Home Rugby Leigh Halfpenny In Fine Kicking Form As Scarlets Book Champions Cup Semi-Final Place

Leigh Halfpenny In Fine Kicking Form As Scarlets Book Champions Cup Semi-Final Place

European Rugby Champions Cup Quarter-Final, Parc y Scarlets, Wales 30/3/2018 Scarlets vs La Rochelle Scarlets' Leigh Halfpenny and Gareth Davies celebrate after the game Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

Welsh side Scarlets marched into the last four of the Champions Cup with a 29-17 victory over La Rochelle of France in Llanelli on Friday. 

Scarlets, playing in the knock out rounds of the competition for the first time since 2007, fielded 11 of the Wales team that beat France in the last round of the Six Nations earlier in March. 

Romain Sazy touched down for the French club after nine minutes, a try converted by Alexis Bales who added a penalty just before the break, but four penalties by fullback Leigh Halfpenny, who finished with 19 points, gave Scarlets a 12-10 lead at the break.

Halfpenny kicked another penalty early in the second half before the Scarlets added tries from Rhys Patchell and Scott Williams, both converted by the Welsh international full back.

Munster-bound Tadhg Beirne made a huge contribution to the match with just ten minutes remaining. With La Rochelle pushing for a try and the Pro 14 side reduced to 14 after Will Boyde’s yellow, the flanker made an enormous steal from a lineout to take the pressure off and swing the momentum back in his team’s favour.

When Williams beat two defenders to put the Scarlets 17 points ahead with four minutes to play, the sold out Parc-y-Scarlets went delirious with joy.

La Rochelle only managed to find a way though after time was up when Pierre Boudehent broke away for a try.

Scarlets will face Leinster or Saracens next month for a place in the final.

© Agence France-Presse (with additional edits from Simon O’Keeffe)

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