In the final pool stage of the European Rugby Champions Cup Scarlets welcomed former champions Toulon to the Parc needing nothing less than a victory to make it through to the quarter-final stages of the competition.
Scarlets didn’t disappoint coming out of the blocks firing in the first half with an early try from winger Tom Prydie.
A further two tries followed in the half, from Hadleigh Parkes and Dan Jones, giving Scarlets the advantage heading in to the changing rooms at half time, despite Toulon’s two tries.
A passionate, determined and courageous performance in the second half saw Scarlets grind out the victory with the defensive effort putting a stop to Toulon’s hopes of crossing the whitewash.
The near sell-out crowd were treated to an enthralling 80 minutes of rugby with an electric atmosphere.
Scarlets got the final pool game of the 2017-18 European Rugby Champions Cup underway is true Scarlets fashion with a scintillating try from winger Tom Prydie after a sustained period of pressure from the kick-off in Toulon’s 22. Dan Jones added the conversion putting the homeside ahead after just three minutes.
Toulon came straight back at the Scarlets in a similar move pushing into Scarlets’ 22 from the restart. Their number eight Duane Vermeulen stormed over the tryline with Wayne Barnes confirming the try.
A dangerous tackle on James Davies in Toulon’s 22 sees Dan Jones add a penalty.
Toulon score a second try as we head towards the 20 minute mark as Chris Ashton makes a break along the touchline. He’s ankle-tapped by Paul Asquith but he’s close enough to lift himself and cross the tryline. Anthony Belleau adds the conversion to take Toulon five points ahead.
End to end stuff at Parc y Scarlets sees the homeside hit back with a second try as Hadleigh Parkes picks up a loose ball kicked by Aaron Shingler. A fourth try in the game in 20 minutes! Dan Jones adds the conversion.
The Scarlets win another penalty in Toulon’s territory after the visitors are penalised. Jones shows he fears no pressure by adding another three points.
Scarlets are penalised for not rolling away gifting the visitors a penalty opportunity. Belleau adds the three points bringing them back with two of Scarlets.
In what has been an emphatic first half outside half Dan Jones adds a third try on 33 minutes with a great run through the sticks making his own conversion an easy one!
Half time: Scarlets 27 Toulon 21
The second half got underway is just as emphatic a fashion as the first and Rhys Patchell got Scarlets’ first score on the board with a penalty after eight minutes.
Toulon claw back another three points through the boot of Belleau with Scarlets needing to keep their composure with twenty-five minutes still to play.
Toulon add another three points as Scarlets are penalised for another infringement in their 22.
Dan Jones kicks us deep into Toulon’s territory as we head back for an advantage on their ten metre line after a high tackle on Gareth Davies.
As we reach the 20 minute mark Toulon make it over the line after a sustained period of attack in our 22 but excellent Scarlets defence means the ball is held up.
We come back for a Toulon scrum but Scarlets pack put in a monumental effort, push the scrum away and turnover the ball.
The closing seven minutes are a tense affair. Toulon have possession and they work the ball back into Scarlets territory. The Scarlets continue to show a defensive effort of unrivalled proportion and keep Toulon entrenched on the ten-metre line. With the clock ticking towards the 80 Toulon keep the ball tight, Scarlets put in the big hits. With go-forward options limited Toulon put boot to ball on a drop goal attempt. They’re too far out. It drops short of the crossbar.
It’s game over and an emphatic victory for the Scarlets in the European Rugby Champions Cup securing a place in the quarter-finals!
Final score: Scarlets 30 Toulon 27
Man of the match: Hadleigh Parkes