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Last Updated: Friday, 17 December, 2004, 20:45 GMT
Scarlets 39-22 Borders
CELTIC LEAGUE
Aisea Havili takes on the Borders defence
Scarlets (22) 39
Tries: Bowen, Havili (2), D Jones, Selley, Watkins
Cons: Bowen (2), A Thomas
Pen: Bowen
Borders (3) 22
Tries: Danielli, Walker, Stewart
Cons: Hore (2)
Pen: Hore
The Scarlets' revival continued with a six-try, bonus-point win over league bottom side Borders at Stradey Park.

First-half tries from Gareth Bowen, Aisea Havili and Dafydd Jones meant the result was never in doubt.

The Borders rallied with Nikki Walker, Simon Danielli and Colin Stewart tries and seven points from Charlie Hore.

But second-half scores from Tal Selley, Havili and outstanding man-of-the-match Matthew Watkins gave the home side maximum points.

With the home side's pack dominating the early exchanges, it took just two minutes for Bowen to open the scoring with a penalty.

He followed that with a converted try 10 minutes later, the Borders defence stretched to breaking point by a multi-phased attack before the fly-half side-stepped over from short range.

A Bowen cross kick set up the second try, a kind bounce falling to wing Havili who eased over from 40m.

Our attacking play is getting better, but our defence needs improvement, we're conceding two or three tries every game
Matthew Watkins
Stuart Moffatt should have been given a try for Borders after good work from Scotland wing Walker, but the officials ruled a knock on when the ball had been palmed back over the line by Scarlets scrum-half Mike Phillips.

The Llanelli team rubbed salt into the wound when Watkins' midfield step was supported by Jon Mills, the flanker feeding Jones for a try under the posts.

And the visitors blew a chance to double their score before the break when Hore screwed a simple 25m penalty wide.

The Scots' spirits were boosted straight after the break as Danielli instigated and finished the Borders' best try.

The pacy winger broke Selley's tackle deep in his own half, sprinted upfield, then exchanged passes with Kelly Brown before crossing in the corner.

Selley made amends just two minutes later, profiting from another clean Watkins midfield break to sprint in from 30m for the bonus-point try.

Scarlets prop Dave Hewett
Ex-All Blacks prop Dave Hewett made his Scarlets debut
A well-worked, multi-phase attack by the Borders saw the ball reach Walker on the charge, and the big wing was too powerful for Garan Evans to hold out from five metres.

But straight from the restart Watkins again scythed straight through the visitors' midfield defence for a superb individual try.

Replacement Dwayne Peel broke past the tiring Borders defence to feed Havili for his second try, before Stewart got a late Borders consolation as the game ticked away.

"It wasn't a good start to the season but we're building now," said Watkins after the game.

"We've gone back to basics, back to our forwards, and our attacking play is getting better.

"Our defence needs improvement, though, we're conceding two or three tries every game.

"That's a worry when we have two massive games over the Christmas period against the Ospreys and Dragons."


Scarlets: G Evans (capt); A Havili, M Watkins, S Finau, T Selley; G Bowen, M Phillips; P John, R McBryde, D Hewett, V Cooper, A Jones, C Wyatt, J Mills, D Jones.
Replacements: J Davies, M Rees, B Griffiths, A Gravelle, D Peel, Arwel Thomas, B Davies.

Borders: S Moffatt; S Danielli, C NacRae, J Pattison, N Walker; C Hore, J Weston; P Thomson (capt), W Kay, B Douglas, C Stewart, S MacLeod, K Brown, A Miller, M Blair.
Replacements: G Cross, R Haggerstone, T McGee, J Dalziel, D Moore, G Morton, A Dickson

Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)




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Scarlets prop Dave Hewett



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