Scarlets 26 Treviso 10
THE Scarlets produced a spirited response to their opening day Pro12 humiliation to see off the challenge of Treviso 26-10 in Llanelli.
Two early tries from scrum-half Gareth Davies, one a stunning 50-metre solo effort, put the home side in command and then it was the unerring boot of centre Steve Shingler who saw them to the win after the Italians had threatened a second-half comeback.
The victory was much-needed in the wake of the 42-19 home loss to Leinster in week one and with British Lion Jonathan Davies also returning to the fray, the Scarlets faithful went home in far better mood than they had done eight days earlier.
The Scarlets camp had spoken all week about how desperate they were to atone for that Leinster performance and shot out of the blocks with the same verve and energy as they had done against the defending champions.
The reward was a sparkling try after just two minutes.
A dominant home scrum gave Davies the platform to set off on a turbo-injected burst and after surging through the Treviso defence he showed great pace to round full-back Brendan Williams and the despairing cover to cross.
Shingler converted and then caught a woeful attempted chip from Tobie Botes to help put the Scarlets on the offensive again.
From the ensuing scrum, Treviso, who have built a reputation for their set-piece efficiency, were shoved off their own ball and it was Davies who benefited to dive over for his second.
It was a blistering start from the home side with the scrum again proving a powerful weapon.
Treviso, with tempers starting to flare, did start coming more into the game as the half wore on and after Davies and visiting fly-half Alberto Di Bernardo were yellow carded after a dust-up on the touchline, Botes landed a penalty to make to 14-3 at the interval.
Prop Samson Lee was replaced after feeling ill just before the start of the second half, but it didn’t affect the Scarlets’ momentum with a Shingler penalty three minutes after the restart extending the home advantage.
Treviso then struck with their only try of the night with Botes gathering his own chip ahead before feeding wing Ludovico Nitaglia on a free run to the posts.
The Scarlets, though, didn’t press the panic button as they did the week before and bolstered by the arrival of British Lion Davies for the final quarter and with Shingler in metronomic mood with the boot began to pull away from the Italians.
Treviso’s cause wasn’t helped by the sin-binning of replacement Dean Budd with Shingler punishing them with three more penalty successes.
Prop Phil John was replaced late on after a powerful display that earned him the man-of-the-match award, while Treviso were denied a score in the final movement when centre Michele Campagnaro had a try ruled out by the TMO for a forward pass.