Pro14: Scarlets 20-8 Benetton
|Pro14: Scarlets v Benetton|
|Scarlets (13) 20|
|Tries: D Jones, S Williams Con: D Jones 2 Pens: D Jones 2|
|Benetton (3) 8|
|Tries: McKinley Pens: McKinley|
Dan Jones guided Scarlets to a scrappy but ultimately comfortable Pro14 win over Benetton at Parc y Scarlets.
The fly-half, making the most of his opportunity with Rhys Patchell on Wales duty, scored 15 of his side's 20 points to keep Scarlets top of Conference B.
Jones dummied his way over for the opening try and then stabbed a low kick through for Scott Williams' second-half score, converting both.
Benetton's points came from Ian McKinley, with a try and a penalty.
With the autumn Test season about to begin, both sides were severely depleted by international calls.
Benetton were shorn of 16 players in the Italy squad, while Scarlets were without eight internationals - although centre pairing Williams and Hadleigh Parkes had been released by Wales for this game.
Jones, given his first start in the Scarlets number 10 shirt, settled any nerves he may have had with an early penalty and followed that up with a delightful cross chip that nearly paid off for Tom Prydie, the ex-Dragons wing also making his first competitive start.
Scarlets were gifted their first try when Giorgio Bronzini spilled a kick on his own line, allowing Jones to scoot over from the resulting scrum after throwing Tommaso Benvenuti an outrageous dummy.
Jones converted his own score for a 10-0 lead, although Benetton hit back almost immediately with a McKinley penalty.
Despite spending most of the rest of the half camped in Italian territory, the slippery ball and some disciplined Benetton defence meant Scarlets had just a second Jones penalty to show for their dominance.
Benetton were quickest off the mark after the restart as McKinley spotted a flaw in the home defence, the fly-half taking quick ball off the top of a line-out to go over for an unconverted try.
The Italians had wing Andrea Bronzini sin-binned for a deliberate knock-on and Scarlets took advantage when Williams scored from Jones' grubber kick, with the fly-half converting the try.
The two sides will meet twice again in December, with home and away matches in the European Champions Cup.
Scarlets coach Wayne Pivac told Scrum V: "Dan Jones has been working hard in training and playing semi-pro rugby and going well, so tonight we thought we'd get him out there with the internationals away and he did a very good job.
"Benetton are a good side, they've improved from last year and they're not an easy side.
"We've got to play them four times this year so we're really pleased with the result... we made hard work of it but happy to have those four points."
Scarlets: Johnny McNicholl; Tom Prydie, Hadleigh Parkes, Scott Williams (capt), Paul Asquith; Dan Jones, Jonathan Evans; Dylan Evans, Ryan Elias, Werner Kruger, Lewis Rawlins, David Bulbring, Tadhg Beirne, Will Boyde, John Barclay.
Replacements: Taylor Davies, Rhys Fawcett, Simon Gardiner, Tom Price, Josh Macleod, Declan Smith, Rhys Jones, Steff Hughes.
Benetton: Jayden Hayward; Angelo Esposito, Tommaso Benvenuti, Ignacio Brex, Andrea Bronzini; Ian McKinley, Giorgio Bronzini; Cherif Traore, Tomas Baravalle, Tiziano Pasquali, Alessandro Zanni, Federico Ruzza, Whetu Douglas, Nasi Manu, Robert Barbieri (capt).
Replacements: Federico Zani, Alberto De Marchi, Filippo Filippetto, Marco Lazzaroni, Sebastian Negri, Edoardo Gori, Alberto Sgarbi, Luca Sperandio.
Referee: George Clancy (Ireland).
Assistant referees: Joy Neville (Ireland), Justin Williams (Wales).
TMO: Tim Hayes (Wales).