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Scarlets hold off Dragons
Injury to Tovey costs hosts dear as they miss plenty of penalties
A try from Johnathan Edwards proved enough to clinch the Scarlets a hard-fought 10-6 win over Welsh rivals Newport Gwent Dragons.
Scarlets moved into the RaboDirect PRO12 top five with their second derby win in four days, following their 22-14 Boxing Day win against the Ospreys.
Dragons fly-half Jason Tovey kicked two first-half penalties before going off at half-time, while Dan Newton converted Edwards' try, with Aled Thomas adding a penalty for the visitors.
Scarlets touched down for the all-important score after 18 minutes, turnover ball on halfway leading to Andy Fenby speeding down the touchline.
He passed inside to full-back Newton who in turn sent it back out to Edwards, who rounded home full-back Martyn Thomas to cross in the corner, Newton adding the conversion from wide out.
Dragons' goal-kicking was to be their Achilles' heel all night. Tovey, who declined a seemingly reasonable penalty towards the posts, found the target on 25 minutes with a second attempt.
However, with their regular kicker unavailable, centre Lewis Robling, making only his second start for the region, tried a simple 20-metre penalty in front of the posts - only to spoon it wide of the uprights.
Welsh international number eight Toby Faletau had an easy chance to put wing Tonderai Chavhanga in at the right corner but threw a terrible pass that the South African dropped, allowing the Scarlets to escape unscathed.
Still, the hosts cut the gap when Tovey slotted over a penalty awarded following the sin-binning of Scarlets number eight Kieran Murphy for deliberately coming in from the side at a ruck.
Crucially, the away side managed to last the 10 minutes without any further damage.
Robling's night went sour, as did his confidence, when he missed three penalties. All were in front of the posts although one, in fairness, was from a fair way out.
And, after all their hard work up front, it was fitting that the Scarlets pack earned their side a 45-metre penalty with seven minutes remaining that proved to be the decisive score, kicked by Thomas.
There was a late rush by the Dragons but when Welsh wing Aled Brew dropped a pass inside the Scarlets 22, with a possible try in front of him, it ended a dreary night for the home side and sent their rivals home happy.
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RaboDirect PRO12 Table
|Saturday 6th September|
|TBC||Connacht vs Newport Gwent D'gons|
|Saturday 13th September|
|TBC||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Ospreys|
|Saturday 20th September|
|TBC||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Glasgow|
|Saturday 27th September|
|TBC||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Benetton Treviso|
|Saturday 4th October|
|TBC||Scarlets vs Newport Gwent D'gons|
|Saturday 11th October|
|TBC||Edinburgh vs Newport Gwent D'gons|
|Saturday 1st November|
|15:00||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Exeter|
|TBC||Ulster vs Newport Gwent D'gons|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com