ZEBRE 8 SCARLETS 20
The Scarlets claimed a club-record seventh successive Guinness PRO12 victory after recovering from a half-time deficit to edge out struggling Zebre in Italy.
Scarlets were pushed all the way in this fixture last season before sneaking home 28-26 and they again had to work hard before securing a 20-8 victory that lifts them to the top of the standings.
It was not looking so good for the Scarlets at the midway point, though.
Wayne Pivac’s men trailed 8-6 at the break but it could have been worse for the visitors with Zebre fly-half Edoardo Padovani missing four of his five kicks at goal in the first half, including his conversion attempt from Mattia Bellini’s long-range try.
The fact Zebre held a half-time advantage was even more remarkable considering they lost Dries van Schalkwyk to the sin-bin in the 23rd minute, but all Scarlets had to their name at the interval was a brace of Dan Jones penalties.
However, the visitors turned things around in the second period with 14 unanswered points to secure the win at the Stadio XXV Aprile.
James Davies’ try three minutes after the restart put the Welsh region in front for the first time and although Jones missed the conversion, he slotted over a penalty a few minutes later to make it 14-8.
Scarlets replacement Steve Shingler extended the lead with a 64th-minute penalty and then made it 20-8 with another three-pointer after Zebre lost a second player to a yellow card, Emiliano Coria.
Scarlets were also reduced to 14 men when George Earle was sin-binned with nine minutes to go, but the away side held on for their fifth consecutive away win.