Scarlets finish strongly to secure bonus-point victory over Kings

Rob Lloyd News

A strong finish saw Scarlets see off a spirited Kings side and claim a 36-17 bonus-point victory to maintain their Guinness PRO14 play-off challenge.

The home side struggled to find their rhythm for long periods of an error-strewn contest, but were still able to touch down for six tries, three of them in the last quarter, to secure the maximum haul.

Tries from Tevita Ratuva and Ed Kennedy ensured the Scarlets led 12-10 at the break.

Then, after Kings had produced some nervy moments for the home faithful, Ryan Conbeer, Uzair Cassiem, Dan Davis and Tom Rogers crossed to seal what was in the end a comfortable win.

It proved a frustrating first half for home fans as Scarlets struggled to find fluency in their game.

And it was the Kings who opened the scoring thanks to a long-range penalty from full-back Courtney Winnaaar.

Stung into action, the home side found their way to the tryline on 19 minutes.

Man of the match Josh Macleod was freed out wide and although he was hauled down deep inside the Kings 22, the ball was recycled quickly and prop Phil Price sent second row Ratuva over with a lovely off-load. It was Tex’s first try in Scarlets colours and it was embellished by a successful conversion from fly-half Dan Jones.

The Kings, though, forced an error from the restart and after pressure on the home line claimed a try of their own through centre Howard Minisi, converted by fly-half Demetri Catrakalis.

The Scarlets were creating plenty of opportunities, but their handling let them down at key moments.

When they did put it together they were able to celebrate a second try. Skipper Werner Kruger carried strongly to put his side on the front foot, Paul Asquith sent out a lovely looping pass and it was left to Jones to send Kennedy – a late replacement for the ill Aaron Shingler – racing over unopposed.

Jones was wide with the conversion, then the half was summed up when an attacking line-out move went awry in stoppage time.

The home side would have been determined to push on at the start of the second half, but it was the Kings who stunned the home crowd with a superbly-crafted try for wing Christopher Hollis.

But back came the Scarlets with replacement wing Conbeer skipping his way past a clutch of defenders to cross out wide.

That was the prompt for the Scarlets to take a firm grip on the match.

The impressive Cassiem burrowed over from close range for the fourth and bonus-point score, then replacement Dan Davis latched onto a cross-field kick for the fifth.

The scoring was completed by another replacement Rogers, who finished off a sweeping backline move to celebrate a try on his home PRO14 debut.

Scarlets – tries: T. Ratuva, E. Kennedy, R. Conbeer, U. Cassiem, D. Davis, T. Rogers.  Cons: D. Jones (3).

Kings – tries: H. Mnisi, C. Hollis. Cons: D. Catrakalis (2). Pen: C. Winnaar.

Referee: Andrew Brace (IRFU)

Att: 5965