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Ken Borland



Welsh may paint themselves as paupers, but Scarlets push Stormers all the way 0

Posted on June 24, 2022 by Ken

Welsh rugby may be painting themselves as the paupers of the United Rugby Championship, but the Scarlets pushed the Stormers all the way in their match in Llanelli on Saturday night, the visitors scoring a last-minute try to win 26-21.

Winning the match at the death meant the Stormers have won the South African Shield and will have a home quarterfinal.

A poor start by the Stormers saw them trailing 10-0 inside seven minutes as Scarlets flyhalf Sam Costelow kicked a penalty and the home side then fashioned a superb try. Scrumhalf Gareth Davies’ lovely little chip over the defensive line was taken by centre Jonathan Davies, who then passed inside for midfield partner Johnny Williams to score.

The Stormers did reply in the 14th minute with a fine try, eighthman Evan Roos storming off a scrum and centre Damian Willemse making further ground before the visitors switched to the left. Flank Hacjivah Dayimani put in a great run out wide and then wing Leolin Zas just had way too elusive feet for the last defender.

But Scarlets still led 16-7 as the first half was coming to a close. The Stormers, for all their razzle-dazzle at the back, dominant scrum and Roos’s bossing of the gain-line, had little to show for it.

But the impressive Roos once again put them on the front foot in the 38th minute, and after the Stormers had bashed away on the line for quite some time, the Springbok hopeful then got the ball again and crossed over with ease for the try.

It meant the Stormers only trailed 16-14 at the break and they started the second half brilliantly by taking the lead for the first time in the 42nd minute. Slick hands by flyhalf Manie Libbok and Willemse saw outside centre Ruhan Nel take advantage of a dreadful defensive miscalculation by Scarlets, roaring through a big gap and powering over the tryline.

Leading 21-16, it all seemed set for the Stormers, chasing a second-place finish on the log, to pull away.

But instead they delivered a poor second half.

Some poor decision-making loosened their grip on the game and then flank Deon Fourie received a controversial yellow card in the 59th minute, for a high tackle. He was unfortunate because contact was initially with the chest/shoulder region but he then slid up to hit the chin, as prop Frans Malherbe completed the tackle.

Scarlets piled on the pressure in the final quarter, but determined defence by the Stormers managed to keep them out while they were reduced to 14 men. But another ruck penalty awarded to the home side put Scarlets back on attack and, after concerted pressure on the line, they went wide for wing Ryan Conbeer to score and level the scores. Liam Williams was not able to convert from near to the touchline, though, meaning Ospreys won the Welsh Shield and qualified for the European Champions Cup.

The Stormers rallied though and spent the closing minutes in the Scarlets 22. In the final minute, fullback Warrick Gelant joined the line and threw a long pass out wide to Nel, who is such a powerful runner and he cut inside, through Liam Williams’ tackle, to score the matchwinning try.

The bonus point win means mission accomplished for the Stormers, but coach John Dobson has much to mull.

Scorers

ScarletsTries: Johnny Williams, Liam Williams. Conversion: Sam Costelow. Penalties: Costelow (3).

StormersTries: Leolin Zas, Evan Roos, Ruhan Nel (2). Conversions: Manie Libbok (3).

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