Exeter wrap up double over Scarlets
Heineken Cup round-up: Exeterbeat Scarlets30-20 at Sandy Park to complete the double over the Welsh outfit and show Leinster that they will be tough to beat in the final round of games in Pool 5.
The Scarlets recovered from 17-3 down to get back on level terms early in the second half, but a late try from James Scaysbrook sealed victory for the Chiefs.
Gareth Steenson missed an early penalty but the Chiefs continued to apply the pressure as Jack Nowell made a break with Ian Whitten up in support to touch down under the posts. Steenson added the simple conversion
Minutes later the Scarlets were reduced to 14 men when Tom Johnston, in his 150th appearance for the Chiefs, was tackled high by Liam Williams, who was sent to the sin-bin by French referee Romain Poite.
Steenson landed the resulting penalty but after Aled Thomas replied in kind, the visiting outhalf had a clearance kick charged down and hooker Simon Alcott picked up the loose ball to cross for the second try which Steenson converted.
Midway through the half, lock James Hanks was sent to the bin for taking a swipe at flanker Jonathan Davies.
With the Chiefs down to 14 men they received a team warning in front of their own posts and the Scarlets reduced the arrears with a Thomas penalty. Then from an Exeter free-kick inside the Scarlets 22 the visitors mounted a break to take them close to the Chiefs line.
Number eight Kieran Murphy was bundled into touch just short of the line and the Chiefs were then able to clear up field. Exeter, back to full strength, then had their defence tested but deservedly Ken Owens went over the whitewash.
Thomas converted from out wide but when the Chiefs mounted an attack the Scarlets were penalised for pulling down at the line-out. Steenson landed the penalty to give the Chiefs a 20-13 lead at the break.
Early in the second half the Scarlets capitalised as play continued while Johnson was leaving the field with an injured shoulder. George North put Scott Williams away in the left corner and the conversion from Thomas levelled the scores.
Exeter finally got back into the game after making a number of charges and centre Sireli Naqelevuki was held up over the line. The Scarlets defence initially held against another series until James Hanks knocked on.
The Chiefs pack then exerted the pressure at a series of scrums in front of the posts. After a number of resets, the Scarlets were penalised for standing up and Steenson’s simple penalty nudged his side back in front.
Exeter went in search of another try in the final minutes and Scaysbrook went over under the posts before Steenson added the extras to complete the scoring.
The Ospreysgave themselves hope of securing a quarter-final berth with a stunning 17-6 victory over four-time champions Toulouseat the Liberty Stadium.
Dan Biggar kicked two penalties and a drop goal to give the hosts a 9-6 half-time lead, with a further penalty from the outhalf and an excellent finish from man of the match Eli Walker sealing a famous win.
Toulouse’s only response came in the form of a penalty and drop goal from Jean-Marc Doussain and their failure to at least pick up a losing bonus point throws Pool 2 wide open ahead of next month’s deciding fixtures.
The Ospreys will need to beat Leicester and Treviso and hope other results go their way to advance.
Leicesterkept beat Treviso14-13 at Stadio di Monigo with the winning try coming two minutes from time.
Six days after beating securing a bonus-point win against the same opposition at Welford Road, the Tigers looked to be on their way out of Europe against a brave Benetton side.
However, a penalty try in the dying embers of the second half means Richard Cockerill’s men will live to fight another day.
Conor O’Shea’s Harlequinsside remain unbeaten in Pool 3 after demolishing Italian strugglers Zebre53-5 at The Stoop.
The bonus-point win ensured that Quins only have to secure one point from their remaining two games to top the pool and hopefully secure a home draw in the quarter-finals.
Quins took some time to subdue the visitors but once Zebre picked up two yellow cards in quick succession, it was a case of damage limitation as the home side scored seven tries and collected 18 points from the boot of Nick Evans.