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Llanelli assistant coach Nigel Davies
"The French team were fairly negative when we had the ball"
 real 14k

Llanelli fly-half Stephen Jones
"The elements made it tough"
 real 14k

Llanelli backrow Dave Hodges
"It was a must-win game for us"
 real 14k

Llanelli coach Gareth Jenkins
"We have to be happy with that"
 real 14k

BBC Wales' Nick Webb reports
"Llanelli ground out a vital victory"
 real 14k

BBC Sport's Rob Jones
"Llanelli produced a gutsy performance in awful conditions"
 real 14k

Friday, 5 October, 2001, 19:38 GMT 20:38 UK
Jones puts wind up Perpignan
Martyn Madden
Martyn Madden proved a handful for Perpignan
Llanelli 20-6 Perpignan

Stephen Jones capped a dominant Llanelli display with a late try and five penalties as they saw off the challenge of visiting Perpignan in the Heineken Cup.

In rainy, blustery conditions the Scarlets prevented their French opponents from making best use of the conditions in the first half and then pinned Perpignan in their own half after the break.

Perpignan set their stall out early and showed that they were determined to run the ball at their hosts.

Llanelli were finding it hard to win any meaningful possession, but poor handling in the French midfield stifled any real momentum by the visitors.

Llanelli's first sniff of a scoring opportunity was down to Leigh Davies' offload in the tackle that saw Matt Cardey scorch through the gap.

  Scorers:
Llanelli: Try: S Jones. Pens: S. Jones 5.
Perpignan: Pen: Bellot. Drop Goal: Bellot.
Att: 3,500.
Cardey couldn't beat the tackle of Perpignan fullback Jean-Marc Souverbie, but support was quickly there through openside Dafydd Jones and then John Davies.

The prop went to ground just short of the line and despite Perpignan hooker Michael Konieckiewicz's best attempts to kill the ball it was eventually released.

Llanelli had a two-man overlap on the left and a try looked certain, only for Wayne Proctor to spill an admittedly low pass.

However, referee Steve Lander had awarded the penalty and Stephen Jones made no mistake in the blustery conditions to open the scoring after 12 minutes.

Perpignan had to make the most of playing with a strong wind behind them in the first half.

But Llanelli denied visiting outside-half Benoit Bellot a kick at goal until nearly 25 minutes had gone, and even then he missed the simple opportunity.

The Stradey crowd, enduring some torrential downpours, were warmed by the sight of prop Martyn Madden advancing his case for inclusion in the Wales squad with some typically barracking runs.

Perpignan finally got back on level terms 10 minutes before the break when Bellot made amends for his earlier miss with a drop-goal.


Salesi Finau's power caused problems
Llanelli began to make their physical superiority tell, with Leigh Davies, Salesi Finau and Madden all threatening with ball in hand.

In the scrum contest, meanwhile, the Llanelli frontrow of Robin McBryde, Madden and John Davies were beginning to boss things.

Continuity was maintained thanks to Dafydd Jones, who was consistently first to any breakdown and also impressive in defence.

Perpignan were caught offside just before the break as they tried to stop Llanelli's big runners before they picked up pace, with Stephen Jones hitting the penalty to give the Scarlets a 6-3 lead at half-time.

With the wind at their backs in the second half Llanelli continued to turn the screw.

Stephen Jones missed an early long-range penalty but Perpignan were unable to clear their lines and presented the Wales outside-half with another chance soon after from which he made no mistake.

When Jones made it 12-3 with another kick, Perpignan were forced to ring the changes and former France hooker Marc Dal Maso, prop Pascal Meya and lock Olivier Olibeau came on to try and shore up the scrum.


Matt Cardey impressed at outside centre
Bellot pulled a kick back to make it 12-6 but then Meya was sin-binned for killing the ball, allowing Jones to restore Llanelli's lead to nine points.

Being a man short seemed to inspire Perpignan and they put the Scarlets' line under intense pressure, but were unable to find a way through some determined defence.

Perpignan followed the established French tradition of losing discipline as the game slipped away, but in fairness it was the two New Zealanders in their side, lock John Daniell - their skipper - and wing Robbie MacDonald who were most at fault.

Daniell's vicious use of the boot on John Davies' leg was missed by the officials, but MacDonald was sinbinned five minutes from time for his desperate attempt to kill the ball as Proctor made a half-break.

With injury time approaching Stephen Jones made sure of the points as he pounced on a loose ball to score the game's only try, especially welcome after last week's kicking duel at Leicester.

The Llanelli fly-half couldn't manage the conversion but it hardly mattered as their Heineken Cup campaign was up and running.


Llanelli: B Davies; W Proctor, M Cardey, L Davies, S Finau; S Jones (capt), G Easterby; M Madden, R McBryde, J Davies, V Cooper, L Gross, C Wyatt, D Jones, D Hodges.
Reps: G Bowen, D Peel, P Booth, M Thomas, C Gillies, S Morgan, G Evans.

Perpignan: J-M Souverbie; F Cermano, D Plana, N Couttet, R MacDonald; B Bellot, L Loustau; R Peillard, M Konieckiewicz, S De Besombes, R Alvarez Kairelis, J Daniell (capt), B Goutta, R Jechoux.
Reps: F Sid, J Basset, G le Corvec, M Dal Maso, P Meya, N Mas, O Olibeau.

Referee: Steve Lander (England).

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