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Page last updated at 19:44 GMT, Thursday, 1 January 2009

Scarlets 29-24 Dragons

Scarlets (10) 29
Tries: King, John Pens: Jones 5 Cons: S Jones 2
Dragons (17) 24

Tries: Fussell 2 Pen: Connor Cons: Connor 2

Stephen Jones
Stephen Jones kicked five penalties and two conversions for the Scarlets

Stephen Jones kicked 19 points as the Scarlets rounded off the Magners League Welsh derbies with a victory at an icy Parc y Scarlets.

But the home side had to come back from 17-10 down at half-time after two Richard Fussell converted tries.

Despite a 29-17 lead, the hosts were made to sweat when Shaun Connor went over to grab a losing bonus point.

Two tries from Regan King and Phil John were enough to help lift the Scarlets into third place in the table.

Jones, Matthew Rees and captain Simon Easterby all returned to the side after being rested for the 20-6 reversal at the Ospreys, while the Dragons gave a debut to prop Nigel Hall.

The Scarlets cruised into a 10-0 lead inside nine minutes as there looked like there was only one side in the game early on.

Breaking two tackles Regan King zipped in for the opening try in the seventh minute, a score converted by Stephen Jones, who put over a penalty goal after scrum-half Martin Roberts had been high-tackled just in front of the Dragons' posts.

But just as the Scarlets looked like they were going to build a commanding early lead back came the Dragons to score the two converted Fussell tries in the space of 11 minutes to take a 17-10 lead into the break.

First Fussell slid in at the left corner after Shaun Connor had set his backline going with a long pass, and he was over in the same corner again after good work by Jamie Ringer.

Colin Charvis and Rhys Thomas both went close to scoring tries before f Connor made it 17 unanswered points for the Dragons with a penalty in the final minute of the half.

But he missed a relatively easy penalty in the second minute after the break which would have given the dragons a 10-point cushion.


After Connor dropped a ball just outside his 22 the Scarlets earned a Stephen Jones penalty goal to cut the deficit to four points.

Just before the hour mark breaks by Stephen Jones and Jonathan Davies set up a converted try for Phil John to give the Scarlets back the lead.

That 20-17 advantage became 26-17 with two more penalties from Jones on 60, 64 and 68 minutes.

But if the Scarlets thought they were home and dry they were made to think again as a Shaun Connor converted a try cut the score to 29-24.

Scarlets coach Nigel Davies said:
"We won the the game, we lost it, we won it then almost lost it again - it was a real rollercoaster.

"It was very frustrating because we could have gone on to score maybe four tries in that game because we showed glimpses of what we could do.

"As soon as they scored a try our confidence drained out and we lost our way - it was another key half-time team-talk as there were some basics we had to put back into our game.

"In the first half some of our kicking was appalling and we put a lot of pressure on ourselves then we couldn't contest on our kicks.

"But that changed in the second half as the group was refocused as we kept our composure and built our game and it paid dividends."

Dragons coach Paul Turner said:
"I was extremely disappointed as yet again we made too many elementary errors in that third quarter of the game - and that is not the first time that has happened this season.

"It seems as if we don't like being in front for too long and there were two or three instances where we kicked so poorly that we allowed the Scarlets back into the game where they were just about to disappear out of it.

"That was where the game was won, it wasn't through any exceptional play from them, just poor play from us."

Scarlets: Morgan Stoddart; Gareth Morris; Regan King, Jon Davies; Mark Jones; Stephen Jones, Martin Roberts; Phil John, Matthew Rees, Deacon Manu, Dominic Day, Simon Maling, Simon Easterby (c), Johnathan Edwards, David Lyons.
Replacements: Rhys Priestland for Stoddart (74), Darren Daniel for Morris (59), Lou Reed for Maling (61), D. Jones for Edwards (75). Not Used: Craig Cross, Mahonri Schwalger, Gavin Cattle.

Dragons: Jason Tovey; Gareth Wyatt, Rory Sidey, Ashley Smith, Richard Fussell; Shaun Connor, Wayne Evans; Nigel Hall, Tom Willis (capt), Rhys Thomas, Adam Jones, Hoani MacDonald, Jamie Ringer, Lewis Evans, Colin Charvis.
Replacements: Tom Isaacs for Evans (71), Adam Black for Hall (55), Steve Jones for Willis (55), Dan Lydiatt for Ringer (69). Not Used: Andrew Hall, Gareth Maule, Phillip Dolman.

Referee: James Jones (WRU)

Att: 7,050

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see also
BBC Sport Wales coverage
28 Oct 08 |  Wales
Magners Celtic League
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union
Heineken Cup
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union
Anglo-Welsh Cup
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union

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