United Rugby Championship: Scarlets 16-13 Benetton - hosts win for only third time this season

Ioan Lloyd attacks for Scarlets
Ioan Lloyd started at full-back with fellow Wales squad member Sam Costelow at fly-half

URC: Scarlets v Benetton

Scarlets (3) 16

Try; Swart Con: Costelow Pens: Costelow 3

Benetton (13) 13

Try: Ratave Con: Umaga Pens: Umaga 2

Eduan Swart scored from the last play of the game to give Scarlets just their third victory of the season against Benetton in the United Rugby Championship (URC).

Replacement hooker Swart touched down at the end of a driving maul as Scarlets claimed a 16-13 comeback win.

Onisi Ratave crossed early on as Benetton scored all their points before half-time.

But Scarlets claimed a welcome win thanks to a second-half fightback.

It was a first triumph since early December for Dwayne Peel's side, and only the fourth for a Welsh region against non-Welsh opposition in the URC this season.

Scarlets had looked like being left frustrated when Steff Evans was held up over the line in the dying seconds before being helped off having suffered a worrying Achilles injury in the process of trying to score.

But the game continued thanks to a penalty award, with Scarlets kicking to the corner and launching a driving line-out which ended with Swart touching down in the game's decisive moment.

Scarlets were boosted by the return of their Wales players, with six members of Warren Gatland's Six Nations squad in Dwayne Peel's 23.

Benetton, by contrast, opted to rest many of their Italy internationals, with captain Michele Lamaro and centre Ignacio Brex - the player of the match in last Saturday's Six Nations win in Cardiff - among those given a weekend off.

Yet Benetton did not look a side missing some key men as they controlled much of the first half.

Scarlets struck first, with Sam Costelow kicking an early penalty, but too often home momentum was halted by a handling error, a disrupted set-piece or the award of a Benetton penalty.

Jacob Umaga swiftly cancelled out Costelow's penalty before a cheap Scarlets knock-on, after Sam Lousi tried to offload in his 22, led to the visitors' try as Benetton moved the ball wide to the left flank, and Ratave was able to burst through a Ioan Lloyd tackle before going over in the corner.

Umaga added the extras, and quickly sent over another penalty to stretch Benetton's lead to 10 points.

Andy Uren's break from the base of the scrum had the home defence scrambling once more, but this time Ratave was bundled into touch.

A Teddy Leatherbarrow turnover led to Scarlets having a chance to cut the arrears before half-time, but Costelow - who was not helped by a powerful wind - saw his penalty come back off the post.

Scarlets' accuracy improved after the restart, allowing them to ask questions of Benetton for almost the first time, and the result was two Costelow penalties which cut the deficit to four points heading into the final quarter.

Peel's side had plenty of possession as the contest wore on, but could not find the cutting edge to break through a stubborn Benetton defence until the dramatic climax.

Scarlets head coach Dwayne Peel:

"I always felt confident we would get the try because we were putting a lot of pressure on, but as the time goes on you think we have probably lost our last chance.

"Our maul probably hasn't been the best this year five metres out, but we got the job done in the end. I think it was deserved because as the game went on, I thought we applied a lot of pressure.

"First half the elements were against us and we let them in for a soft try. But I am pleased for the boys because we have been on the wrong end of those losses and they have put a lot of hard work in.

"It was really important that we got that win and we'll try to build some momentum going into next week."

Scarlets: Ioan Lloyd; Tom Rogers, Jonathan Davies, Johnny Williams, Tomi Lewis; Sam Costelow, Gareth Davies (capt); Kemsley Mathias, Shaun Evans, Harri O'Connor, Alex Craig, Sam Lousi, Teddy Leatherbarrow, Dan Davis, Vaea Fifita.

Replacements: Eduan Swart, Wyn Jones, Sam Wainwright, Morgan Jones, Carwyn Tuipulotu, Kieran Hardy, Eddie James, Steff Evans.

Benetton: Rhyno Smith; Ignacio Mendy, Malakai Fekitoa, Filippo Drago, Onisi Ratave; Jacob Umaga, Andy Uren; Federico Zani, Siua Maile, Simone Ferrari, Iachizzi Edoardo, Iachizzi Edoardo, Eli Snyman (capt), Alessandro Izekor, Toa Halafihi, Lorenzo Cannone.

Replacements: Bautista Bernasconi, Ivan Nemer, Tiziano Pasquali, Riccardo Favretto, Manuel Zuliani, Alessandro Garbisi, Tomas Albornoz, Leonardo Marin.

Referee: Chris Busby (IRFU)

Assistant referees: Rhys Jones & Elliot Mayor (WRU)

TMO: Frank Murphy (IRFU)

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