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Williams boots Scarlets back into play-off spots

By Sport_Rob  |  Posted: February 16, 2013

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SCARLETS 18 MUNSTER 10

FLY-HALF Owen Williams kicked a match-winning haul of 18 points as the Scarlets leapfrogged the Ospreys into fourth in the RaboDirect Pro12 table.

The 20-year-old landed five penalties and a sweet drop goal as the West Walians completed the double over the Irish province for the first time since their title-winning campaign of 2003-04.

It was also a first win over Munster at Parc y Scarlets and keeps Simon Easterby's side firmly in the hunt for a play-off spot.

Only a point separated the two sides going into a match the Scarlets had pinpointed as crucial to their top-four quest.

The home side were bolstered by two of their Wales squad members, Liam Williams and Josh Turnbull, while Munster included experienced Ireland internationals Ronan O'Gara and Donncha O'Callaghan – who are both heavily tipped to start against Scotland in the next round of Six Nations fixtures.

It was an eventful opening for the veteran Ireland fly-half, who fell short with a long-range penalty, then struck the upright with a far easier effort.

In contrast, Owen Williams was dead eyed with his first shot at the posts following a sharp counter from the Scarlets backs.

Williams doubled the home side's advantage on 18 minutes, but despite enjoying the better of territory and possession, the Scarlets were fortunate not to concede on the counter when Munster butchered a gilt-edged try-scoring opportunity.

Both sides were creating chances, looking to give the ball width, and it made for an entertaining first half.

Gareth Owen, Aled Davies and Andy Fenby were lively threats behind the scrum, while Joe Snyman and Turnbull stood out in the Scarlets eight.

O'Gara halved the deficit on 28 minutes after the Scarlets were penalised at a scrum on their own 22, but Williams was on target again just before the interval, this time from halfway to make it 9-3 at half-time.

Williams continued to impress in the second half with two more successes to push his side 15-3 ahead.

In contrast, O'Gara was having a nightmarish time off the tee, hitting the upright again from straight in front.

Munster, whose game was riddled with errors, found themselves down to 14 men when skipper Mike Sherry was yellow carded on 50 minutes and Williams made them pay again with a smart drop-goal.

And even though the fly-half saw yellow in the final seconds, which led to wing Denis Hurley crossing for the game's lone try, Munster still left Llanelli empty handed. 

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