European Champions Cup: Scarlets 13-18 Bath

Bath's Wales number eight Taulupe Faletau takes on Rhys Patchell
Bath's Wales number eight Taulupe Faletau takes on Rhys Patchell
European Rugby Champions Cup
Scarlets (10) 13
Tries: Evans Con: Halfpenny Pens: Halfpenny 2
Bath (12) 18
Pens: Priestland 6

Former Scarlets fly-half Rhys Priestland kicked six penalties as Bath claimed a second win in two games in the European Champions Cup.

With Wales coach Warren Gatland in the crowd, fly-half Priestland excelled in dreadful conditions.

Wing Steff Evans underlined his case for a Wales place with a superb opening try, converted by Leigh Halfpenny.

But Bath's pack and Priestland's boot put paid to Scarlets hopes in Llanelli.

Victory took Bath four points clear at the top of Pool 5, with second-placed Toulonaisse travelling to Benetton on Saturday.

Wales and British and Irish Lions hooker Ken Owens returned to lead Scarlets as they hosted a Bath team packed with Wales players.

Owens returned alongside Hadleigh Parkes, Gareth Davies and Will Boyde after the 21-20 defeat by Toulon last weekend.

Bath beat Benetton 23-0 in their opener and went to Llanelli with Wales internationals Luke Charteris and Priestland returning to start, the latter against his former team.

However, their glut of absentees included South African back-rower Francois Louw, who was suspended for making contact with the eye area of Benetton forward Marco Fuser.

Gareth Davies
Gareth Davies goes past Anthony Watson

Another of Bath's Wales contingent, Taulupe Faletau, made an early impact with a powerful burst down the left flank that was halted by a brave Johnny McNicholl tackle.

The early initiative allowed Priestland to kick the opening points and, after Halfpenny's reply, Priestland put Bath back in front.

Wales and Lions full-back Halfpenny launched the counter-attack from deep that led to Evans' try.

Evans himself was involved twice as he broke the first line of defence before scrum-half Gareth Davies added his power and pace, then provided the scoring pass.

Halfpenny added the conversion only for Priestland to kick two more penalties to put Bath ahead at the break.

Priestland, who won the most recent of his 48 Wales caps against New Zealand in June 2016, showed composure in adding two more penalties.

Halfpenny gave the hosts hope with his second penalty seven minutes from the end, but Bath held out.

Scarlets head coach Wayne Pivac told BBC Sport Wales:

"We probably need to win the rest of our pool games and hope something else goes our way to progress.

"We're disappointed. We knew how important that game was and discipline in the first half let us down and our game management.

"I think we played about 34% of that first half in our own territory.

"I thought they used the ball very, very well in the conditions, built some pressure and took their scoring opportunities of Rhys Priestland's boot and we couldn't argue on the day - they were the better side."

Scarlets: Leigh Halfpenny; Johnny McNicholl, Jonathan Davies, Hadleigh Parkes, Steff Evans; Rhys Patchell, Gareth Davies; Wyn Jones, Ken Owens, Samson Lee, Jake Ball, Lewis Rawlins, Aaron Shingler, Will Boyde, Tadhg Beirne.

Replacements: Ryan Elias, Dylan Evans, Werner Kruger, David Bulbring, Josh Macleod, Jonathan Evans, Paul Asquith, Scott Williams.

Bath: Anthony Watson; Semesa Rokoduguni, Jonathan Joseph, Max Clark, Aled Brew; Rhys Priestland, Kahn Fotuali'i; Beno Obano, Tom Dunn, Anthony Perenise, Charlie Ewels, Luke Charteris, Zach Mercer, Sam Underhill, Taulupe Faletau.

Replacements: Jack Walker, Nathan Catt, Scott Andrews, Elliott Stooke, Paul Grant, Darren Allinson, Josh Lewis, Matt Banahan.

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