Scarlets 32-9 Aironi

Rhys Thomas scores
Prop Rhys Thomas scores for the Scarlets

The Scarlets began their RaboDirect Pro12 campaign with a hard-fought, but deserved win over battling Italians Aironi at Parc y Scarlets.

Fly-half Dan Newton kicked three first-half penalties to opposite number Naas Olivier's brace to give the hosts a 9-6 half-time lead.

But after the break prop Rhys Thomas and Andy Fenby crossed.

Newton added conversions to both tries plus two penalties while Olivier replied with a second-half penalty.

The opening period was unspectacular and frustrating for the hosts in damp conditions that helped limit the Scarlets' attacking intent.

Nigel Davies' side had a clear advantage at the scrums and looked better equipped with ball in hand.

But their inability to win quick, clean second-phase possession left them short of try-scoring chances.

Aironi played their part in that, with some sold work at in defence and at the breakdowns.

The visitors took the lead through Olivier's opening penalty, setting a first-half trend in which the hosts came out on top.

Olivier's opposite number Dan Newton kicked three first-half penalties to Olivier's brace.

Rowland Phillips' side were also one down at the break thanks to scrum-half Tito Tebaldi's sin-binning four minutes earlier.

Olivier levelled the scores with his third shot at goal six minutes into the second period.

But as the 50-minute mark arrived, the hosts finally put together a concerted attack in which Ben Morgan's run ended with Josh Turnbull putting prop Thomas over at the corner.

Newton converted from the touchline to further boost home morale, adding a brace of penalties to take the contest beyond Aironi's reach.

The home side then produced another defence-splitting surge that gave wing Fenby the chance to peel away from a ruck and burst clear.

Newton again converted and his late replacement Rhys Jones added the final points with a penalty.


Scarlets: Evans; L Williams, Gomer-Davies, A Thomas, Fenby; Newton, R Williams; I Thomas (capt), Phillips, R Thomas, Shingler, Day, McCusker, Turnbull, Morgan.

Replacements: Warren for Fenby (77), R Jones for Newton (78), G Davies for R Williams (67), John for I Thomas (70), Myhill for Phillips (75), Gardner for R Thomas (73), Reed for Shingler (66), Pugh for Morgan (75).

Aironi: Trevisan; R Pavan, Quartaroli, Pizarro, Venditti; Olivier, Tebaldi; Aguero, Santamaria (capt), Redolfini, Furno, Biagi, Sole, Cattina, Williams.

Replacements: Benetti for Pizarro (70), Bronzini for Tebaldi (70), A De Marchi for Aguero (56), Staibano for Redolfini (46), Ferrarini for Sole (77), Viljoen for Cattina (57).

Not Used: Giazzon, G Pavan.

Att: 6,493

Ref: Andrew McMenemy (RFU)