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Scarlets 18-16 Leinster

Scarlets (10) 18
Tries: Lamont, John. Cons: Priestland. Pens: Priestland 2.
Leinster (16) 16
Tries: Dempsey. Cons: Sexton. Pens: Sexton 3.

Sean Lamont scores the first Scarlets try of the new season
Sean Lamont scores the first Scarlets try of the new season

Scarlets opened their Magners League campaign with notable win over European champions Leinster at Parc Y Scarlets.

Debutant Sean Lamont put Nigel Davies' side ahead with an early try but they were soon pegged back by Leinster's Girvan Dempsey.

The boot of Jonathan Sexton helped the visitors to a 16-10 half time lead.

But replacement Phil John finished off a fine second half move to go over for the Scarlets before Rhys Priestland sealed the win with a penalty.

Scarlets needed a good start against an experienced Leinster side and they got just that after just six minutes.

Priestland found Lamont on the left and the former Northampton wing raced through a gap to claim the opening try.

Priestland converted, but the home side's lead did not last long as first Sexton claimed three points back after flanker Simon Easterby was penalised in the tackle area.

And then on 18 minutes, Leinster stretched the Scarlets with Shaun Berne's long cross-field pass finding wing Dempsey in acres of space to go over in the corner.

Sexton added to his successful conversion with a penalty soon after when full-back Daniel Evans failed to roll away.

The Scarlets were guilty of losing discipline when two of their other new signings were sin-binned within a matter of minutes of each other.

Former Ospreys flanker Richie Pugh was first to for persistent offending in the tackle area, which Sexton took another three points from to make it 16-7.

Leinster's Stan Wright was one of four players to be sin-binned
Leinster's Stan Wright was one of four players to be sin-binned

And Ex-Dragons prop Rhys Thomas followed him just three minutes later for recklessly lunging head first into a ruck.

But instead of using the two-man advantage, Leinster were guilty of their own indiscipline just before the break when prop Stan Wright saw yellow taking David Lyons out at the side of the ruck.

Priestland did reduce the deficit for the Scarlets on the stroke of half time when Leinster were caught offside.

The visitors started the second half strongly with New Zealand back Isa Nacewa reaching the try-line, but the Scarlets defence held firm to deny him.

Dempsey then threatened to score again before flanker Shane Jennings lost control of the ball as he went over.

After a period of scrappy play, the Scarlets suddenly found themselves back in the game thanks to a move started by Jonathan Davies' surge into the Leinster half.

A quick ball then found Mark Jones who picked out replacement prop John on the inside to cross for the home side's second try on 62 minutes.

Priestland missed the conversion, but sealed the Scarlets' 18-16 win moments later with a penalty after Sean O'Brien was yellow-carded for holding on to the ball.

Scarlets head coach Nigel Davies said:

"The boys have been working hard this pre-season and I have been excited by what I've seen in pre-season and this win was just reward.

"But we're at the start of something, we're by no means the complete team. We've got a long, long way to go as we're building this team from scratch - but this is a pretty good start.

"We have there was some really exciting talent but our problem last year was that we conceded too many points and we know that if we can keep teams down around 15 points then we'll be in with a shout.

"This is team is in transition and is growing and if we keep showing this type of commitment, endeavour and resilience then we'll win more games than we lose."

Scarlets: Evans, Lamont, Higgitt, Davies, M. Jones, Priestlend, Roberts, I. Thomas, Owen, R. Thomas, Reed, Day, Easterby, Pugh, Lyons.
Replacements: Williams for Higgitt (55), Manu for I. Thomas (61), John for R. Thomas (61), Cooper for Reed (71), D. Jones for Easterby (58).
Not Used: Phillips, Newton.

Leinster: Dempsey, Horgan, McFadden, Berne, Nacewa, Sexton, Keane, Healy, Fogarty, Wright, Cullen, O'Kelly, McLaughlin, Jennings, S. Keogh.
Replacements: S. Keogh for Dempsey (70), Morris for McFadden (75), Toner for O'Kelly (67), O'Brien for S. Keogh (42).
Not Used: Ross, O'Donohoe, Harris-Wright.

Att: 6,075

Ref: Neil Patterson (RFU).

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see also
Magners Celtic League 2009/10
14 Jul 09 |  Rugby Union
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales
Coming up next on Scrum V...
03 Nov 08 |  Welsh

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