With the Autumn Internationals underway the regular season takes a break with the up and coming stars given a chance to shine in the Anglo Welsh Cup. Described mid-week by Head Coach, Euros Evans as “a great challenge, a very important part of our development pathway and it presents a fantastic opportunity for our younger players to express themselves as well as players who haven’t had a great deal of opportunities of late to get out on to the paddock.”
The number of players on International duty have left the Scarlets fielding an unfamiliar team for this fixture against the Exeter Chiefs, as the coaching staff look to offer academy and regional players the opportunity to showcase their skills to a bigger ‘shop window.’
Despite the strength of the visiting Exeter team, the young Scarlets made a dominant start to the game and were awarded for their efforts with an early penalty opportunity, however, the wind had picked up sufficiently to ensure that kicking duties would prove tricky.
A penalty from the scrum saw the Chiefs kick to the corner to secure the perfect attacking position. After winning the line-out the Exeter forwards kept the ball tight before Hooker, Shaun Malton squeezed over for the first try of the afternoon.
Joe Simmonds’ conversion attempt was just wide as his team notched up an early 5 points to 0 lead.
The Scarlets attack continued, however as conditions deteriorated, despite the beautiful rainbow that encircled Parc y Scarlets, handling errors crept in and it was the visitors that scored the second try of the game as James Freeman drove over from close range.
Joe Simmonds added the extras to open up a 12 points to 0 advantage for the Chiefs.
Unfortunately, Jack Maynard missed a second successive penalty attempt and as half time approached, despite promising periods of play the Scarlets the home team ran in for at the end of the half without a point on the board.
An early opportunity for a third Exeter try in the second half saw the ball spilled forward, however more concerning for the Scarlets at the time was the sight of promising Scrum Half, Declan Smith leaving the pitch on a stretcher.
The dominance of the Exeter forwards at the scrum was evident and it left the referee little option but to award the visitors a penalty try to further extend their lead to 0 points to 19 in a weekend that has seen the English clubs completely dominate their Welsh neighbours, though this is probably down to the strength of the teams fielded.
As the penalty count against the Scarlets increased, the Chiefs kicked for the corner in their quest for try number four. Again, the dominance of the Exeter forwards destroyed the Scarlets scrum and once more referee Karl Dickson ran under the posts as he awarded penalty try number two, with replacement Prop Javan Sebastian shown the yellow card, giving the Chiefs an extra man.
Again, the Exeter forwards were dominant in the build-up of try number five before releasing replacement, Tom Hendrickson who crossed the white wash. Simmonds again added the extras to further hammer the nail in the Scarlets’ coffin…0 points to 33.
The Scarlets found it almost impossible to leave their own half in the second part of the game completely dominated by a strong Exeter side. Another scrum for the Chiefs in the Scarlets’ 22 and yet again referee Dickson was under the posts for penalty try number three to further extend the Chiefs’ lead to 0 points to 40.
It took until the last 5 minutes of the match before the Scarlets finally ventured into the Exeter half and the same length of time for the home team to finally secure a penalty!However, it was testament to the young Scarlets side that they never gave up, and to be fair, despite some controversial refereeing decisions, the crowd certainly remained in good humour!
Final Score – Scarlets 0 – Exeter Chiefs 40
Next Friday evening, the Scarlets travel to Rodney Parade for the second round of the Anglo Welsh Cup where they face a young Dragons team.
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