Rugby Union: Scarlets take the honours

Llanelli 37 Neath 11
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The Independent Online
THE GOOD times are back at Stradey Park with the home side now only one step away from making a clean sweep of Welsh rugby's major titles.

With the Challenge Trophy already secured, this victory added the Premier Division title. Now the Scarlets have to face Swansea on 15 May to hold onto the Swalec Cup and try to make it a trophy hat-trick.

Despite having two home games to play this week, Llanelli's form throughout the season left them in need of only one point to take the league title for the first time since 1993.

While Llanelli had the title in mind, Neath needed a win to keep alive their hopes of a European place. With so much at stake, and on a dust bowl of a pitch, it was not surprising the standard in the first-half was never very high.

The referee, Paul Adams, got fed up of the sound of his own voice at the rucks and mauls as he tried, largely in vain, to stop the players from killing the ball. In the end he lost his patience and sent two Neath players to the sin-bin, the hooker and captain Mefin Davies and then his namesake, the centre Tristan.

Lock Glyn Llewellyn then made it an invidious hat-trick 10 minutes into the second half when he was sent to the cooler for charging into opposite number Mike Voyle at a kick-off. That meant Neath played 30 minutes with 14 men.

Despite that they managed to stay in touch throughout the first half and restricted Llanelli to four Byron Hayward penalties. The turning point came eight minutes after the break when the Neath scrum half Mark Davies had his kick charged down by prop Martin Madden. The ball bounced kindly for Rupert Moon who scampered in for the first try.

That was the score Llanelli needed to settle their nerves and from then on the game became a champions celebration. Craig Warlow weaved in and out of four Neath defenders on a mesmerising run of 50 metres for the second try, Hywel Jenkins flopped over from a metre out when Moon found his path blocked, Wyatt rounded it off with a superb touchline drive.

Llanelli: C Warlow; W Proctor, D Rogers, S Jones, G Evans; B Hayward, R Moon; M Madden, R McBryde (capt), J Davies, T Copsey, M Voyle, D Hodges, I Boobyer, H Jenkins.

Neath: D Case; D Williams, D Tieuti, T Davies, S Williams; M Pearce, M Davies; Duncan Jones, M Davies (capt), D Penisini, G Llewellyn, S Martin, Dale Jones, R Francis, B Sinkinson.