With Parc y Scarlets hosting Leicester in the European Cup, Llanelli transfered their B & I Cup game against Melrose to Carmarthen Park.
Llanelli played with the driving wind and rain at their backs in the first half and scored two tries form Matt Gilbert and Aaron Shingler (pictured above) both converted by Steve Shingler to go along with his 5th minute. 50metre penalty.
Melrose who came to play rugby were showing why they are leaders of the Scottish Premiership and were well coached by former Scots international, Craig Chalmers.
With the elements in the second half Melrose captain Scott Wright kicked a couple of penalties to add to the one he slotted in the first half to close the gap to 17 - 9 and a shock looked on the cards.
But full credit to the home team they rolled up their sleeves in the last quarter and were rewarded with a fine 80th minute try from Wales Under 20 squad member Liam Williams which Steve superbly converted from near the touchline to keep Llanelli's unbeaten record in this season's B & I cup campaigh.
Llanelli RFC 24 - 9 Melrose RFC
Courtesy of Wales on line
Courtesy of Wales on line
STEVE SHINGLER will leave Llanelli and the Scarlets at the end of this season for a two-year deal with London Irish being told he is a kicker of “international standard”.
Shingler (pictured right) had kicked five penalties in the league win over Carmarthen Quins the previous week and returned to the Park to be on target with another four kicks in their “home” 24-9 British & Irish Cup victory against Melrose at the weekend, which has gone a long way to sealing the Welsh club a quarter-final spot.
Shingler set Llanelli on their way with a fifth-minute penalty from just inside Melrose’s half. He might have had the wind at his back, but he just stepped up from two paces to bisect the uprights from 50 metres.
“That’s international kicking, to be honest,” said Buchanan.
“He kicked five penalties in our win in Munster that were just out of this world. You can’t call it anything else but international standard kicking.”
“We are disappointed he is leaving the region, but we understand he has to make decisions and he has ambitions. It’s just unfortunate his future won’t be in a Scarlet shirt.”
After Shingler’s opening salvo, the semi-pros of Llanelli stamped their authority on the largely amateur line-up from the Scottish borders.
Despite English referee Richard Kelly doing few favours to Llanelli in the penalty count, Llanelli used the elements to their advantage to score two first-half tries.
First No 8 Matt Gilbert slid in for a score created by a break from a ruck by impressive scrum-half Gareth Davies and Aaron Shingler returned from the sin-bin to crash over just before half-time to give his side a 17-3 interval lead.
With a stiff breeze and driving rain in their faces, the second half was a much trickier affair for Llanelli against a Melrose side that grew in confidence and played a positive brand of rugby in the conditions. But, despite cutting Llanelli’s lead to just eight points with penalties for outside-half Scott Wight, Llanelli had the final say with a try for replacement Liam Williams.
“That was a physical game. The conditions were not great, but, to be fair, there was some good rugby played and I suppose we could have had a bonus point if we’d taken our chances,” reflected Buchanan.
“But it was a credit to the players that they dealt with the weather conditions and that they dug in deep.
“In the end we got the result, which we were looking for, and we are unbeaten going into our next game at Bristol on Sunday.”
Melrose coach Craig Chalmers summed up the different class between the teams.
“A lot of these will be in the Scarlets line-up before too long, whereas we have one in a rugby academy and one pro – the rest come from the village of Melrose with a population of 2,000-2,500,” he said.