Planet Rugby

Sarries too strong for Scarlets

29th January 2011 17:57

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matt stevens saracens v scarlets

Stevens: Back in the big time

Matt Stevens returned to competitive rugby for the first time since his two-year ban for drug taking as Saracens trounced a young Scarlets side by five tries to one in their LV= Cup clash at Parc y Scarlets.

The former England prop Stevens came as a 48th minute replacement but by then his side had gone a long way to sealing a 34-7 victory.

Despite this heavy defeat the Scarlets can still qualify for the semi-finals if they beat the Dragons next week.

Scarlets went into the match without 20 first-team players because of Wales calls and injury while Saracens fielded a host of frontline players most notably Scotland flanker Kelly Brown.

Saracens failed to impose themselves on the scoreboard early despite an edge in the scrum and the better of the territory.

Steve Shingler, who joins London Irish at the end of the season, missed the first of three long-range penalties for the Scarlets in the first-half.

Owen Farrell was also short with his own 50 metre effort just before the Scarlets spurned a golden try opportunity. Dan Evans took an up and under and sent big No. 8 on a strong run in to the Saracens 22, but when the ball was spread wide Morgan got over the line but failed to ground the ball.

For much of the rest of the half Saracens were able to pin the Welsh region back in their own half. First Farrell kicked a penalty goal from in front of the posts after Brown was impeded at a ruck.

And a minute from the interval wing James Short jinked his way down the right touchline for the opening try after collecting a chip ahead from Alex Goode.

That score was just a glimpse of what was to happen in the second half as Saracens scored four unanswered tries in the space of 18 minutes with the result having been put to bed by the hour mark.

First lock Hayden Smith was put over from short range by scrum-half Kevin Barrett, the lightning quick Ben Ransom raced in with his first touch before hooker Jamie George was put over unopposed for the bonus point try.

And the Saracens scoring spree ended when wing Noah Cato ran in after Saracens used line-out ball effectively.

The Scarlets were not helped by being forced to put a hooker and a prop on the field in place of the injured No8 David Lyons and lock Damian Welch, but they did score a consolation try through hooker Emyr Phillips 11 minutes from time.

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