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The regions recorded a great win and three defeats against tough Irish and Scottish opposition in the Guinness PRO12 this weekend.

Returning to league action after competing in the LV= Cup the Scarlets led the way with a well-drilled winning performance against Glasgow that maintained some good recent home form and keeps them in contention for a top four play-off spot in the league.


Scarlets


Head coach Wayne Pivac saw the Scarlets continue their impressive undefeated home form in 2014 in the league against Glasgow at Parc Y Scarlets in the Guinness PRO12 on Friday evening as a disciplined and gritty showing secured a valuable 19-9 win against strong opposition.


Scarlets put Glasgow, who started the game second in the table, under sustained pressure throughout the match and led 12-3 at half time thanks to three Steven Shingler penalties.


As they kept up the pressure on the visitors in the second half the key moment for Scarlets came when Rory Pitman touched down on 76 minutes after great breaks from first Jordan Williams then Steff Evans.


The win not only means Scarlets are undefeated at Parc Y Scarlets in the PRO12 in 2014 but also moves them up to seventh place in the table, just eight points behind current league leaders Ospreys. They will now travel to face Connacht next Saturday (19.30) with great confidence knowing a win will move them above their hosts in the league table as they continue to build their form throughout this season.


Cardiff Blues


It was a tough afternoon for Blues in Edinburgh yesterday as the region suffered injuries to Jarrad Hoeata and then his replacement Chris Dicomidis in a match where they also collected three yellow cards.


Fly half Gareth Davies notched up two penalties in the first half but the Blues were hampered throughout the game by trips to the sin bin for Jarrad Hoeata, Ellis Jenkins and Sam Hobbs, whose absences stopped the region from building any real momentum until late in the game.


As the Blues piled the pressure on their hosts in the second half Adam Thomas scored a well-worked try for the region just after the hosts had been reduced to 13 men for infringing in defence. The Blues then maintained their resurgence but despite wave after wave of attack they could not breach the Edinburgh try line again.


Meanwhile, Gareth Anscombe showed some lovely touches on his Blues debut with some neat kicks and silky running but he was unable to get his regional career off to a winning start as Edinburgh ran in three tries to secure victory. The Blues will now hope to bounce back in their next league fixture at home against Benetton Treviso on Friday (19.35).


Newport Gwent Dragons


The Dragons were within touching distance of Munster at half time at Rodney Parade on Friday evening as they trailed by eight points but Munster’s renowned forward pack kept imposing themselves and eventually did enough damage after the break to lead their side home.


Munster scored through two Duncan Casey touchdowns plus tries from centre Andrew Smith and wing Ronan O’Mahoney. Former Blues player Robin Copeland also crossed the whitewash while Munster’s fly half Ian Keatley kicked 13 points in their 12-38 win.

On a difficult evening the Dragons could only manage four penalties from the boot of Rhys Jones, although Director of Rugby Lyn Jones said afterwards he felt the rugby played in the first half was as good as the Dragons have produced without scoring a try.

The Dragons’ attention now turns to the next league outing against Glasgow on Sunday (16.00) as they look to improve their form in the Guinness PRO 12.


Ospreys


Steve Tandy saw his side suffer an agonising late defeat against Ulster out in Belfast after a superb second half performance from the Ospreys as scrum half Martin Roberts scored a try after some great work from the forwards close to the Ulster line.


Sam Davies converted the try and also added three excellent penalties throughout the evening but a second try of the game for Darren Cave secured the Ulster win in the dying minutes. To add to Ospreys’ disappointment that score also stretched the scoreboard to take them out of reach of what would have been a thoroughly deserved and highly valuable losing bonus point.


Franco van der Merwe added another try for Ulster while Paddy Jackson (eight) and Ian Humprheys (two) also contributed vital points through their kicking.


It doesn’t get any easier for the Ospreys right now though as they know they face another stern test in the Guinness PRO12 away against reigning champions Leinster next Saturday (17.15).