Matthew Jacobs scores the Scarlets first try against the Barbarians in the official opening of Parc y Scarlets.
The Scarlets claimed the Carwyn James Memorial trophy with a six-try salvo in a 40-24 victory to launch the official opening of Parc y Scarlets in emphatic fashion.
The Scarlets raced over for four tries in the first half to have a commanding 26-5 lead at the break but with a number of players unavailable due to international call-ups, the home side were unable to keep up the pace in the second period as the inexperienced outfit had to withstand a late rally by the Barbarians.
With the stadium officially opened by First Minister Rhodri Morgan, the game was only three minutes old before the first try was scored. Centre Jonathan Davies kicked deep into Barbarians territory which saw winger Matthew Jacobs collect and dive over in Brain Carney's tackle. Ceiron Thomas added the conversion to give the home side an early 7-0 lead.
The Barbarians, with 10 different nationalites in their line-up, weren't afraid to throw the ball round with Cardiff Blues full-back Ben Blair showing quick feet in one burst but he was left clutching thin air on 14 minutes when Davies was put into a gap by fellow centre Gavin Evans and the big midfielder side-stepped Blair to race clear to give Thomas an easy conversion for the Scarlets to extend their lead to 14-0.
Davies was to the fore again six minutes later when he weighed up the options in front of him before off-loading a perfect pass to the flying full back Morgan Stoddart who raced clear without having a hand placed on him. Again Thomas added the conversion to take the score to 21-0.
The Barbarians eventually got on the score sheet in the 37th minute after the invitational side went through the phases. The ball was flung wide to Irish winger Carney who went over in Jacobs tackle.
But the Scarelets finished on a high note in the first half when Stoddart burst clear to scorch over for his second try to send the home side into the tunnel with a comfortable 26-5 lead at the break.
Davies, who was a proving a constant menace, showed his power when setting up next try. The 'Pembrey Powerhouse' Phil John, who had only been on the park a matter of seconds, collected his pass and trumbled within touching distance of the try-line before setting up a ruck. Scrum-half Martin Roberts then darted from the base to scoot over to gift wrap another Thomas conversion.
The game then went through a scrappy period before the Scarlets scored their sixth try after Darren Daniel broke through the Baa-Baas defence to send Gavin Evans clear. With Thomas adding another conversion, the Scarlets held a healthy 40-5 lead.
The Barbarians then hit a purple patch with three tries in quick succession to Blair, Jeremy Staunton and Thomas de Vedia but it wasn't enough as the Scarlets fans began to celebrate their official opening in style.
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.