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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 September 2006, 20:04 GMT 21:04 UK
Dragons 22-23 Scarlets
Scarlets' Matthew Rees and Rhys Thomas exchange pleasantries
Scarlets' Matthew Rees and Rhys Thomas exchange pleasantries

Dragons 22 (16)
Tries: N Brew.
Cons: Sweeney.
Pens: Sweeney 4.
DG: Sweeney.

Scarlets 23 (3)
Tries: G Evans 2, C Thomas.
Cons: S Jones.
Pens: S Jones 2.

Regan King inspired Llanelli Scarlets to a thrilling second-half comeback to pip Newport Gwent Dragons.

The New Zealand centre failed to get on the scoresheet himself, but created both tries for centre Gavin Evans and another for full-back Ceiron Thomas.

But it needed a late kick from Stephen Jones to clinch it for the Scarlets.

The Dragons had taken the lead through Nathan Brew's try and were always in it thanks to the excellent Ceri Sweeney, who kicked 17 points.

After an early exchange of penalties between Sweeney and Jones, the Dragons pack began to gain the upper hand over their west Wales visitors.

That situation was not helped when Scarlets lock Lou Reed was sin-binned for hands in the ruck after 22 minutes.

Although Sweeney missed the resulting penalty, the Dragons soon struck when they turned the Scarlets over near the visitors' try line.

Sweeney saw the space out wide and he floated a long pass out to the right for centre Nathan Brew to slide over.

The fly-half added the conversion and, with his pack giving him an armchair ride, Sweeney rounded the half off with a fine penalty from 48 metres and a cheeky last-gasp drop-goal.

Having been bullied up front, the Scarlets emerged after the break determined not to play the Dragons' game any more.

Within 10 minutes the men in red had notched up three tries as their backline, marshalled by King, ripped through the Dragons defence.

The Kiwi's first contribution was a little check and shimmy that held Dragons back-row Joe Bearman just enough to give Gavin Evans the space to score, despite Aled Brew's despairing tackle.

Then a fine break down the left from Scarlets full-back Ceiron Thomas seemed set to send King over the try line.

A great cover tackle from Craig Warlow hauled the centre down, but Evans was on hand to go under the posts for a seven-pointer.

The Dragons were rocking and King was on a roll as he again burst through midfield to send Thomas over in the right corner.

To the Dragons' credit they refused to buckle and Sweeney added two more penalties to nose the home side back into the lead 22-20.

In contrast, Scarlets counterpart Stephen Jones had been having a poor night with the boot.

But as the game entered its final quarter the Wales and Lions number 10 conjured his second penalty for the slimmest of winning margins.

The Dragons did have one more kickable chance to rescue the win, but inexplicably captain Colin Charvis spurned the pot at goal in favour of a failed attacking line-out.

Dragons: Craig Warlow; Gareth Wyatt, Nathan Brew, Ashley Smith, Aled Brew; Ceri Sweeney, Alex Walker; Adam Black, Steve Jones, Rhys Thomas, Ian Gough, Peter Sidoli, Joe Bearman, Jamie Ringer, Colin Charvis (capt).
Replacements: Ben Daly for Jones (65), Lee Harrison, Bryn Griffiths, Aled Thomas, Paul Emerick for Warlow (53), Gareth Baber for Walker (59), Robinson for Ringer (79).

Scarlets: Ceiron Thomas; Darren Daniel, Regan King, Gavin Evans, Matthew Watkins; Stephen Jones, Dwayne Peel; Iestyn Thomas, Matthew Rees. Deacon Manu, Lou Reed, Scott Macleod, Simon Easterby (capt), Gavin Thomas, Alix Popham.
Replacements: John Davies for Manu (38), Ken Owens, Adam Jones, James Bater, Inoke Afeaki G Thomas (59), Clive Stuart-Smith, Barry Davies.

Referee: Tim Hayes (Wales).

Att: 5,574



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