Scarlets  crowned U18s champions

Rob LloydAcademy News, News

Scarlets U18s were crowned regional age grade champions after a dominant 40-10 win over title rivals the Ospreys at Aberavon’s Talbot Athletic Ground.

Tom Phillips’s side bossed the first half to lead 15-0 at the break, then withstood a potential home comeback before racing away with the match in the closing exchanges.

For the fourth successive match the Scarlets racked up a try bonus and for a fourth successive match they hit the 40-point mark.

Skipper Tiaan Sparrow was again to the fore, while fly-half Carwyn Jones produced a sublime player-of-the-match display in the No. 10 jersey.

Prop Jac Pritchard was another to make his mark, as did replacement Lewis Jones, who helped himself to a try double late on.

WIth a number of other players also no doubt impressing senior head coach Dwayne Peel and his coaching team, the Scarlets future looks in good hands.

Against an Ospreys side who lifted the title last season, the young Scarlets flew out of the blocks and were on the board after just four minutes thanks to a slick first-phase move from the backline. Fly-half Jones put in a beautiful pass to Iori Badham, the full-back fed wing Sion Jones, who still had plenty to do, but finished well in the corner.

Carwyn Jones was narrowly wide with a penalty on 13 minutes, but the Scarlets supporters in Aberavon were celebrating a second try on 14 minutes.

This time it was all about the forwards, notably hooker Daf Ebsworth and Sparrow, who combined with a clever front-of-line move to send the skipper flying over. Jones converted from the touchline

It needed some resilient defence to keep the Ospreys at bay, with Ebsworth and Sparrow doing brilliantly at the other end of the field to deny the home side a first try, holding up hooker Owen Griffiths over the line after a series of Ospreys line-out drives.

And it was the Scarlets who had the final word of the half a minute before the break with a scrum penalty leading to Jones extending the lead to 15-0.

Another great kick from Jones made it 18-0 just 90 seconds after the restart.

Sparrow was on hand to deny the Ospreys again from a close-range surge, but the Ospreys’ pressure eventually saw wing Will Moore cross wide out on 44 minutes.

A superb turnover by Pritchard led to another penalty success for Jones, but back came the Ospreys with hooker Griffiths going over from a well-drilled line-out drive to reduce the arrears to 21-10

However, with 10 minutes remaining, replacement hooker Lewis Jones burst away from a line-out maul to stretch over for a crucial score, again converted brilliantly by Jones, and from then on there was only going to be one winner.

Wing Owen Griffith sealed the victory with a fourth try after more quality handling inside the home 22, then Lewis Jones put the cherry on top with a stunning solo effort to dive over jubilantly at the posts.

Afterwards, skipper Sparrow lifted the trophy to secure the Scarlets a first age-grade triumph since 2018.

Ospreys – tries: W. Moore, O. Griffiths.

Scarlets – tries: S. Jones, T Sparrow, L Jones (2), O. Griffith. Cons: C. Jones (3). Pens: Jones (3).