Wednesday 24 May 2017

Nacewa steps up to plate

Scarlets 10 Leinster 15

John Fallon

It was billed as a night to remember as Scarlets celebrated their 5,000th match, but it ended up being a game to forget as these sides, with two dozen players at the World Cup between them, went through the motions.

Leinster coach Joe Schmidt said that while there wasn't much flash in their display, the important thing was that they won and avoided a third loss in their opening four games.

"It is a hugely important win," he said. "If we had gone into next weekend with just five or six points and with Munster on 17 points and Ulster and Connacht so far ahead, we could be in a position where we would not qualify for the Heineken Cup."

His resources have been stretched to the limit, with 14 in New Zealand and a further nine on the treatment table.

Experience is crucial in such circumstances and it was full-back Isa Nacewa who stepped up to the mark with five penalties from six attempts.

Leinster led 6-3 at the end of a woeful opening half. The tempo picked up a bit after the restart with Nacewa finishing a break from deep by landing his third penalty of the evening.

Scarlets hit back for the only try of the game after 47 minutes with Lee Williams touching down.

Dan Newton nailed the difficult conversion to push Scarlets 10-9 in front, but Nacewa responded with a penalty three minutes later and a final kick to secure the points.

Scarlets -- D Ford (Liam Williams 50); Lee Williams, N Reynolds, G Maule, A Fenby; D Newton (A Thomas 72), R Tipuna (G Davies 50); I Thomas (P John 62), E Phillips, R Thomas (R Jones 67); A Shingler, D Day (D Welch 26); R McCusker, J Edwards (R Pugh 70), B Morgan.

Leinster -- I Nacewa; F Carr, E O'Malley, L Fitzgerald, D Kearney; I Madigan, C Willis; H van der Merwe, R Strauss, N White (J Hagan 40); D Browne, D Toner; R Ruddock, J Murphy, L Auva'a.

Ref -- J Lacey (IRFU).

Irish Independent

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