Friday 20 April 2018

Jones injury taints Scarlets' stuttering success

Scarlets 35 Benetton Treviso 27

Scarlets coach Nigel Davies was left fretting over Stephen Jones' fitness after the Wales fly-half limped off in the first half of the Welsh region's bonus-point win over Treviso at Parc y Scarlets. Jones, 33 this week, came off after 18 minutes of the 35-27 success after suffering a blow to his left knee.

"It will take 24 to 48 hours to have an accurate assessment. It's probably a tweak to the ligaments but we don't really know," said Davies. "In the next couple of days we'll have a clear assessment. He's walking around, so that's a good sign. We will have it scanned after the swelling has gone down."

Davies said he was not satisfied with his side's performance despite scoring four tries to Treviso's three.

"They are a quality side. We know only too well about that because we have played them in the Magners League," he said. "If you give them an opportunity they are dangerous and we are disappointed today with our game without the ball.

"When we did look after the ball we scored tries. It would have been nice to have finished the match off at half-time. We blew some great opportunities and overall we are disappointed with our performance, but having said that we know we can get better.

"It was imperative we won and a bonus point was important in the group we are in. We set out what we wanted to achieve, but we also realise our performance wasn't great."

Treviso coach Franco Smith was disappointed not to get anything out of the match. "I'm gutted because we are looking for a win in the Heineken Cup, but in general there are plenty of positives," he said. "I was disappointed the way we defended early on. We were allowing too many offloads and we missed too many tackles.

"But I'm pleased we stayed in there after half-time. At the end we could have had two bonus points."

Jones got the the home side off to a flyer when he put Lamont through for a converted try after only 87 seconds before putting over a fifth-minute penalty.

But any hopes the Scarlets had of a comfortable victory went rather awry midway through the half. First Treviso out-half Kris Burton put over a penalty and a drop-goal before Jones' injury. Treviso then went into a shock lead when centre Gonzalo Garcia crashed over after good work by the Italian pack.

But from 13-10 down, the Scarlets regrouped to score a stunning try by Regan King. By half-time the Scarlets stretched their lead to 10 points with two Priestland penalties, although he did miss another from right in front, and flanker Josh Turnbull added another on 44 minutes.

But a 17-point advantage was whittled away to just three as Treviso hit back with two converted tries in the space of six minutes.

First, wing Tommaso Benvenuti finished off a break out of defence by Burton and scrum-half Fabio Semenzato nipped down the blindside to score Treviso's third try.

However, Lamont went in for his second try on the hour mark, which not only gave his side a bonus point but also a much-needed eight-point cushion.

Treviso refused to be beaten however and pressed the Scarlets' line. From a five-metre scrum the Italians looked certain to score through Manoa Vosawai, but he was held up brilliantly by Josh Turnbull.

Scorers -- Scarlets: Lamont 2 tries; King, Turnbull try each; Priestland 2 pens, 2 cons; Jones pen, con. Treviso: Garcia, Benvenuti, Semenzato tries; Burton 3 cons, pen, dp gl.

Scarlets: R Priestland; M Stoddart, G Maule, R King, S Lamont; S Jones (D Newton 18), T Knoyle (M Roberts 66); I Thomas (R Jones 78), M Rees (K Owens 62), J Gardner (P John 51); V Cooper, D Day; R McCusker (J Edwards 59), J Turnbull, B Morgan.

Benetton Treviso: L McLean; T Benvenuti, A Pratichetti (J Maddock 48), G Garcia, A Vilk; C Burton, F Semenzato; M Muccignat (I Rouyet 48), E Ceccato (D Vidal 48), P Di Santo (L Cittadini 48); A Pavanello (C van Zyl 24), V Bernabo; M Filippucci, B Vermaak, P Derbyshire (M Vosawai 57).

Referee: Greg Garner (RFU).

Sunday Independent

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