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King On The Double As Scarlets Down Glasgow

New Zealander Regan King touched down twice as Llanelli Scarlets kept up their Magners League title challenge at Stradey Park with a bonus point win over a disappointing Glasgow Warriors side.

The Scarlets won for the first time in all competitions since they beat the Ospreys on December 27 as they kept their title push on track.

After their fourth successive league defeat, Glasgow remain seventh in the league standings but a win for the Ospreys at home to Connacht would see the Scots slip to eighth position.

Glasgow, whose backs struggled to create any decent line breaks, suffered a considerable blow before kick-off when their captain Alastair Kellock picked up an injury in the warm-up.

His absence saw Dan Turner come into the starting line-up with prop Kevin Tkachuk added to the Scots’ replacements bench and former All Black Daryl Gibson stood in as skipper.

In front of a 6,190-strong crowd, Glasgow made little of those late changes and engineered the first scoring chance only for stand-off Colin Gregor to scuff his fifth-minute penalty kick.

A high tackle on Lou Reed allowed Rhys Priestland his first sight of the posts and his 12th-minute kick bounced off the crossbar and over for a Scarlets lead.

Priestland missed two kickable penalties in the interim, the second after Glasgow number 8 John Beattie had been sin-binned for killing the ball.

Glasgow hit back to notch the game’s first try, gaining a good amount of territory before forward pressure told and the opening was created for scrum half Sam Pinder to scramble over.

Gregor converted for 7-3 but the Warriors’ lead was short-lived as their number 10 failed to adequately clear the danger.

The Scarlets won a five-metre scrum which Nathan Thomas controlled well and Gavin Cattle picked and dotted down for a well-worked 25th-minute try.

Llanelli upped the gears for the remainder of the first half and a swift counter attack, which saw full-back Morgan Stoddart run back a clearance kick with interest before being hauled down short of the try line, ended with Gavin Evans putting his fellow centre King over in the right corner.

Priestland failed with the conversion attempt but Llanelli were full value for their 15-7 interval lead and signalled the promise of more to come.

Phil Davies’ side moved further ahead, ten minutes after the resumption, when Glasgow coughed up possession near halfway and the Scarlets launched another thrilling counter.

Matthew Watkins, Gavin Evans and Priestland kept ball in hand brilliantly and the latter, despite looking like he might have had a knee in touch, dived in at the corner. After a lengthy deliberation, television match official Hugh Watkins gave the nod for referee George Clancy to award the try.

20-7 in front, the Scarlets never looked back and a well-maintained bout of pressure led to the impressive Iestyn Thomas collecting possession in the three-quarter line before stepping and going over for the bonus point try in the 64th-minute.

The Warriors’ hopes of a first away league win since April of last year were well and truly quashed as, right on full-time, replacement flanker Simon Easterby flicked a grubber kick through for King to race onto and nab his second try of the night.
So a timely win for the Scarlets, who came into the game having won just once in seven matches in all competitions, but Glasgow’s season is in danger of fizzling out and they desperately need a result at home to the Ospreys on February 29.

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