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Last Updated: Friday, 2 November 2007, 21:03 GMT
Scarlets 59-19 Leeds
Llanelli Scarlets paid tribute to Ray Gravell before kick-off
Llanelli Scarlets paid tribute to Ray Gravell before kick-off
Scarlets 59 (31)
Tries: D Evans 2, Bater, M Jones, Popham, Thomas, MacLeod, Easterby.
Cons: S Jones 8.
Pens: S Jones.

Leeds 19 (7)
Tries: Biggs 2, Hepworth.
Cons: Di Bernardo 2.

Llanelli Scarlets produced the perfect tribute to Ray Gravell with a try-heavy EDF Energy Cup win over Leeds Carnegie.

On a night full of emotion, Stradey Park mourned the death of one of its favourite sons with a minute's silence and then twice as long of applause.

Then it was the players' turn, as Dan Evans, James Bater and Mark Jones all went under the posts within 16 minutes.

Alix Popham's try secured a bonus point before half-time to leave Leeds adrift, although Tom Biggs scored a fine brace.

Fly-half Stephen Jones underlined the display with an inspired show of kicking that converted all eight of his side's tries and the one penalty chance he attempted.

Although it seemed almost incidental to the night, the win remedied last week's loss at Bristol and kept the Scarlets' EDF Energy hopes alive ahead of their final Group D match at home to Saracens.

"It was a special atmosphere... Grav meant everything to the players here and it was sad news to us all.

Scarlets fly-half Stephen Jones

It also puts Phil Davies' men in good shape for next week's Heineken Cup opener at Clermont Auvergne.

All of the action took place to a backdrop of determined singing worthy of any chapel, as the supporters exhausted their repertoire of songs, hymns and arias.

After the sombre and heart-felt display by the crowd before kick-off, Scarlets full-back Evans wasted no time in setting the tone on the pitch.

The 18-year-old academy product was not even close to being born when Gravell was in his pomp as a barnstorming centre for Llanelli, Wales and the British and Irish Lions.

But Evans showed the free-running spirit at Stradey Park continues undiluted, as he produced a cheeky fake and sidestep to go in under the posts with just three minutes on the clock.

Stephen Jones added the simple conversion and was instrumental in the Scarlets' second soon after.

The Wales and Lions fly-half was first to an overthrown line-out, spinning out of a weak tackle to send open-side flanker Bater stretching away for another seven-pointer.

Leeds' only scoring opportunity during that period was a penalty kick that Alberto Di Bernardo sent wide of the uprights.

Mark Jones almost added a third in quick-time, only for a fine cover tackle from Jon Goodridge to drag the wing into touch as he dived for the corner.

But Jones was not to be denied a score and two minutes later he emerged from a ruck to canter over, Stephen Jones stretching the lead to 24-0 with the conversion and then a penalty.

Leeds threatened briefly to spoil the script when Biggs came in off his wing to score, taking a delayed pop pass from a set scrum that parted the Scarlets defence.

But normal service was resumed a minute later, as Scarlets hooker Matthew Rees combined well with his back-row at close quarters to send Popham over for a a fourth try.


With the bonus point secured before half-time and a handsome 31- 7 lead, the Scarlets entered the second period attempting to run the ball at every opportunity.

That backfired when wing Jones spilled the ball in midfield and Di Bernardo sent a speculative kick deep into the empty space of the Scarlets' half.

Biggs showed great pace to outdistance the red-shirted chasers and claim an opportunist try, his second of the night, although Di Bernardo this time missed the conversion.

Back came the Scarlets and after hammering away at the Leeds line created space on the left for Rees to send front-row colleague Iestyn Thomas over, Stephen Jones adding a fine touchline conversion.

The try-fest continued as Leeds buckled, Scott MacLeod and skipper Simon Easterby scoring to take the Scarlets past the 50-point barrier.

Full-back Evans raced through for his second of the evening, with Jones continuing his 100% record with the boot.

Jonny Hepworth added a late try for Leeds, but the night belonged to the Scarlets and to the memory of Ray Gravell.

  • Scarlets fly-half Stephen Jones:
    "It was a special atmosphere and obviously it's been a difficult couple of days for the club to lose somebody so special as Ray Gravell.

    "Grav meant everything to the players here and it was sad news to us all.

    "Prior to every home match he was in the changing room wishing the boys well, he was always a positive character and he will be missed."

    Leeds coach Stuart Lancaster: "I thought Llanelli were outstanding. They have got great players across the park and they play with great width and great accuracy as well.

    "There were pluses but if you don't get your kicking game right and give them opportunities to counter-attack then it's going to be hard defensively.

    "We smartened up in the second half but by then the damaged had been done."

    Scarlets: Daniel Evans; Mark Jones, Regan King, Gavin Evans, Dafydd James; Stephen Jones, Dwayne Peel; Iestyn Thomas, Matthew Rees, Bruce Douglas, Vernon Cooper, Scott MacLeod, Simon Easterby (capt), James Bater, Alix Popham.
    Replacements: Deacon Manu for Douglas (71), James Hayter, Adam Eustace for Cooper (71), Gavin Thomas for Popham (40), Gavin Cattle for Peel (77), Garan Evans, Jon Davies.

    Leeds: Jon Goodridge; Appo Satala, Jonny Hepworth, Andy Tuilagi, Tom Biggs; Alberto Di Bernardo, Darren Edwards; Fosi Pala'amo, James Parkes, Colin Noon, Stuart Hooper (capt), Pablo Bouza, Danny Paul, Martin Schusterman, Mark Lock.
    Replacements: Tommy McGee for Pala'amo (46), Vili Ma'asi for Parkes (55), Erik Lund for Bouza (55), Sam Stitcher for Paul (65), James Brookes for Edwards (61), Leigh Hinton for Goodridge (61), John Holtby for Satala (64).

    Att: 7,672

    Referee: Tony Spreadbury (RFU).

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