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Scarlets in seventh heaven after Zebre success

Scarlets have now won seven successive Guinness PRO12 games as Jonathan Evans went over for two of five tries in a 31-24 win at Zebre.

Heading to Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi Scarlets had won six games in a row, while Zebre were still awaiting their first win at home this season.

But early on it looked as though fortunes might be reversed as the boot over Carlo Canna had the home side 9-7 in front.

However, that was as good as it got for the Italians as Aaron Shingler and DTH van der Merwe added to Evans’ earlier Scarlets score.

And after the break Aled Davies and Evans grabbed a second, before Zebre showed their fighting spirit by going over themselves late on through Federico Ruzza and Giovanbattista Venditti, with a Canna penalty at the death earning them a losing bonus point.

Zebre hosted Scarlets having never beaten then in eight attempts, but took an early lead thanks to a third-minute drop goal from Canna.

The hosts had started brightly and a kick in behind from centre Tommaso Boni looked to get them in behind but Hadleigh Parkes managed to get to the ball first.

Canna then sent over a penalty just outside the Scarlets 22 to double Zebre’s lead, but on 12 minutes the Welsh side nudged ahead as scrum-half Evans stole the ball and raced away to dot down, Rhys Patchell adding the extras.

However the home side were not rolling over and midway through the half Canna sent over another drop goal to restore their lead.

But while Zebre were struggling to trouble the tryline their visitors were having no such trouble as Shingler went over for the Welsh side’s second of the first half on 33 minutes.

Good hands from Tadhg Beirne and Van der Merwe saw the flanker go over, with Patchell adding the extras once again.

And just before the break Scarlets had their third try, this time Van der Merwe went over following some slick handling, with Patchell converting for a 21-9 half-time lead.

Five minutes after the restart Scarlets had the bonus point secure as Jonathan Davies broke away before full-back Aled Davies finished the move off, Patchell failing with his kick for the first time in the game.

And five minutes later the Welsh side were celebrating again as Evans went over for his fifth of the season following a fortunate bounce and Scarlets’ fifth of the afternoon.

To Zebre’s credit they never gave up, but a forward pass following a line out on the Scarlets 10m line halted their progress on the hour mark.

However they did have a try on 64 minutes as a long Canna pass to Edoardo Padovani saw No.8 Ruzza go over for a converted score.

And with ten minutes left the home fans were on their feet again as Venditti went over, with Canna’s late penalty earning the home side a losing bonus point.

Guinness PRO12 Final 2017 Ticket Information: Fans can save up to 20% on selected tickets, and prices start at just €30 adults and €5 child, and be booked via www.ticketmaster.ie. For further information visit http://www.pro12rugby.com/final

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