by Barkley in midfield allowed Van den Heever to run in unopposed.
And on the stroke of half-time, a Scarlets infringement at a ruck allowed Keatley to kick a penalty to give the visitors a five-point cushion going in to the second half.
It all went Scarlets' way straight after the break.
Keatley missed a second minute penalty, while Aled Thomas was on target with his own penalty before Barclay ran in 60 metres after picking off scrum-half Duncan Williams' pass from a line-out.
But for much of the rest of the half the Scarlets were under the cosh especially when Josh Turnbull was sin-binned for a careless use of the boot.
Van den Heever thought he had a second try on 68 minutes but it was disallowed for an earlier knock-on by Williams at a ruck.
RaboDirect PRO12 2013/14 R16
Alan Solomons is looking for his Edinburgh Rugby side to be more clinical when they take on Newport Gwent Dragons.
A brace of tries from Paddy Jackson helped Ulster to a bonus-point 26-13 victory over Scarlets at Ravenhill.
Scarlets head coach Simon Easterby has made three changes to the game with Ulster in their rearranged PRO12 fixture.