RGC 1404 Under 18s went down to their Scarlet counterparts by 32-20 in their opening fixture in this season's regional age-grade competition.
The young North Walians had drawn first blood as early as the 4th minute through a Lewis Barker penalty and although this early advantage was soon wiped out by a Jack Maynard three-pointer for the Scarlets, they were unlucky not to regain the lead with the majority of the first quarter action taking place within the visitors 22.
They were left to rue these opportunities when the impressive Scarlets winger,Jake Randell,scored the first of his brace of tries. However less than three minutes later they crossed the whitewash themselves when Harri Evans finished off a break from impressive inside centre Mike Jones. With Barker adding the extras and a penalty after 30 minutes, it was the RGC 1404 side that went into the half-time break with a narrow 13-10 lead.
This advantage was to prove shortlived as a combination of poor-decision making from the home side and incisive counter-attacking from the visitors led to the Scarlets scoring three tries in the opening 15 minutes of the second-half.
A second from Randell, as well as scores from his wing partner, Jevon Barnes, and forward Sion Bennett put the Scarlets in control. Debutant Jordan Sheridan scored with 10 minutes left to give RGC 1404 hope of a comeback but these were extinguished when Scarlets fly-half Jack Maynard slotted over his second penalty with just over five minutes remaining.
Marc Roberts, the WRU Performance Development manager for North Wales said: " We are bitterly disappointed with this result as we were competitive in all aspects of play and dominant in the contact area for the majority of the game.
"However the Scarlets fully deserved the win as they were clinical with the limited opportunities they had. Our disappointment is a reflection of how far we have developed we no longer wish to compete with the South Wales regions the ambition within the players, coaches and management is to win!"
RGC 1404 Under 18s next game is away at the Dragons on 11th September.
Nearly 40 players were involved in the first Wales Under 18 training session of the season. WRU National Performance Manager Gethin Watts is excited at the potential shown by the group and expects the Regional Under 18 Championship to hone their skills even further.
The WRU officially unveiled the new pitch today in time for Wales to take on Australia in the first of the Dove Men Series autumn international matches this Saturday. Head Groundsman Lee Evans and colleague Craig Campbell reflect on the 15-week project and look ahead to a pitch perfect future at Millennium Stadium.