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Scarlets will be hoping to stretch their winning EPCR Challenge Cup run this season to five matches when they host CA Brive in the Round of 16 at Parc y Scarlets on Friday night.
The Welsh region finished top of Pool B after winning all four of their pool matches, scoring 124 points, and have the competition’s leading try-scorer in Steff Evans with five.
Brive snatched the final qualification spot in Pool A by beating Cardiff Rugby 37-24 in Round 4, their only Challenge Cup win so far this season, when they have recorded a points difference of -91.
However, the French club did beat Scarlets 15-11 in their only other EPCR Challenge Cup encounter, in the 2012 quarter-finals.
The match kicks off at 8pm UK time and can be watched on S4C, beIN Sports and FloRugby.
Scarlets head coach Dwayne Peel said: “Brive will come here and make it difficult for us. They are going to be very physical. They have excellent line-out defence, one of the best in the Top 14, and they fight hard at the breakdown. We have prepped well and are expecting a tough challenge, especially up front. They will be a tough nut to crack.”
💻 Update from today's press conference
Dan Davis has been ruled out of Friday's #ChallengeCup match against Brive with a hamstring injury, but all of Wales' Six Nations squad members are in contention#SCAvCAB #YmaOHyd pic.twitter.com/8LutGpLnpn
— Scarlets Rugby (@scarlets_rugby) March 28, 2023
- Dan Davis made three clean breaks in Round 4 – more than any other forward left in the EPCR Challenge Cup.
- Aaron Shingler made as many tackles as any other player in the last round (18).
- Steff Evans is the top try-scorer in the tournament so far, having notched five in the four pool matches.
- Seta Tuicuvu made more clean breaks in Round 4 than any other back (3).
- Nicholas Sanchez was the only player in the last round of the EPCR Challenge Cup to produce a try assist with a kick.
- Kevin Fabien is CA Brive’s top try-scorer in the competition with four. He is the only Brive player to have scored more than one try.
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Scarlets triumphed in the EPCR Challenge Cup Round of 16 with a battling 19-7 win over CA Brive at Parc y Scarlets on Friday evening
Second-half tries from Vaea Fifita and Aaron Shingler proved the difference in a rainy affair in the south of Wales, with Sam Costelow notching a trio of penalties from the tee before the break.
A scintillating run and score from Stuart Olding, converted by himself, was the lone blemish on the night for the hosts as Brive closed the gap to 9-7 for a brief period in the second half.
Scarlets opened the scoring with three minutes on the clock, fly-half Costelow dissecting the uprights from the left flank. He added a second penalty on the quarter-of-an-hour mark and a third with half an hour played as the Welsh region built a 9-0 lead at the interval.
Brive played a large portion of the first half down to 14 men, first full-back Nic Krone, then flanker Said Hireche were sent to the sin bin for offences on nine and 19 minutes respectively, but the visitors produced commendable resistance despite their reduced numbers.
And it was Brive who scored the first try of the contest seven minutes into the second period – fly-half Olding scampered onto a Setariki Tuicuvu kick from inside his own half, outpacing the Scarlets defense and sliding over in the corner before converting the try himself.
Scarlets found a response precisely three minutes as lock Fifita broke from the back of a ruck on halfway and sprinted across the whitewash for a stunning try, putting the home side 14-7 up.
With just two minutes remaining in the contest, flanker Shingler added the cherry on the top of the cake as he powered over from close range to cement their place in the quarter-finals of the EPCR Challenge Cup, where they will host ASM Clermont Auvergne at Parc y Scarlets next weekend.