Steven Shingler kicked a dramatic stoppage time penalty from close to halfway as Scarlets won the battle of the Guinness PRO12’s top two 25-22 at Parc y Scarlets. Shingler kicked 15 points, while the Scarlets scored two tries through wing DTH van der Merwe and replacement Tom Williams. Munster’s try was scored by full-back Andrew Conway, with Ian Keatley supplying 17 points with the boot. Scarlets selected four of Wales’ World Cup squad players – Ken Owens, Samson Lee, Jake Ball and Gareth Davies, who was named on the replacements’ bench. Munster, who made eight changes from the win against Glasgow, did not include any of their World Cup players. But despite that Munster fully deserved their 13-6 half-time lead making the most of an error-strewn display by Scarlets in persistent drizzle. Early Munster pressure got them on the scoreboard first with a Keatley penalty on six minutes. Twice Scarlets, who had a nightmare in the line-out, found themselves deep inside the opposition 22 only to fluff both efforts. First they gave away a penalty in the shadow of the Munster posts and then, after a Van der Merwe break, Shingler knocked on just short of the line. On 26 minutes Munster scored a try when full-back Conway pounced on a Scarlets handling error, kicking the ball up field three times before winning the race to the touchdown. Shingler and Keatley swapped penalties before the former kept the Scarlets in touch with his second penalty in the final minute of the first half. Press Association The victory sent unbeaten Scarlets back to the top of the table and in the process ended Munster’s own unbeaten record. In a close encounter Scarlets had trailed 22-19 going into the final seven minutes but fly-half Shingler, who had missed a couple of shots at goal, found the target twice when it mattered. Scarlets made a dramatic start to the second half after Van der Merwe got over in the left corner, but Shingler missed the conversion and the chance to level the scores. But seven minutes later Scarlets erred offside, which allowed Keatley to convert his third penalty. However, replacement Tom Williams scored in the right corner to level the scores at 16-16 before he was sin-binned for a high tackle. While he was off Scarlets managed to keep the scores level. Keatley dropped a goal, a score that was cancelled out by Shingler’s third penalty. But, having missed two long range kicks, Keatley split the posts with a 50-metre effort to put his side in front with seven minutes remaining. That was just enough time for Shingler to kick over two more penalties on 78 and 83 minutes to earn Scarlets a famous win as Munster were forced to make do with a losing bonus point.
Tommy Nolan hit the back of the Galway net late on and but it wasn’t enough as the Tribesmen held on to win the Irish Press cup.Afterwards Tipp manager Liam Cahill admitted they were chasing the game in the second half while Galway manager Jeffrey Lynskey felt Tipp tired in the second half. Galway ran out convincing 4-13 to 1-16 winners at the final whistle, despite a massive performance from the Premier County that saw the sides go into the dressing room at half time on level pegging. Tipp hitting ten first half points to Galway’s 1-7, Brian Concannon hitting the first goal for Galway.They added three more in the second half from Liam Forde, Cian Fahy and Michael Lynch.
It was a result that has renewed doubts about Argentina’s ability to mount a sustained challenge at this World Cup, four years after they reached the final in Brazil.Another adverse outcome on Thursday and many may even start to consider the unthinkable — that Argentina could be on their way out at the group stage, mirroring their shock first round exit in 2002.Legend Diego Maradona called the Iceland result a “disgrace” and warned coach Jorge Sampaoli he would not be able to return to Argentina with similar performances.Adding to the sense of disappointment, Messi’s missed penalty was accompanied by 11 unsuccessful shots, the most in a World Cup game without return by a single player since Italy’s Luigi Riva in 1970.Argentina’s players however have been quick to close ranks around the Barcelona superstar.“We are all with him, he knows that he can count on the support of all of us more than ever,” said Argentina striker Paulo Dybala.“We are here to help him every moment, and of course we will be at his side,” Dybala added.Defender Cristian Ansaldi meanwhile insisted Messi was in good spirits despite the Iceland setback.“We all know what Messi represents to our team and to our country,” Ansaldi said. “Not only is he the best player in the world on the pitch, he is also best player off the field. He’s in good shape and that’s good for us.”Despite the solitary point against Iceland, Argentina can take solace from a performance which saw them muster 26 shots and have 72 per cent possession against Iceland.Sampaoli is reportedly considering several changes for the game, including drafting in young forward Cristian Pavon for Angel Di Maria for more creativity up front.Similarly in midfield, Paris Saint-Germain’s Giovani Lo Celso could start as Argentina seek more attacking options, possibly at the expense of Lucas Biglia.Their jobs would be to supply Messi and goalscorer against Iceland Sergio Aguero with the kind of service on which they would thrive in a potential 3-3-3-1 formation.Croatia may have secured a vital three points in their 2-0 win against Nigeria in their opening game, but their mood can hardly be described as euphoric.They came into the tournament under a cloud, with captain Luka Modric charged with perjury in a corruption scandal which has rocked Croatian football.And striker Nikola Kalinic has left Russia due to a back injury, says coach Zlatko Dalic, but amid reports he refused to come on as a substitute after being left out of the starting line-up.Off-field problems for now though have not affected them and they are expected to field an unchanged team, which also includes Messi’s Barcelona teammate Ivan Rakitic.The teams have met only once before in the World Cup, in 1998, when Argentina won 1-0 and were the only team that year to prevent Golden Boot winner Davor Suker from scoring.One other possible omen for Thursday; when Riva racked up his unwanted record in 1970, the Italian legend promptly scored two goals in his next match.Argentina will be hoping for the same from Messi.0Shares0000(Visited 2 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Lionel Messi made an unhappy start to the World Cup, missing what would have been a winning penalty as Argentina were held to a 1-1 draw by minnows Iceland © AFP / Mladen ANTONOVNIZHNIY Novgorod, Russian Federation, Jun 20 – Argentina are rallying around captain Lionel Messi as the South American giants prepare for their crucial Group D clash with Croatia here on Thursday.Messi made an unhappy start to the World Cup on Saturday, missing what would have been a winning penalty as Argentina were held to a 1-1 draw by minnows Iceland.