Bowen's polished boot takes shine off Cardiff

Llanelli Scarlets 35 Cardiff Blues 20
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Scarlets had Gareth Bowen to thank for yesterday's Celtic League win at Stradey Park, the 24-year-old fly-half producing a flawless display with the boot to leave the Blues kicking themselves for their indiscipline and missed chances.

Bowen, taking his chance in the absence of Stephen Jones on World Cup duty, kicked nine out of nine for a 25-point haul in an entertaining though error-strewn contest.

The Blues did not help themselves by receiving two yellow cards - including Craig Quinnell, just back from a six-week suspension - but they still looked the more threatening with the ball in hand.

''When you look at the scoreboard, it's difficult to see how we won by that much,'' admitted Scarlets' head coach Nigel Davies. ''We are a million miles from where we want to be, but Gareth has been phenomenal for us and I'm delighted for him.'' It was appropriate that Bowen should open and close the scoring - his seventh and final penalty was a monstrous effort from inside his own half.

For all that, Cardiff were on top in the first half when they scored all their points with the breeze at their backs. Lock Andy Moore powered over for their first try after 15 minutes and they struck again when the home side were attacking the Blues' line with men to spare. Skipper Leigh Davies's intended pass to Scott Quinnell was intercepted by Lee Abdul and the wing sprinted 75 metres for a try totally against the run of play. Fly-half Nicky Robinson added both conversions and two penalties to put his side in charge.

But Bowen chipped away at the deficit with four further penalties and the Scarlets' second try came when the replacement scrum-half Michael Phillips sent out a booming pass to Tal Selley and the wing finished off in style.

Llanelli Scarlets: B Davies; T Selley, M Watkins, L Davies (capt), S Finau; G Bowen, D Burn (M Phillips, 65); P John (D Maddocks, 51), R Williams (A Yelland, 65), J Davies, V Cooper, A Jones (J Griffiths, 78), E Lewis, I Boobyer, S Quinnell.

Cardiff Blues: C Morgan; N Walne, J Robinson, M Allen, L Abdul; N Robinson, Andrew Moore (R Powell, 72); J Yapp (K Fourie, 64), G Williams, B Evans, C Quinnell, Andy Moore (apt), J Brownrigg, R Sowden-Taylor, N Thomas.

Referee: T Redmond (Ireland).