Scarlets too strong for Sale Sharks

Date published: October 15 2016

A brace from DTH van der Merwe saw Scarlets beat Sale Sharks 28-11 in the Champions Cup at Parc y Scarlets on Saturday.

Two tries from Van Der Merwe and another from Gareth Davies was enough for Scarlets, who made it four wins in a row in all competitions. 

Sale scored only one try through Neil Briggs and saw two men sin-binned in the second half. Having endured a horror time in the Champions Cup last season, Scarlets came into this one on the back of a three-match winning streak. For Sale, it's been a tough start to the season, and a 30-3 defeat last week to Bath was not the ideal preparation. 

The visitors took the lead early on, Dan Mugford putting the penalty through after Scarlets bodies failed to roll away. Rhys Patchell had the opportunity to immediately level, but sliced the kick wide before converting the next opportunity inside the opening 10 minutes. And soon after, he could add another two following the opening try. 

Mugford's attempted clearance downfield was charged down, and Gareth Davies was in the right place to edge just over the line, with the TMO confirming he had made it. Patchell made it a double figure lead with another penalty, stretching it further with another successful kick. But Sale did finally wake up from their temporary slumber and claimed their first try of this season's competition through Briggs. 

A driving maul pushed Steve Diamonds' 15 towards the sticks and Briggs found room to manoeuvre and make his way over the white line. Mugford's conversion failed and Scarlets again did real damage at the other end. A cross field kick from Patchell found its way into the arms of Van Der Merwe, crossing in the corner and restoring a 13-point gap. 

With three to play at the end of the half, Mugford settled on a penalty in front of the posts rather than trying to grab the second try and Sale went in 21-11 behind. The visitors already had a tough time of it, but a yellow card shown to Ross Harrison increased the task they had on their hands. 

The Sale man was sin-binned for a high challenge on Ken Owens, the TMO taking a few looks before finally deeming it dangerous. It hadn't been a great performance by Sale, and any chance of a comeback seemed long gone as the third Scarlets try arrived. Van der Merwe gratefully went over for his second, coming after a pair of scrums had taken Scarlets up towards the line. The conversion followed and Sale's nightmare continued. 

They next lost Andrei Ostrikov, yellow carded for a late hit, coming only minutes after the Sharks had got back to full numbers. The 14 men had chances late in the half, a driving maul causing panic in the Scarlets back line, but the hosts managed to hold out and eased to a 28-11 victory.

The scorers:

For Scarlets
Tries: Davies, Van der Merwe 2
Cons: Patchell 2
Pens: Patchell 3

For Sale Sharks
Try: Briggs
Pens: Mugford 2
Yellow Cards: Harrison, Ostrikov

Scarlets: 15 Liam Williams, 14 DTH van der Merwe, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Scott Williams, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 John Barclay, 7 James Davies, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 David Bulbring, 4 Jake Ball, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Ken Owens (c), 1 Wyn Jones
Replacements: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Luke Garrett, 18 Werner Kruger, 19 Lewis Rawlins, 20 Will Boyde, 21 Jonathan Evans, 22 Dan Jones, 23 Hadleigh Parkes

Sale Sharks: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Byron McGuigan, 13 Will Addison, 12 Sam James, 11 Paolo Odogwu, 10 Dan Mugford, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Josh Beaumont (c), 7 David Seymour, 6 Cameron Neild, 5 Jonathan Mills, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Brian Mujati, 2 Neil Briggs, 1 Ross Harrison
Replacements: 16 James Flynn, 17 Halani Aulika, 18 Andrei Ostrikov, 19 Magnus Lund, 20 Tom Curry, 21 James Mitchell, 22 Sam Bedlow, 23 Nev Edwards

Date: Saturday, October 15
Venue: Parc y Scarlets
Kick-off: 20:45 BST (19:45 GMT)
Referee: Romain Poite (France)