Home European Challenge Cup Scarlets book semi final spot

Scarlets book semi final spot


Scarlets booked themselves a place in the Champions Cup semi-finals after they beat La Rochelle 29-17 at Parc y Scarlets on Good Friday.

Tries from Rhys Patchell and Scott Williams, along with the boot of Leigh Halfpenny, saw them into the last four in a deserved home win.

Scarlets must now wait to see whether they will tackle either Leinster or Saracens in the semi-finals, but they will fear no one in Europe.

It was not the high-scoring affair many predicted in Llanelli as La Rochelle in particular looked to slow the game down when they could.

They went in just 12-10 adrift of their hosts thanks to a try from Romain Sazy and a conversion and penalty from scrum-half Alexi Bales.

But the Scarlets could always lean on the reliable boot of Halfpenny, who was faultless in the first period as he sent over four penalties.

His first came on five minutes as Sazy was caught offside, but four minutes later the lock was deemed to have grounded a kick for a try.

Halfpenny though then struck two penalties that pushed his charges 9-7 in front before both sides lost a man to injury, with Levani Botia joining Paul Asquith in leaving the action. The influential La Rochelle flanker was replaced by Kevin Gourdon but proved a big loss to them.

Scarlets looked to capitalise on his absence and Halfpenny extended the lead on 26 minutes following Pierre Bourgarit’s off-the-ball hit. However, Bales managed to cancel that out late in the half and despite having leaked seven penalties so far, the visitors were in touch.

Crucially the Scarlets got the first points after the break when Dany Priso was penalised for not rolling away and Halfpenny did the rest.

However, the French side then enjoyed a sustained period of possession in the Scarlets red zone that led to them going for the corner in favour of three points. But the Scarlets held firm on their own try-line which meant they kept their 15-10 lead intact reaching the hour.

It got so much better for the Welsh region one minute later too as Hadleigh Parkes’ line break on the 22 led to quick ball and Patchell backed himself and crossed, with Halfpenny adding the extras to make it a 22-10 buffer. It looked like being the Scarlets going through.

They did have to battle the closing stages a man down when Will Boyde was yellow carded for a ruck offence but they escaped unhurt and in fact had a chance to add to their lead on 73 minutes when Sazy was penalised. Halfpenny though missed his first attempt of the evening.

It didn’t matter as James Davies sent in centre Williams on 76 minutes to put the seal on a comfortable win in the end, with Pierre Boudehent grabbing a late consolation try for La Rochelle at the death.

The scorers:

For Scarlets:
Tries: Patchell, Williams
Cons: Halfpenny 2
Pens: Halfpenny 5
Yellow Card: Boyde

For La Rochelle:
Tries: Sazy, Boudehent
Cons: Bales, Noble
Pen: Bales

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  1. Refereeing corruption seriously needs to be investigated by an organization that is trustworthy like Scotland Yard or something.
    Maybe even Europol.

  2. @DavidS: ref to scarlets, this is a warning. 5 minutes later they are back on defence on their own line, ref calls captain. You were on a warning, warning is back on after that penalty.

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