Scarlets made it four wins from five in the Guinness PRO14, overcoming a stubborn Cheetahs side and atrocious weather conditions to secure a 17-13 victory at Parc y Scarlets.
Both sides have established a reputation for open rugby, but the weather gods weren’t kind on west wales with wind and rain greeting the teams at kick-off.
The Scarlets led 14-7 at the break thanks to tries from wing Steff Evans – on his 100th appearance – and scrum-half Kieran Hardy, but the home side had to withstand a determined comeback from the Cheetahs after the break, with the game in the balance until the final whistle.
Inspired by the World Cup-winning heroics of their South African compatriots earlier in the day it was the Cheetahs who were up and running with the game’s first try.
The visitors turned over ball on halfway, centre Benhand Janse van Resnburg put a kick through and scrum-half Tian Meyer, the Cheetahs captain, won the race to the ball, picking up and crossing in the corner. Fly-half Tian Schoeman converted from wide out.
Stung into a response, Johnny McNicholl and Uzair Cassiem both went close for the Scarlets only to be denied by stubborn Cheetahs defence.
However, the dam broke when a clever line-out move saw Evans dance over from close range to celebrate his 100th appearance, a try converted by Dan Jones.
With handling proving a test in difficult conditions, the game was turning into a cagey affair, but Scarlets fans in a crowd of 6,381 were on their feet to celebrate a second try three minutes before the break.
This time the Scarlets were able to feast on turnover ball, McNicholl sprinted down the touchline and with the Cheetahs unable to organise their defence in time, Hardy spotted the space blindside to dart over without a hand laid on him.
Jones again added the extras and the Scarlets were ahead 14-7 at the break.
That was reduced to 14-10 early in the second half when Schoeman landed a penalty after Cassiem was penalised for not releasing, then replacement Ruan Pienaar made it a one-point game after the Scarlets scrum fell foul of referee Mike Adamson.
However, Dan Jones eased the nerves with a well-struck kick with 12 minutes remaining and with man of the match Josh Macleod pouncing for a couple of crucial turnover penalties, the Scarlets were able to see out the remaining minutes for the win.
Scarlets – tries: S. Evans, K. Hardy. Cons: D. Jones (2). Pen: Jones
Cheetahs – try: T. Meyer. Con: T. Schoeman. Pens: Schoeman, Pienaar.
Referee: Mike Adamson