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Owens scores in 200th game as Scarlets climb into top four

Ken Owens marked his 200th Scarlets appearance with a try as he helped his side climb into the Guinness PRO12 top four with an impressive 51-5, eight-try victory over Treviso at Parc y Scarlets.

Steffan Evans and DTH van der Merwe, twice, had already crossed the whitewash when Owens benefitted from an inexorable driving maul in the 24th minute to secure the Welsh region a four-try bonus point.

They didn’t let up from there as Evans grabbed a second, Tom Price went over, van der Merwe completed his hat-trick and Aled Davies touched down – with Ornel Gega getting Treviso’s lone points.

The victory means the Scarlets leapfrog Ulster into a play-off place with just three games remaining in the season, as they maintained an unbeaten home record in the Guinness PRO12 that stretches back to September.

Wayne Pivac’s troops now have seven wins from their last eight PRO12 games and are hitting top form at just the right time, with the business end of the campaign beckoning.

It took just two minutes for Scarlets to earn the lead as Dan Jones converted from the tee after Treviso had been penalised at the breakdown.

And shortly after, 3-0 became 8-0 as a beautiful show-and-go from James Davies flummoxed the Italian defence and he then released van der Merwe to go over in the corner.

Evans got the second try on nine minutes as he collected Davies’ precise kick through to dot down before van der Merwe opportunistically darted off the base of a ruck and turned on the afterburners to blitz through the Treviso defence and dive over.

Jones added his first conversion and Scarlets soon had the bonus point as Owens’ 200th appearance became even more of a fairytale when the pack drove over the line and he touched down.

Owens and fellow front-rower Samson Lee then engineered a 34th-minute turnover in their own 22 and fed Evans who scorched 70 metres to make it 30-0, as it stayed until half-time.

Scarlets had won their last seven matches against Treviso heading into the match and scored try number six just two minutes after the break as Price was the beneficiary of some strong running and a spectacular offload from Hadleigh Parkes.

To their credit, Treviso did get on the board when Gega dotted down shortly after but the Welsh province were soon back to their try-scoring ways as van der Merwe completed his hat-trick with a tidy finish from close-range.

Treviso were down to 12 men by that point, as Federico Zani, Francesco Minto and Edoardo Gori were all sent to the sin-bin, and Aled Davies piled on the misery as he finished off a sweeping team move – Aled Thomas’ conversion making it 51-5.

Guinness PRO12 Final 2017, 27th May, Aviva Stadium, Dublin.
Ticket Information: Fans can still avail of an exclusive number of €35 tickets. Book via www.ticketmaster.ie.

Further information: www.pro12rugby.com/final

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