RaboDirect Pro12: Scarlets beat bottom club Zebre 27-20 at Parc y Scarlets
Last Updated: 12/04/14 8:59pm
Rhys Priestland kicked 17 points as Scarlets recovered from a dreadful first half to see off bottom club Zebre in their RaboDirect Pro12 clash at Parc y Scarlets.
The sixth-placed Welsh region were forced to come back from 13-9 at half-time to win 27-20 and open up a 10-point gap between themselves and Edinburgh in seventh place.
Priestland's kicking proved the difference, while the hosts' two tries came from hooker Ken Owens and wing Jordan Williams.
Though Priestland put the home side into a 6-0 lead after nine minutes with two 40-metre penalties, Simon Easterby's side were culpable when it came to holding on to possession.
And Zebre made the most of a poor 40 minutes from the Scarlets by scoring two tries on 27 and 33 minutes after centre Gonzalo Garcia had been on target with one of two penalty attempts.
First big number eight Samuela Vunisa dived over in the right corner after bursting off the back of a five-metre scrum.
It was Vunisa who then set up Zebre's second try with a perceptive kick ahead which wing Guilo Toniolatti latched onto as the bottom club went into a 13-6 advantage.
Priestland grabbed a penalty back but there was more bad news for Scarlets when Sione Timani was sin-binned for an elbow in the face of Toniolatti, who was forced off injured on 38 minutes.
To add insult to injury, Zebre had two claims of tries in the right corner but both were ruled out after TV replays.
But straight after the interval 14-man Scarlets produced a try out of the top drawer to regain the lead. It was started and finished by Jordan Williams, with Liam Williams linking effectively in the 80-metre move down the left. Priestland converted as the home side led 16-13 after 43 minutes.
After some efficient pick and go by the forwards, Scarlets made good ground before replacement hooker Owens went over for the second try nine minutes later as they led 21-13.
Although he missed the conversion, Priestland did kick another penalty on 58 minutes to extend the lead to 11 points just before Zebre had a try disallowed for a forward pass.
But Zebre put that behind them to score their third try when Garcia scampered over under the posts.
Luciano Orquera converted to make it 24-22 on 66 minutes but Priestland's fifth penalty 11 minutes from time saw the home side close out the win.
Fri 24th Apr
Edinburgh37 - 0Zebre
Ulster26 - 10Leinster
Sat 25th Apr
Connacht13 - 31Glasgow Warriors
Cardiff Blues23 - 31Ospreys
Munster30 - 19Treviso
Dragons10 - 29Scarlets
Fri 8th May
Dragons0 - 0Edinburgh
Leinster0 - 0Treviso
Ospreys0 - 0Glasgow Warriors
Sat 9th May
Ulster0 - 0Munster
Zebre0 - 0Connacht
Sun 10th May
Scarlets0 - 0Cardiff Blues
Sat 16th May
Cardiff Blues0 - 0Zebre
Connacht0 - 0Ospreys
Edinburgh0 - 0Leinster
Glasgow Warriors0 - 0Ulster
Munster0 - 0Dragons
Treviso0 - 0Scarlets
RaboDirect PRO12 2013/14 R19
The Dragons' hopes of playing in the European Rugby Champions Cup took a hit as they lost 45-27 to Treviso.
Cory Allen was the star of the show as Cardiff registered a bonus-point 29-22 victory over Edinburgh on Friday night.
Ospreys fly-half Dan Biggar kicked 20 points in a shock 25-19 victory against leaders Leinster at the Liberty Stadium.