Tuesday 19 November 2019

DTH van der Merwe's debut double helps Scarlets to victory

DTH Van Der Merwe crossed twice on his Scarlets debut
DTH Van Der Merwe crossed twice on his Scarlets debut

Canada's World Cup star DTH van der Merwe crossed twice as Guinness Pro12 leaders Scarlets stretched their unbeaten start to four games with a 25-14 victory over Leinster at Parc y Scarlets.

Van der Merwe, who scored a try in each of Canada's four World Cup pool games, celebrated a score in each half after flanker James Davies opened the try scoring, but the Scarlets would have been disappointed not to have got a bonus point.

For Leinster the try scorers in the second half were full-back Isa Nacewa and replacement James Tracy.

As well as debutant Van der Merwe, Aled Davies, Aled Thomas and Steven Shingler came into the Scarlets' back division while hooker Kirby Myhill took over from the injured Emyr Phillips from the 20-8 win at Zebre.

Leinster coach Leo Cullen made five changes from the side which defeated the Newport Gwent Dragons including a first start for fly-half Ross Byrne.

Scarlets adopted an expansive approach and led 15-0 after largely dominating the first half.

It was all Scarlets early on as a fourth-minute penalty from Shingler was followed five minutes later by a try for flanker Davies, who was put over down the left by captain John Barclay.

Leinster pounced on a few errors from the home side to create some of their own pressure but Fergus McFadden was short with a 15th-minute penalty and then wing Hadleigh Parkes produced a fine tackle to stop Nacewa going in at the left corner.

It was more Leinster pressure which actually produced a runaway try, with Van der Merwe picking off possession in his own 22 and running in unopposed from 75 metres. Shingler converted to give the home side a 15-0 advantage.

Matters did not get much better for the Irishmen after the interval, with centre Noel Reid handed a yellow card in the 43rd minute for a cynical ruck offence.

And against 14 men Scarlets scored their third try, Van der Merwe's second, to see them lead 22-0 on 53 minutes.

Shingler kicked a penalty on the hour when the Scarlets might have thought of instead going for the bonus-point try, and the chance of that ebbed away as Leinster ended the match much the better.

First Nacewa went over after some good inter-passing in the backline, a try converted by McFadden.

That seemed to instill some self-belief in the visitors though McFadden butchered a chance down the right, dropping the ball with the line at his mercy.

But Leinster did grab a second a minute from time when Tracy went over from short range, a try converted by McFadden.

PA Media

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