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Last Updated: Saturday, 6 September, 2003, 18:50 GMT 19:50 UK
Scarlets tame Dragons
Salesi Finau is stretchered off at Stradey Park
Llanelli Scarlets (12) 35: Tries: S. Quinnell 2. Cons: G. Bowen 2. Pens: G. Bowen 6. Drop Goal: B. Davies.
Newport Gwent Dragons (6) 11: Try: Forster. Pens: Davey 2.
Att: 4,300
Scott Quinnell claimed two tries to help the Scarlets get their Celtic League campaign off to a winning start at Stradey Park on Saturday.

In a scrappy, disjointed affair, a double from man-of-the-match Quinnell combined with 22 points from the boot of fly-half Gareth Bowen proved decisive against a spirited Newport Gwent Dragons side.

The first half was a disappointing affair dominated by the whistle of Irish referee Simon McDowell.

The opening 40 minutes turned out to be a battle of the kickers, with four successful strikes from Bowen against two by Dragons' full-back Brett Davey giving the home side a 12-6 advantage at the break.

The Scarlets had a try by lively flanker Ian Boobyer disallowed, while the Dragons showed stubborn defence to keep the home pack at bay late on.

Play was delayed for five minutes when Tongan wing Salesi Finau was stretchered off with what looked like a serious neck injury after a high tackle by opposing centre Steve Winn.

Winn was sin-binned as a result, which meant the Dragons started the second half down to 14 men.

The visitors were competing well, but it was indiscipline which was costing them dear.

Scott Quinnell more or less beat us on his own
Dragons coach Mike Ruddock
Bowen was in no mood to be lenient, landing two more penalties, including one monster strike from his own half.

The Scarlets were beginning to take a grip on the match, although the Dragons last-ditch tackling was serving them well.

However, there was no way they were going to stop former British Lions No 8 Quinnell after 62 minutes, as he crashed over in the shadow of the post for the first try of the match.

Bowen's conversion made it 25-6, but the Dragons responded quickly with a try from outstanding flanker Jason Forster.

Then in the final moments Quinnell plunged over once more and full-back Barry Davies landed a drop goal to seal what was in the end a comfortable victory for the Scarlets.

Llanelli Scarlets: Barry Davies; Richard Rees, Tal Selley, Leigh Davies, Salesi Finau; Gareth Bowen, Dale Burn; David Maddocks, Aled Gravelle, John Davies, Adam Jones, Vernon Cooper, Chris Wyatt, Ian Boobyer, Scott Quinnell.
Replacements: Nathan Williams, Rhys Williams, Bryn Griffiths, Gareth Williams, Mike Phillips, Cerion Thomas, Matthew Watkins.

Newport Gwent Dragons: B Davey; N Brew, A Marinos (capt), S Winn, B Breeze; C Warlow, R Jones; A Black, P Young, C Anthony, I Gough, P Sidoli, S van Rensberg, R Oakley, J Forster.
Replacements: H Luscombe, L Jarvis, B Shelbourne, D Pattison, S Jones, L Charteris, J Ringer.

Referee: Simon McDowell (Ireland).



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