Uzair Cassiem scored a try as the Scarlets powered their way to a 43-21 bonus-point win against the Cheetahs in Llanelli on Saturday. MARIETTE ADAMS reports.
This was exactly the result the Scarlets needed after last week’s humiliation against Benetton Treviso and it puts them back in playoff contention.
The Cheetahs were blown away and never recovered from a poor start. They were bullied in the forward exchanges and the backline was kept at bay.
The Scarlets scored four unanswered tries in the opening quarter to move 28 points clear and secure a bonus point. Cassiem, the ex-Cheetahs No 8, opened the scoring three minutes into the game when he ran a superb line on to fellow South African Werner Kruger’s offload. Wing Johnny McNicholl, centre Kieron Fonotia and flank Josh MacLeod then all dotted down.
The Cheetahs got back into the match when McNicholl was given a yellow card for a cynical and deliberate infringement. Benhard Janse van Rensburg scored a good try followed by another from Rabz Maxwane. It involved some great skill and handling, but the highlight in the sequence of play was flank Abongile Nonkontwanatha’s backheel flip that fell kindly for Maxwane.
Despite the Cheetahs’ double strike, the hosts’ dominance continued into the second half. The visitors’ defence continued to be non-committal.
Prop Wyn Jones crashed over from close range to extend the Scarlets’ lead, and while the Cheetahs did pull a try back through Gerhard Olivier, the hosts would add eight more points to their tally.
Scarlets – Tries: Uzair Cassiem, Johnny McNicholl, Kieron Fonotia, Josh MacLeod, Wyn Jones, Paul Asquith. Conversions: Leigh Halfpenny (5). Penalty: Halfpenny.
Cheetahs – Tries: Rabz Maxwane, Benhard Janse van Rensburg, Gerhard Olivier. Conversions: Tian Schoeman (3).
Scarlets – 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 Paul Asquith, 11 Ioan Nicholas, 10 Dan Jones, 9 Kieran Hardy, 8 Uzair Cassiem, 7 Dan Davis, 6 Josh Macleod, Josh Helps, 4 Jake Ball (c), 3 Werner Kruger, Ryan Elias, 1 Wyn Jones.
Subs: 16 Marc Jones, 17 Phil Price, 18 Javan Sebastian, 19 Lewis Rawlins, 20 Tom Phillips, 21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22 Rhys Patchell, 23 Steff Hughes.
Cheetahs – 15 Louis Fouché, 14 William Small-Smith, 13 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 12 Dries Swanepoel, 11 Rabz Maxwane, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Shaun Venter (c), 8 Gerhard Olivier, 7 Junior Pokomela, 6 Abongile Nonkontwana, 5 JP du Preez, 4 Walt Steenkamp, 3 Aranos Coetzee, 2 Marnus van der Merwe, 1 Ox Nche.
Subs: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Reinach Venter, 18 Luan de Bruin, 19 Sintu Manjezi, 20 Jasper Wiese, 21 Henco Venter, 22 Tian Meyer, 23 Rudy Paige.