Gloucester Rugby saw their hopes of an LV= Cup semi-final disappear, after a young Cherry & Whites side lost a low-scoring clash at Parc y Scarlets.
The visitors made 15 changes from last weekend’s Heineken Cup win at Perpignan, as forwards coach Andrew Stanley took charge of a fresh-faced outfit.
Steffan Hughes drew first blood for Scarlets before Billy Burns hit back for Gloucester with a wonderful solo try.
However, a second-half Josh Lewis penalty and Aaron Warren’s late try were enough to see the Welsh side home and ensure the Cherry & Whites cannot catch Pool 1 leaders Saracens.
After a minute’s silence for legendary Llanelli No.8 Hefin Jenkins, who passed away on Friday, neither side produced a meaningful opening in a cagey opening quarter of an hour.
The home side were first to build some pressure in the opposition half but, typically of an error-strewn opening, the momentum was halted when referee Neil Hennessey pinged the Scarlets pack at the breakdown.
Gloucester soon looked to spread it wide for the first time in the game, but the hosts counter-punched and spurned an opportunity to open the scoring, Kristian Phillips misjudging a pass to skipper Josh Turnbull when two-on-one.
The clash eased into a more attractive affair as debutant Drew Cheshire broke the Scarlets line and, after half an hour, Steph Reynolds’ sharp break from the other wing was thwarted by a smart tap-tackle.
But disaster struck for Gloucester five minutes before the break when Hughes finished off a scrappy try for the home side in the corner.
Reynolds and Martyn Thomas collided under a high ball and Scarlets full-back Jordan Williams was on hand to collect and feed Hughes, but Lewis missed the conversion.
Scarlets ensured the second half kicked off in a similar vain to the first, with a series of big hits preventing Gloucester from showing too much creativity, but Gloucester took the lead after 55 minutes.
Burns, switched to fly-half shortly after the break, injected some life into the game when he breezed past two defenders and completed a superb solo effort, adding the extras himself.
Lewis then restored Scarlets’ lead, and made amends for his missed conversion, with a penalty after the hour mark – and a Burns effort fell short minutes later to leave the hosts 8-7 ahead.
And Scarlets struck a killer blow two minutes from time as winger Warren darted down the line to score, despite Gloucester’s appeals for a knock-on in the build-up – and Lewis missed a second conversion.
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