Scarlets cruise past Worcester

Date published: November 14 2009

Rhys Priestland scored seventeen points as the Scarlets eased past a youthful Worcester side 32-17 at Parc y Scarlets in the LV= Cup.

Rhys Priestland helped himself to a personal haul of seventeen points as the Scarlets eased past a youthful Worcester side on a bitterly cold afternoon at Parc y Scarlets to take a grip on top spot in Pool Two of the LV= Cup.

The 22-year-old scored a try and kicked three conversions and two penalties as the west Wales side marked the first anniversary of their move to their new home in fine style.

The hosts led 20-3 at the break thanks to tries from wing Darren Daniel and captain David Lyons plus two conversions and two penalties from fly-half Priestland, George Crook kicking a solitary penalty for Worcester.

Further tries followed for the Scarlets from full-back Daniel Evans and a superb solo effort from Priestland, while number eight Matt Cox and lock Graham Kitchener got consolation scores for the Warriors.

The Scarlets had brought number eight Lyons back in to captain the side with full-back Evans and second rows Lou Reed and Dominic Day also returning. Daniel made his first start of the season on the right wing.

Worcester boss Mike Ruddock made 11 changes from the side that hammered Newcastle with veteran hooker Chris Fortey leading the Warriors on his 100th appearance for the club. Dale Rasmussen and Kitchener came in at centre and lock respectively while George Crook and Ollie Frost formed a youthful half-back pairing.

Two errors from scrum-half Frost put the Warriors under early pressure as he saw his box-kick charged down by Scarlets hooker Ken Owens, and his first pass flew miles over the head of fly-half George Crook. A penalty at a scrum allowing Priestland to make that pressure pay with three points.

The hosts looked the far more comfortable in possession and replacement scrum-half Lee Williams, on as a blood replacement for Tavis Knoyle, launched a thrilling counter-attack from deep in his own 22. Williams linked up with full-back Evans as the attack took the hosts to within sight of the line, with Worcester coming in at the side of a ruck to give away a penalty which Priestland pushed wide.

But the Scarlets finally made their dominance pay when good work from centre Gareth Maule and Evans saw wing Daniel cross out wide in the 25th minute, Priestland adding the extras to make it 10-0.

Worcester had barely registered as an attacking threat and Crook then missed with a penalty as he attempted to get the Warriors on the board, but he made no mistake with his second effort after the Welsh side were penalised for not rolling away in the tackle area.

The Scarlets hit back straight from the restart as they claimed possession and Lyons ploughed his way through some poor tackling to go over behind the posts, Priestland knocking over the simplest of conversions before adding a penalty on the stroke of half-time to complete a fine opening half for Nigel Davies' side.

Things only got worse for the visitors on the resumption as Kitchener was sin-binned for hands in the ruck and, despite Priestland missing the resulting penalty, they were made to pay when full-back Evans scythed through the defence from 22 yards for a converted try.

There was further woe to follow for Worcester as Priestland scored a superb try seconds later as he broke from deep and had the pace to see off Calum MacRae and cross in the right-hand corner to seal a four-try bonus point.

Kitchener returned from the bin and Worcester finally enjoyed an extended spell in the Scarlets half, with number eight Matt Cox taking a quick tap and go to barge over from close range on the hour, MacRae knocking over the testing conversion.

The Warriors got another try back late on as the hosts saw two attempted clearances charged down, allowing Kitchener to flop on the loose ball with MacRae converting.

The Scorers

For Scarlets:
Daniel, Lyons, Evans, Priestland
Cons:Priestland 3
Pens:Priestland 2

For Worcester:
Cox, Kitchener
Cons:MacRae 2

Yellow cards: Kitchener (Worcester – 45th min)

Scarlets: 15 Daniel Evans, 14 Darren Daniel, 13 Gareth Maule, 12 Rob Higgitt, 11 Andy Fenby, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Tavis Knoyle, 8 David Lyons (c), 7 Richie Pugh, 6 Josh Turnbull, 5 Dominic Day, 4 Lou Reed, 3 Jamie Corsi, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Phil John.
Replacements: 16 Shaun Hopkins, 17 Emyr Phillips, 18 Simon Gardner, 19 Damian Welch, 20 Johnathan Edwards, 21 Lee Williams, 22 Daniel Newton, 23 Joe Ajuwa.

Worcester: 15 Calum MacRae, 14 Marcel Garvey, 13 Dale Rasmussen, 12 Greg King, 11 Rico Gear, 10 George Crook, 9 Ollie Frost, 8 Matt Cox, 7 Jake Abbott, 6 James Collins, 5 Will Bowley, 4 Graham Kitchener, 3 Jack Gilding, 2 Chris Fortey (c), 1 Adam Black.
Replacements: 16 Callum Black, 17 Jordan Page, 18 Olivier Sourgens, 19 Craig Gillies, 20 Matt Kvesic, 21 Jonny Arr, 22 Mike Penn, 23 Charlie Fellows.