REPORT: Scarlets ‘A’ 10 Leinster ‘A’ 16
September 22, 2018 / Dave Mervyn
Noel Reid kicked Leinster ‘A’ to a 16-10 victory over Scarlets ‘A’ in Llanelli as they kept pace with Munster ‘A’ at the top of the Celtic Cup’s Irish Conference table.
Reid, the once-capped Ireland international, was responsible for 11 points off the kicking tee to help Peter Smyth’s young charges overcome a stubborn Scarlets outfit in west Wales and make it three wins out of three in the development competition.
Leinster ‘A’ could only manage one try courtesy of centre Conor O’Brien but they were good value for the result, which leaves them level on points with their Munster counterparts – 14 each – with three rounds remaining, including the provinces’ final round clash in mid-October.
Leinster ‘A’ came firing out of the blocks at Parc y Scarlets and were able to exert pressure on the home side’s try-line due to their driving lineout. Scarlets ‘A’ managed to bring down the maul but the ball was recycled with O’Brien crossing for the game’s first try, just four minutes in.
Scarlets ‘A’ full-back Morgan Williams was then successful with a 10th minute penalty Conor O’Brien was penalised for being off his feet. Reid cancelled that out with three points of his own, punishing a Scarlets ‘A’ infringement at the breakdown just when Leinster ‘A’ were beginning to build some pressure.
The Scarlets outfit missed out on their first try when referee Mike English penalised them for obstruction after a powerful lineout maul had crossed the visitors’ whitewash. Leinster ‘A’, who had flanker Ronan Watters on board as a late inclusion, were able to absorb further pressure before half-time to lead 10-3 at the turnaround.
They seized the initiative on the resumption, just as they had done in the first half. A deliberate knock-on saw Scarlets ‘A’ lose goal-kicker Williams to the sin-bin, and Reid capitalised on that error and also added another penalty near the hour mark to open up a 13-point lead.
Scarlets ‘A’ dug their heels in, gaining a foothold in the province’s 22 after Hugh O’Sullivan, a Leinster senior debutant last Saturday, was forced over his own try-line by Ioan Nicholas. The West Walians built through the phases but scrum half Kieran Hardy knocked on at a crucial juncture.
In wet and cold conditions, the hosts battled on and a superb run down the touchline from Wales international Steff Evans saw him step his way past four defenders before putting replacement scrum half Declan Smith over for a 72nd minute try. Williams converted and the gap was down to six points.
Patrick Patterson, who touched down twice for Leinster ‘A’ last week, was sprung from the bench and very nearly sealed the victory today when he charged down a Steffan Hughes clearance – only to knock the ball forward with the try-line at his mercy.
Scarlets ‘A’ pushed hard for the winner in the dying minutes, but again the visitors’ well-drilled defence remained resolute as they held on for a hard-fought success at the Parc. Leinster ‘A’ are back on home soil to host the Ospreys Development team, the Welsh Conference leaders, at Energia Park next Friday night (kick-off 7.30pm).
REFEREE: Mike English (WRU)
Morgan Williams; Ryan Conbeer, Corey Baldwin, Ioan Nicholas, Steff Evans; Steffan Hughes CAPTAIN, Kieran Hardy; Rhys Fawcett, Marc Jones, Simon Gardiner, Chris Long, Tom Price, Tom Phillips, Shaun Evans, Joe Miles.
REPLACEMENTS USED: Javan Sebastian for Gardiner (half-time), Declan Smith for Hardy, Tomi Lewis for Conbeer (both 65 mins), Dafydd Hughes for M Jones, Stuart Worrell for Miles (both 71), Jamie Hughes for Fawcett (73). NOT USED: Morgan Jones, Steff Marshall.