Davies puts the colour back in Scarlets' cheeks

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The Independent Online

The Scarlets registered their first Heineken Cup win in 12 outings yesterday to put paid to Stade Français' last hopes of progressing to the knock-out stages at Parc y Scarlets yesterday. The last time Scarlets were successful in Europe, they beat Munster in the 2006-07 quarter-finals. The 31-17 victory was earned with two tries from centre Jon Davies and one for David Lyons, as well as four penalties by Stephen Jones. The Scarlets raced into an impressive 13-0 lead in the opening nine minutes, sent on their way by a fine converted try from No 8 Lyons.

Stade, who were desperate for a win to keep their cup hopes alive, got themselves on the scoreboard on 16 minutes when Guillaume Boussès went over in the left corner. The try was awarded after the intervention of the TV match official. Despite losing Lyons to the blood-bin following a clash of heads with Stade outside-half Juan Hernandez and having to replace flanker Johnathan Edwards, the Scarlets continued to play a positive brand of rugby which was rewarded with a third penalty for Jones on 32 minutes.

Stade's chances of making inroads into the home side's 16-5 interval lead were dealt a setback when Hernandez did not come out for the second half.

It mattered little to the Welsh as a second try arrived on 55 minutes, Davies running in from 25 metres out after an exquisite inside pass from his fellow centre Regan King. The Scarlets extended their lead to 24-5 with a fourth penalty goal for Jones.

But a wayward pass from replacement hooker Ken Owens saw Boussès intercept and run in unopposed from halfway. However, the wing's drop-kick conversion from right in front of the posts rebounded off the left upright.

A fine Scarlets performance was rounded off when Davies raced in from halfway for his side's third try. But Stade had the final say when wing Mirco Bergamasco went over in the right corner for his side's third try.

The Ospreys head coach Sean Holley rued his side's lack of incisiveness after they crashed 17-15 in Perpignan on Saturday. With 23 minutes remaining the apparently dispirited Ospreys looked destined for absolutely nothing at 17-0 down, but they at least roused themselves to claim a bonus point with tries from Shane Williams and Jonny Vaughton. "The boys are very tired. We had a good chance and we are down because we weren't clinical enough," Holley said.

Any joy at gaining that bonus point will, however, be tarnished by the loss of star Wales full-back Lee Byrne with a leg injury midway through the first half. Also on Saturday, Glasgow coach Sean Lineen was delighted with his side's shock victory over French champions Toulouse

Graeme Morrison, Kelly Brown and Max Evans scored the tries and Dan Parks collected 18 points with three conversions, three penalties and a drop goal in the 33-26 win.

"It was an absolutely fantastic result and I am so proud of every one of the guys," Lineen said. "They stuck to the game-plan and it worked a treat. We kept the ball well and Dan Parks was simply outstanding.

"Having said that, it was a real team effort, with the front row having to work their socks off. Naturally, everyone connected with the squad is totally delighted."

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