Llanelli winning the title race but losing Jones

Llanelli Scarlets 36 Glasgow 26
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The Independent Online

If nothing else, there is going to be a fantastic finish to the first season of a full blown Celtic League. Leaders Ulster failed to pick up a bonus point on Friday night, giving their two rivals for the title, the Newport Gwent Dragons and the Llanelli Scarlets, the chance to make up ground.

If nothing else, there is going to be a fantastic finish to the first season of a full blown Celtic League. Leaders Ulster failed to pick up a bonus point on Friday night, giving their two rivals for the title, the Newport Gwent Dragons and the Llanelli Scarlets, the chance to make up ground.

While the Dragons had to wait until injury time for their bonus point in winning away in Connacht, the Scarlets made it a full house much earlier in their second "home" game of the season at Wrexham's Racecourse Ground. With two games to play the Scarlets are a point ahead of Ulster, who they meet at Stradey Park in the last round of matches, and the Dragons are one point back in third.

If this was not the Scarlets' most efficient display of the season it just about did the job. Glasgow were gritty and committed throughout and felt they had achieved something at the end when Danny Millard grabbed a fourth try to seal an invaluable bonus point.

Wales scrum-half Dwayne Peel scored two second-half tries, although off the field all the talk was about which club his Test half-back partner, Stephen Jones, will play for next season.

All week the smart money had been on a switch to the Zurich Premiership with the Leicester Tigers, although French club Montferrand re-entered the equation late in the week. The Scarlets are convinced they will lose the services of their key man, although the fact he has asked for more time to make his decision at least gives them hope.

Jones weighed in with his usual quota of points, kicking three penalties and two conversions, and will be a huge loss. But if he can stay focussed over the last two rounds of competition, when his team face an away trip to the Ospreys before that shoot-out with Ulster, he could leave on a high note, with a championship medal in his pocket.

The Scarlets' director of rugby, Gareth Jenkins, did his best to protect some of his bigger name players from a long game in the sun at Wrexham, knowing full well there are two huge games still to be won.

But those four tries from Peel, twice, Chris Wyatt and Dave Hodges have given the Scarlets the edge as they bid for the Celtic League title and top billing among the four Welsh teams who will compete in next season's Heineken Cup.

Llanelli: Tries Peel 2, Wyatt, Hodges; Penalties Jones 3, Bowen; Conversions Jones 2; Glasgow: Tries Lamont, Pinder, Henderson, Millard; Conversions Parks 3.

Llanelli: B Davies; G Evans, M Taylor (M Watkins 40), T Selley, S Finau; S Jones (G Bowen 68), D Peel; I Thomas, R McBryde (A Gravelle 74), J Thiel (J Davies 74), V Cooper, C Wyatt, S Easterby (capt), I Boobyer (S Quinnell 40), D Hodges.

Glasgow: S Moffat, R Kerr (G Metcalfe 10), D Millard, A Henderson (C Howarth 78), S Lamont, D Parks (capt), S Pinder (G Beveridge 78); A Kelly (M Proudfoot 69), S Lawson, M Proudfoot (B Prescott 52), J Beardshaw (R McKay 69), A Hall, A Wilson (R Reid 64), P Dearlove (Reid 32-41), D Macfadyen (P Dearlove 40-41).

Referee: D Courtney (Ireland)

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