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Glasgow Stun Scarlets With Late Surge

Two late tries from Colin Gregor and Sam Pinder, with Dan Parks nailing the match-winning conversion, saw Glasgow Warriors edge out the Llanelli Scarlets in an exciting Magners League clash at Firhill.

Flying Scarlets full-back Morgan Stoddart scored two tries at Firhill but he will remember this game for all the wrong reasons.

His sin-binning, with 14 minutes remaining, helped Glasgow launch a gutsy comeback and seize victory from the jaws of defeat.

They put both Colin Gregor (71 minutes) and Sam Pinder (79) over for late tries, with Dan Parks tapping over a last-minute conversion that proved the difference between the sides.

Glasgow were protecting a proud record, having lost only once at home in the league this season, and started with Gregor at scrum half and Daryl Gibson a strong presence in the centre.

Llanelli had their captain Simon Easterby back from a knee injury but they had to do without Wales duo Dwayne Peel and Mark Jones.

Fly-halves Parks and Stephen Jones both drew penalty efforts wide of the posts in the opening seven minutes.

Parks, the Warriors’ points-scoring hero against Edinburgh last time out, had an inauspicious start as his kick-off went out on the full.

Jones got the visitors off the mark in the tenth-minute when he notched his first successful penalty and the Scarlets’ defence looked solid early on.

However, Glasgow stole in for the game’s opening try in the 16th-minute.

The hosts won a penalty for handling in the ruck, they went for the lineout option and swung the ball wide where a quick recycle and pass from Gregor put Parks sidestepping past Mahonri Schwalger and over for the score.

The Glasgow number 10 added the conversion and a penalty, eight minutes later, for a 10-3 lead as the Scots began to dominate territory.

The Scarlets did get within try-scoring range coming up to half-time but their forwards were turned over close to the whitewash and Glasgow were able to clear the danger.

That only lasted a few minutes though as their flanker Kelly Brown was penalised for not rolling away in the tackle.

Back chat saw the kick moved ten metres closer to the posts and Jones obliged with a well-struck effort.

With neither side able to hit top form, it was predictable that another penalty chance would come before the break. Hands in the ruck from the visitors allowed Parks kick his side 13-6 ahead.

Llanelli made a lightning start to the second half with Stoddart slashing through for a solo try, two minutes into the fray.

Some incisive running and direct rugby led to the full-back touching down as the Glasgow defence was caught napping. Jones’ conversion squared up the game.

Glasgow then had a spell of dominance but they could have paid the price for some expansive play when a long pass was nearly intercepted by Scarlets centre Regan King with open country in front of him.

Parks missed a kickable penalty, 25 metres out, and Llanelli roared ahead in the 54th-minute when Stoddart charged through on an angled 40-metre run to dot down under the posts.

Jones converted and after Parks had been held up over the try line, the Welsh international tagged on another penalty for a 23-13 buffer.

Game over perhaps, with 18 minutes remaining? The answer was a defiant no from Sean Lineen’s charges.

They won a kickable penalty inside the visitors’ 22 and worked a good lineout but the Scarlets’ defence stood strong.

Stoddart’s sin-binning for killing the ball at a ruck close to his try line allowed the Warriors gain further control as time ticked on.

Glasgow won a flurry of penalties in the Scarlets’ 22 and after one such tap penalty, Gregor squeezed over for a try from close range.

Parks was off target with his conversion attempt but he redeemed himself in the dramatic finale when Gregor’s chip was gathered by replacement full-back Pinder for his try, levelling at 23-all, before Parks landed the crucial conversion.

The win, Glasgow’s fourth in five league matches, sees them remain in sixth place in the table, two points behind Edinburgh as they strive to finish ahead of their inter-city rivals.

The Scarlets are now winless in their last ten league trips and have falled to fifth place, ahead of Munster’s visit to Stradey Park on May 3.

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