Scarlets keep play-off hopes alive
March 27, 2011
Scrum-half Tavis Knoyle grabbed one of the Scarlets' three tries against their Italian rivals
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The Scarlets secured a hard-fought 22-16 victory over Treviso in their Magners League clash at Parc y Scarlets but failed to secure the all-important bonus point.
The victory keeps the Scarlets sixth in the table and they now face a crucial clash in Ulster on Friday night as they attempt to get into the top four play-off places.
The Scarlets were only able to play in patches and gave away a raft of penalties, but they scored three tries from flanker Johnathan Edwards, replacement scrum-half Tavis Knoyle and centre Jonathan Davies. But frustratingly for the region they failed to get a much-needed fourth try. And it was Treviso who had the last say with a try for Tobias Botes, which earned the Italians a losing bonus point.
Scarlets coach Nigel Davies decided to rest skipper and hooker Matthew Rees. Treviso were forced into two late changes with Gonzalo Padro replacing Corniel Van Zyl at lock and Luke McLean coming in for Joe Maddock.
The Scarlets went into half-time 17-6 ahead but that scoreline rather flattered a mistake-ridden performance in the opening 40 minutes. Treviso, who have won seven games in their first Magners season, were good for their eighth minute lead through a Kristopher Burton drop-goal.
That was cancelled out by a Jones penalty goal before an opportunist try by Edwards, who went over under the posts after picking up at a ruck and slipping a tackle. But after that Treviso more than held their own and cut the Scarlets lead to four points with a Burton penalty.
Just before half-time Scarlets decided to make a change at scrum-half in the dying minutes of the half with Knoyle coming on for Gareth Davies, and it immediately paid dividends. Impressive No. 8 Ben Morgan made a break from a scrum before Morgan Stoddart, Gareth Maule and Rhys Priestland all combined to put Knoyle over for a converted try.
And six minutes after the break the Scarlets had crossed again with Davies touching down after being handed a fine pass out of the tackle by North. But that was the last score for the Scarlets as the rest of the half saw Treviso enjoy plenty of possession.
A Burton penalty on 53 minutes cut the deficit to 13 points and the Italians were good for their try in the final minute from Botes. There was still time for a final Scarlets assault on the Treviso line but not for the first time in the game composure let them down and a loose pass was thrown into touch.
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