Memorable win for Scarlets

Date published: December 18 2016

A first-half try from Scott Williams proved decisive as Scarlets kept alive their Champions Cup hopes with a 22-21 win over Toulon on Sunday.

Hoping to bounce back from the 31-20 defeat at Stade Mayol, the Parc y Scarlets crowd were treated to a masterclass from the Welsh side in the first 40.

Centre Williams went over for the only try of the half, with Scarlets taking a 16-9 lead into the break.

Leigh Halfpenny did all he could to snatch victory for Toulon, but the hosts won by a single point in the 22-21 thriller.

Giving the Scarlets backline work to do in the opening 10, Toulon fell behind as Rhys Patchell made no mistake from the first kicking opportunity of the afternoon.

And before a quarter of an hour had been played, he'd already notched a conversion as Scarlets caught Toulon napping. Patchell was at the heart of the build-up, with Hadleigh Parkes and Aaron Shingler also exchanging offloads. It was Williams who received the full adoration of the Scarlets faithful though, making the run that finally broke through the Toulon backline and crashing down.

Another three from Patchell made it a 13-0 lead, but Halfpenny did narrow that gap with his first penalty of the afternoon getting the three-time European champions on the board.

Patchell and Halfpenny both kicked another penalty each before the break, before Halfpenny's penalty on the stroke of half-time got Toulon within a converted try of levelling.

They had opportunities in the final 10 minutes of the half, but the resolute Scarlets backline saw their lead through to the break.

Patchell, who had barely put a foot wrong in the first 40, followed that same theme with another three pointer early in the second half.

Halfpenny was in equally good form though, again narrowing the gap back down to seven.

But Scarlets' task was made a bit easier when they had a man advantage for 10 minutes. Florian Fresia was shown a yellow for a questionable round the neck challenge in the maul, stopping the momentum Toulon were slowly building.

Another penalty apiece kept the gap at seven points with 15 to play, though Halfpenny kept his side within arm's reach with another three pointer from outside the Scarlets 22 making it 22-18.

And he was doing all he could to turn the tie around, with another penalty making it a single point gap with five minutes left on the clock.

He went close with another penalty, this time seeing it sail wide of the posts in a rare misfire. And when given another effort on the halfway line, he couldn't get the ball through with the final piece of action, meaning Scarlets won a thriller.

The scorers:

For Scarlets:
Try: S Williams
Con: Patchell
Pens: Patchell 5

For Toulon:
Pens: Halfpenny 7
Yellow Card: Fresia

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

Toulon: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 James O’Connor, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Pierre Bernard, 9 Jonathan Pelissie, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Juandre Kruger, 6 Charles Ollivon, 5 Romain Taofifenua, 4 Mamuka Gorgodze, 3 Levan Chilachava, 2 Guilhem Guirado, 1 Xavier Chiocci
Replacements: 16 Jean-Charles Orioli, 17 Florian Fresia, 18 Marcel Van Der Merwe, 19 Juan Fernandez Lobbe, 20 Jocelino Suta, 21 Maxime Mermoz, 22 Eric Escande, 23 Samu Manoa

Referee: Matthew Carley (England)
Assistant Referees: JP Doyle (England), Andrew Jackson (England)
TMO: David Grashoff (England)