RaboDirect PRO12: Scarlets beat Newport Gwent Dragons to clinch top-six finish
Last Updated: 03/05/14 7:59pm
Rhys Priestland: Scarlets stand-off kicked 14 points
Scarlets sealed their place in the top flight of European competition for next season with a 34-23 bonus-point win over the Newport Gwent Dragons in their RaboDirect PRO12 fixture at Parc y Scarlets.
Scarlets had only needed only two points to book their European slot, and tries from Jake Ball, Gareth Davies, Jordan Williams and Ken Owens, as well as 14 points from the boot of fly-half Rhys Priestland, were enough for them to secure the all-important sixth place in the league.
The win was also the Scarlets' first Welsh derby victory of the campaign.
Scarlets seemed well on their way to victory after leading 24-13 at the break with three converted tries.
The Dragons started and finished the first half well, but the Scarlets dominance was based on a strong scrum and driving line-out.
The first Scarlets try came after 16 minutes when Wales lock Ball touched down by the post. Priestland kicked the conversion before adding a 24th-minute penalty.
The home side then blitzed the Dragons' defence to score two more tries in the space of four minutes.
First scrum-half Gareth Davies nipped in from five metres out to extend his lead at the top of the Pro12 try-scoring list to 10 scores.
And a good team try, which involved captain Jonathan Davies and Olly Barkley, was finished off by Jordan Williams.
However, from 24-3 down the Dragons responded with a penalty for fly-half Kris Burton, who followed that up by intercepting a Priestland pass which ended with wing Tom Prydie crossing in first-half stoppage time.
The Dragons' comeback continued with a Burton penalty straight after the break, but the visitors were then halted in their tracks.
Five minutes later Scarlets had their bonus point try when hooker Ken Owens squeezed over. Priestland added his fourth conversion of the match to ease the home side into a 31-16 lead.
The Dragons were not helped when hooker Rhys Thomas was sin-binned for a professional foul, although despite being down to 14 men they still managed to score a second try for Prydie on the hour mark.
However, Scarlets had the final say with Priestland kicking a penalty 11 minutes from time to give them an 11-point lead which could not be reduced.
RaboDirect PRO12 2013/14 Round 21
Cardiff won in Ireland for the first time in 16 months as they came from behind to beat Connacht 22-15.
Table-toppers Leinster won 22-20 at Ulster, whose losing bonus point brings them a guaranteed place in the play-offs.
Zebre moved off the bottom of the RaboDirect PRO12 table with a 30-27 victory over Ospreys.