Scarlets await red-letter day

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The Independent Online
Llanelli 56 Newport 22

There was an emotional farewell for one of Llanelli's most famous sons, the skipper Phil Davies, in this rout, but the real business will come tomorrow night.

That is when the Scarlets travel to Cardiff to play their part in a thrilling final day shoot-out to decide the destination of this season's title. With Cardiff having drawn 27-27 at Pontypridd on Friday night, and Neath having scored 10 tries in their 58-31 triumph at Treorchy at the weekend, it means that the beaten Swalec Cup finalists go into the last round of matches with a six-try advantage.

Llanelli may have run in 10 tries against Newport, four of them coming from the makeshift full-back, Wayne Proctor, but their task tomorrow will be not to concede seven or more tries.

Cardiff's biggest chance of retaining the title is in securing maximum bonus points and hoping Pontypridd can restrict Neath to fewer than seven tries. It promises to be a nail-biting, mathematically complicated and thrilling night of rugby.

The re-run of the cup final at The Gnoll looks the toughest task on paper and proud Ponty have the meanest defence in the First Division. They have conceded the least number of bonus points this season, five, and no team has managed to score five tries against them to pick up two extra points. If Neath could secure maximum bonus points by scoring seven tries it would make it virtually impossible for Cardiff to win the league, but Pontypridd have only twice conceded seven tries in six seasons of Heineken League rugby.

Meanwhile, Leeds-bound Davies will sit-out the frenzied finale, because of a knee injury.

Scorers: Llanelli Tries Proctor 4, D Evans 3, Boobyer, Moon, G Evans; Conversions Pearce 3. Newport Tries Davies, Rees, Palfrey; Conversions Rees 2; Penalty Rees.

Llanelli: W Proctor; D Evans, N Boobyer, M Wintle, G Evans; S Pearce, R Moon (J Griffiths, 23); R Evans, J Hyatt, H Williams-Jones, P Davies (capt, L Williams, 76), P Jones, C Quinnell, C Wyatt, P Morris.

Newport: S Davies; C Arnold (J Lowry 47), D Hughes, A Palfrey, O Thomas; G Rees, C Ellis; S Duggan, I Jones (A Peacock, 70), S Cronk, M Workman, D Waters, A Carter (I Gough, 63), R Goodey, C Brown.

Referee: C Thomas (Bryn Coch).