sport

Easterby praises national stars

Scarlets coach Simon Easterby praised Wales squad members Liam Williams and Samson Lee after their 22-16 LV= Cup win over Cardiff Blues.

Full-back Williams, 21, and tighthead prop Lee, 19, were released back to the region after not being selected in the Wales matchday squad for the defeat to Samoa on Friday night.

Man-of-the-match Williams was a constant thorn in the side of the Blues' defence with his entries into the three-quarter line, and had a try ruled out after the video referee decided he had not grounded the ball, while Lee was a menace at scrum time and in the loose.

Easterby said: "Liam is going well and has gone well all season. He plays well most weeks and we had no complaints about having him back.

"It was great having them both back, to be fair (Wales interim head coach) Rob Howley has been excellent at giving us an early indication over who is available.

"They have both gone really well, we have been pretty pleased with Liam for a couple of years now and Samson has come on this year and been very effective.

"Wales will have a view after the Samoa match that they might need to change things and I am sure Liam and Samson will be on their radar to take on the All Blacks, but if they are not we would love to have them here."

The Blues, who had opened their Anglo-Welsh campaign with a win over Wasps last weekend, led 13-3 during the opening half thanks to a try from flanker Luke Hamilton and eight points from fly-half Gareth Davies.

But the Scarlets hit back through a converted penalty try and a Williams penalty to level the scores before half-time.

Davies put the Blues back in front, but Aled Thomas stepped up to land three late penalties and give the hosts the victory.

And Easterby was pleased with his side's second-half performance.

He said: "We lacked a bit of accuracy in the first half, but the second half was much better, we got good field position and had plenty of possession.

"We are trying out new combinations in this competition and I was pleased we came through to win the game."

Blues director of rugby Phil Davies was left to rue the sin-binning of prop Sam Hobbs for a cheap shot on Williams after 27 minute.

The incident allowed the Scarlets back into the game from 13-3 down as the home pack capitalised by destroying the Blues at a scrum to secure a penalty try.

Davies said: "That did not help us, we were in control of the game and if we had gone in 13-3 up it would have been really good.

"The scrum has improved immeasurably from the start of the season but tonight when we went down to seven men it was a real struggle."