For the Scarlets to make the playoffs in the Rabodirect PRO12 for the first time, it should have been an evening of celebration. Their opponents Treviso however had a different idea entirely as the Italian side comprehensively outplayed the Llanelli based region.
It was with an air of nerves in the air that the Scarlets took to the field knowing that a win would see them through to the playoffs. The game started hesitantly from both sides, although it was the Scarlets who opened the scoring first with an Owen Williams penalty.
Treviso hit back straight away with a well worked try in the corner, further cementing their intent to not only give the Scarlets a game but to get the win that would give them their best ever finish in the league. Burton added the extras to give the Italians a 7-3 lead.
It was through the forwards and especially the scrum that the Scarlets were getting the upper hand and they soon worked their way to another penalty, drawing themselves back within a point. The first half progressed in an error strewn fashion from both sides, as neither team could get fully firing and had to settle for a continued exchange of penalties. The half time break came with the Scarlets still trailing by one point at 12-13.
It was Treviso that opened the scoring second half, with another Burton penalty, yet it looked like fortune had turned in the Scarlets’ favour as two moments of indiscipline led to two Treviso yellow cards in the space of two minutes. It would seem that with the Italians down to 13 men, it would be the perfect moment for the Scarlets to press their advantage.
With a scrum close to the Treviso line, the Scarlets were in the best position possible, yet the ball spilled loose and Treviso hacked it down the field and earned themselves yet another penalty. Just a minute later, Vosawai crossed for the Italians with yet another good try.
The Scarlets were now desperate to work their way back into the game but as panic seemed to set in, so the errors follow. Time after time ball was spilled in contact handing all momentum to Treviso, and whenever they had an opportunity to attack a gut wrenching knock on would follow. Their clearest chance to get themselves back in the game was when they had a clear two on one overlap yet centre Davies drifted too wide as he passed the ball to winger Fenby, who was easily bundled into touch.
With just fifteen minutes remaining, with the Scarlets needing to score next, they were dealt a killer blow by their Italian rivals as Morisi crossed for a try, taking them out of sight.
Treviso continued to push from strength to strength as the Scarlets’ defensive structure crumbled. With seven minutes to go, Treviso grossed for their bonus point try that would gift them their tenth victory this season; their highest total of wins ever.
The Scarlets despite a lacklustre display continued to plug away and full back Liam Williams, one of the few standout Scarlets players, crossed for a deserved try in the 80th minute.
It was a disappointing performance from the home side who would have wanted to secure the win to give themselves confidence heading into the playoffs next week. Whether it was complacency, panic or the sheer emotion of the occasion that got to the players is irrelevant, they themselves will know that they cannot perform so badly again if they want to progress further in the playoffs in their match against Ulster next week.
For Treviso they were deserved victors. Their pack, especially their backrow being led by Zanni, worked seamlessly together. They had dangerous runners in their backs and easily outplayed the Scarlets. They finish the season 7th in the table, just four points shy of Munster, and having dished out more than one hefty win this season they will be an even tougher prospect next year, which can only be good for the league.
Full time score: Scarlets 17 – 41 Treviso
Scarlets: 15. Liam Williams, 14. George North, 13. Jonathan Davies, 12. Scott Williams, 11. Andy Fenby, 10. Owen Williams, 9. Aled Davies, 1. Phil John, 2. Ken Owens, 3. Samson Lee, 4. George Earle, 5. Johan Snyman, 6. Aaron Shingler, 7. Josh Turnbull, 8. Keiran Murphy
Replacements: 16. Matthew Rees, 17. Rhodri Jones, 18. Jacobie Adriaanse, 19. Jake Ball, 20. Sione Timani, 21. Gareth Davies, 22. Rhys Priestland, 23. Gareth Maule
Treviso: 15. Brendan Williams, 14. Christian Loamanu, 13. Michele Campagnaro, 12. Doppies La Grange, 11. Ludovico Nitoglia, 10. Kristopher Burton, 9. Edoardo Gori, 1. Michele Rizzo, 2. Giovanni Maistri, 3. Bees Roux, 4. Francesco Minto, 5. Antonio Pavanello, 6. Manoa Vosawai, 7. Alessandro Zanni, 8. Robert Barbieri
Replacements: 16. Enrico Ceccato, 17. Alberto De Marchi, 18. Ignacio Fernandex-Rouyet, 19. Valerio Bernabo, 20. Simone Favaro, 21. Fabio Semenzato, 22. Jams Ambrosini, 23. Luca Morisi