Henco van Wyk’s last-gasp try sends Scarlets spinning to defeat
Henco van Wyk’s last-gasp try saw the Emirates Lions secure a thrilling 24-23 BKT United Rugby Championship win and hand Scarlets their first home defeat for more than a year.
Sanele Nohamba converted the score to see the Welsh side lose at Parc Y Scarlets for the first time in the league since 20 October 2022.
It looked as though returning Wales hooker Ryan Elias, on regional duty for the first time since returning from the World Cup in France, had given the Scarlets a winning lead when he converted an expert driving line-out maul 10 minutes from time.
The immaculate Ioan Lloyd added the conversion and it was then 23-14 to the home side. They looked odds on to hold out until Nohamba punished an error in the 77th minute with a 30-metre penalty and then Steff Evans had his kick up field charged down by opposite number Richard Kriel.
As Evans buried his head in his hands, Kriel raced onto the bouncing ball in the home 22, regathered and sent Van Wyk running to the posts.
Lloyd opened the scoring with a simple enough penalty three minutes into the game, and then it was his delightful side-stepping run that took the home side into the Lions 22, when Tom Rogers picked up the opening try.
The wide angled conversion from Lloyd made it 10-0, but the Lions hit back within five minutes with a try from their centre and captain Marius Louw, who simply picked up at the base of a ruck 10 metres out and ran straight through to the line.
Nohamba added the extras and the Lions were able to stay within three points at 10-7 up to the break, Lloyd hitting the upright with a 42-metre penalty with the last kick of the half. Just as he had done in the first half, Lloyd kicked a penalty at the start of the second.
But four minutes later the Lions bared their teeth. Nohamba got his hands on the ball at a penalty on the home 22, tapped to himself and raced towards the line. He was held up five metres short, but the Lions forwards wouldn’t give up a golden chance and hooker PJ Botha drove the final metre to the line for the try.
Nohamba added the extras and for the first time in the game the Lions were in the lead, although not for long. Another offside offence on their 10-metre line allowed Lloyd to kick his side back in front at 16-14.
Then came that Elias try and conversion before Nohamba replied with his penalty and conversion of Van Wyk’s try to notch the first win of the season for the Lions.
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