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Scarlets down Ospreys

jmcconnell 28 Mar 2006

The Scarlets got back to winning ways in the Celtic League with a comprehensive 30-17 victory over The Ospreys at Stradey Park.

The hosts, who had lost their last two matches in the Celtic League – to Ulster and Connacht, extended their impressive home record where they have now won five in a row.

In the end tries from Lee Byrne and Regan King proved to be the key as the Scarlets leap-frogged their Welsh rivals in the league table.

Gavin Henson gave the visitors the lead in the opening minutes with a sweetly struck penalty. The Scarlets rallied almost immediately with American fly-half Mike Hercus cutting open the Ospreys defence with a superb break before firing a long pass to Byrne who as a result touched down in the corner.

They went close to grabbing another soon after with again Hercus the architect, but Dafydd James’ effort was ruled out for a forward pass.

However, they extended their lead with a penalty from Hercus before Henson reduced the deficit with his second successful effort.

Full-back Barry Davies and Henson then swapped further penalties.

The game then sparked into life when prop John Davies was sin-binned for taking out his own justice on Ospreys fullback Stefan Terblanche when the South African had committed a late tackle on Hercus.

With the game finely poised, the Scarlets took control of the contest when a sweeping move from their own 22 eventually saw King cross under the posts.   Hercus’ conversion gave the Scarlets an 18-9 advantage at the break, and it could have been more if he had not missed a relatively straightforward chance before the whistle.

Davies extended the Scarlets’ advantage with the first score of the second half but the Ospreys were given fresh hope when Scarlets’ skipper Simon Easterby was sin-binned for killing the ball at a ruck.

A consistent spell of pressure from the visitors saw Terblanche dive in at the corner to offe rhope of a revival but Hercus eased the Scarlets’ nerves with another penalty.

Henson kept the Ospreys in touch with his fourth penalty but a drop-goal from Hercus with time running out sealed the win.

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