Newport Gwent Dragons 14 Scarlets 27
The Scarlets rocketed towards the Magners League summit as they stormed to victory over the Dragons in Newport.
Three first half tries laid the foundations for the victory and even a fightback by the home team could not prevent their third loss in four games this season.
So, with an impressive array of Welsh coaching staff – including national boss Warren Gatland – watching from the stand, the heat was on the Welsh players to make impressions for the Autumn Test Series squad announcement in a few weeks time.
And, if Gatland and his allies watched anyone, it was the Scarlets side as they dominated the game to lead 24-3 at the break.
The men of the match were centre Jonathan Davies and outside-half Stephen Jones.
Davies set up the opening try for wing George North before picking the ball up on the Dragons’ 10-metre line and surging to the posts to score despite the attentions of despairing tacklers Will Harries and Adam Hughes.
Jones was involved in Davies’ try and kicked both around the field and through the posts magnificently.
Welsh hooker Matthew Rees piled on the agony for the Dragons as he scrambled on the floor for the third try from a few metres but only after referee James Jones had consulted with video official Neil Ballard.
Scarlets’ defence was rock solid and allowed the Dragons nothing but the home side did not make it easy for themselves when flanker Robin Sowden-Taylor was sin-binned for a ruck offence.
However, Scarlets gave the Dragons a two-man advantage for 13 minutes of the second half when first Davies and then Rees were sent to the sin-bin.
And, although the Dragons managed to grab two penalties despite trailing by 21 points in that period – skipper Tom Willis strangely asking Matthew Jones to boot a 15-metre shot when a scrum would have been better – it should have been more.
Scarlets went down to 14 men with a third sin-bin of the game, this time scrum-half Tavis Knoyle yellow carded.
This time, the Dragons did make it count as a neat move saw centre Tom Riley put Harries over in the left corner to make it 24-14.
The momentum the Dragons were searching for came as the visitors were put under the cosh in their own territory.
But it all counted for nothing as they failed to breach the Scarlets’ defence, before Stephen Jones kicked an easy penalty for a 13-point lead – which was enough for them.