Davies praise for young guns
December 18, 2010
Jonny Fa'amatuainu grabbed one of the Scarlets' tries in Treviso © Getty Images
Scarlets boss Nigel Davies hailed his young stars following his side's 38-15 bonus-point Heineken Cup victory over Benetton Treviso that put them in control of Pool 5.
The Welsh region were without experienced duo Stephen Jones and Matthew Rees for the trip to northern Italy. But tries from Dominic Day, Dan Newton, Gareth Maule and a late effort from Jonny Fa'amatuainu put the Scarlets four points clear of group rivals Leicester Tigers, who face Perpignan at Welford Road tomorrow.
"This result is right up there as one of our best in this competition," said Davies. "Some of our recognised names weren't playing but these young boys are stepping in and really taking their opportunities. It was a massive win for us and the bonus point could be really important.
"We know we can play rugby, we are averaging 30 points a game, what we have tried to do is focus on playing without the ball and there was a big improvement today. Even in the final attack we were fighting to keep them out, that summed up our spirit today. These boys are the stars of our resurgence who have pushed the more recognised players and have shown they are worthy of this shirt."
Treviso struck early with a penalty from South African fly-half Willem de Waal after opposite number Rhys Priestland had seen his attempted clearance charged down. Priestland levelled matters after 10 minutes following a strong run by wing Sean Lamont, then pushed his side ahead with a second penalty after more good work from the Scot.
Second-row Day crossed after 28 minutes following an incisive burst from stand-in skipper Johnathan Edwards. Priestland converted and did so again after full-back Newton finished a powerful break by wing Morgan Stoddart who rode a string of tackles before brilliantly offloading. Robert Barbieri and replacement Marco Filipucci dived over for the home side but the Scarlets hit back through Maule and Fa'amatuainu to seal a memorable victory.
"We have targeted qualification and we are still in the hunt for that," said Davies. "I would like to think we have put a bit of pressure on Leicester and Perpignan and we are really looking forward to the Leicester game in January because we let ourselves down against them earlier in the season."
Treviso head coach Franco Smith said, "We are disappointed after pushing the Scarlets so close last week."
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