It was a relief to all Scarlets fans to finally get to see some rugby live instead of having to read about the petty goings on in Welsh rugby instigated by the conduct of the WRU in the media. The sadness felt at George North signing for Northampton was put to one side as both players and fans alike put in one of their best performances of the season.
It was with an apprehensive atmosphere around Parc y Scarlets that saw the west Wales region take on table topping Glasgow. Their Scottish visitors had been in rampant form in their most recent games and it was set to be a hugely difficult and important contest as the Scarlets looked to secure the win that would see them back in a playoff spot.
It was a physical encounter, with the Scarlets getting the best out of their forwards to start, with fly half Owen Williams slotting over two easy penalties to gain a 6-0 lead. The welsh pack stepped up to the mark yet again after a ferocious period of pick and goes saw recently re-signed Welsh international hooker Ken Owens go crashing over to score, Williams adding the extras.
Glasgow proved their metal though and fought back to earn themselves penalties, with fly half Jackson slotting two over to inch Glasgow back into the game, yet the ever aware Owen Williams saw an opportunity to extend Scarlets’ lead further as he calmly slotted over a drop goal.
With ‘Sospan Fach’ resounding around the stadium, the Scarlets headed into the half time break leading 16-6, never once having looked out of control of the match.
In the second half it was the Welsh region that came out firing yet again. With the forwards making deep inroads into Glasgow territory, the ball was then sent through the slick hands of the backs, with wing George North’s dart on the outside and quick hands to Liam Williams saw the full back go crashing over. Another Owen Williams penalty soon followed just minutes later.
As Glasgow started unloading their bench, they started to work themselves back into the game. Crashing ball with their forwards and darting, dangerous runs from their backs saw the Scarlets placed under huge pressure yet their defence held firm. At the 60 minute mark, the Scarlets slotted over yet another three points to take the match out of sight.
Despite a frantic last ten minutes, where replacement scrum half Gareth Davies was judged to have been held up over the line, and prop Rhodri Williams stopped just short of the line, the Scarlets were unable to add to their tally in the face of a stern Glasgow defence.
It was a resounding victory for the Scarlets, with one of their most complete performances of the season. They are for now back in the 4th spot in the league, and will hope to build on this win in their next two home games against the Cardiff Blues and Treviso. Scarlets fans were boosted even further by the announcement that international centre Scott Williams has re-signed to stay with them. The only slight blip on the night was that they were unable to push on for a try bonus point. With such a close run in, they will be hoping that they don’t live to rue their lack of bonus points.
Glasgow will be left hurt and annoyed by this defeat. It was an out of character performance after their recent games, but they physically could not compete with the Scarlets on the day. Their next match is a home game against another play off rival the Ospreys, and if they are to get back to winning ways they will need a big improvement.
Full time score: Scarlets 29 – 6 Glasgow Warriors
Scarlets : Liam Williams; George North, Jonathan Davies, Scott Williams, Andy Fenby; Owen Williams, Aled Davies, Phil John, Ken Owens, Samson Lee, George Earle, Johan Synman, Aaron Shingler, Rob McCusker (capt), Johnathan Edwards.
Replacements: Matthew Rees, Rhodri Jones, Deacon Manu, Sione Timani, Josh Turnbull, Gareth Davies, Aled Thomas, Gareth Maule.
Glasgow : Stuart Hogg, Sean Maitland, Mark Bennett, Peter Horne, DTH van der Merwe, Ruaridh Jackson, Henry Pyrgos, Gordon Reid, Pat MacArthur, Moray Low, Tom Ryder, Al Kellock (Captain), Josh Strauss, John Barclay, Ryan Wilson.
Replacements: Dougie Hall, Ryan Grant, Ed Kalman, Tim Swinson, Rob Harley, Niko Matawalu, Duncan Weir, Sean Lamont.