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Last Updated: Saturday, 13 March, 2004, 19:14 GMT
Blues 0-6 Scarlets
CELTIC LEAGUE
Blues scrum-half Ryan Powell tangles with Scarlets flanker Chris Wyatt
Blues (0) 0
Scarlets (0) 6
Pens: Bowen (2)
Scarlets kept their Celtic League title hopes alive as they battled to a hard-fought victory against the Blues.

Two second half Gareth Bowen penalties proved enough for the visitors in a match of poor quality at the Arms Park.

Neither side looked capable of scoring a try as the players struggled to cope with the slippery conditions.

Blues fly-half Nick Robinson missed a simple kick to close the gap, and the Scarlets survived a late surge to keep the pressure on league leaders Ulster.

A scrappy and uninspiring opening saw Scarlets flanker Chris Wyatt sent to the sin bin as the game's violent undercurrent threatened to boil over on several occasions.

The Blues enjoyed the better of possession and territory as the first-half wore on, but poor handling on a sodden pitch ended several promising scoring opportunities.

Two minutes before the interval, the Scarlets were a man down again as scrum-half Mike Phillips received a yellow card for stamping.

Once again, the Blues failed to make the most of their numerical advantage and were fortunate not to fall behind when Scarlets fly-half Bowen missed a penalty.

But Bowen atoned for his miss seven minutes into the second half with sweetly struck long range penalty to open the scoring.

Blues fly-half Robinson missed a glorious chance to level the scores just before the hour mark, but he sliced a relatively easy penalty attempt wide.

Said Scarlets forwards coach Paul Moriarty: "We knew we had to win to keep ourselves in the race for the title. So we're delighted."

Blues coach Dai Young was frustrated that his side failed to make the most of their dominance.

He said: "Credit to Llanelli's defence, but we had enough possession to win about four games."


Blues: Morgan, Walne, J Robinson, Muller, Vaughton, N Robinson, Powell, Yapp, Lewis (capt), Evans, Quinnell, Moore, Cockbain, Sowden-Taylor, Thomas.

Replacements: Allen, A Moore, Fourie, Thomas, Senekal, Brownrigg, Baugh.

Scarlets: B Davies, Evans, Selley, Watkins, Finau, Bowen, Phillips, Maddocks, Gravelle, Davies, Cooper (capt), Jones, Wyatt, Boobyer, Lewis.

Replacements: Thiel, Yelland, G Williams, Griffiths, Burn, Rees, L Davies.

Referee: Donal Courtney (Ireland).




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