The Scarlets face a nervous wait to see if they qualify for the Pro14 play-offs after an impressive 41-20 win over the much-changed Dragons on Saturday kept them in contention.

In a thrilling contest at Rodney Parade, Scarlets enjoyed a significant advantage in the scrums and had Dan Jones produce a fine display at fly-half, but it was not all plain-sailing for the visitors.

Scarlets held a slender four-point advantage at the break, with Samson Lee, Steff Evans and Jamie Davies touching down, while Jared Rosser and Taine Basham scored at the other end.

But Scarlets charged ahead after the interval, with Johnny McNicholl, Tom Rogers and Dane Blacker getting in on the act, while Jones' kicks were on the money five times.

The six-try victory secured Scarlets a bonus point, which moves them second in Conference B, but they need Connacht to do them a favour against Munster on Sunday otherwise their season will be over.

In Conference A, Leinster and Ulster have already made sure of their places in the play-offs, though the latter will be concerned about their chances in the next stage after disappointing in the two teams' meeting on Saturday.

Leinster, who gave many fringe players the opportunity to impress, claimed a brilliant 28-10 win at the Aviva Stadium.

Ed Byrne's early try sent them on their way, with the boot of Ross Byrne giving them a 13-0 lead at half-time.

Ulster were a little more threatening in the second 40, with Rob Herring getting them back in contention by finishing in the 53rd minute, but Scott Penny and Harry Byrne went over late on to wrap up a superb victory.

Ashton Hewitt salvaged a 20-20 Pro14 draw for the Dragons against the Ospreys after George North was sent off.

Wales wing North scored the opening try but saw red after only 14 minutes for taking Hewitt out in the air at the Liberty Stadium.

Yet still the Ospreys looked set to hold on for only a third victory of the season.

They led 20-15 at the break after Sam Perry also went over and Stephen Myler scored 10 points with the boot, Hewitt and Leon Brown touching down at the other end.

The Dragons could not find a way through a resolute Ospreys defence until Hewitt slid over in the corner right at the end, Sam Davies missing a chance to win it when his conversion attempt sailed wide.

Connacht got the better of Irish rivals Ulster 26-20 in their penultimate match of the regular season at the Aviva Stadium.

John Porch and Kieran Marmion finished to give Connacht a 14-6 advantage at the interval, with Bundee Aki – making his 100th appearance for the club – and Jack Aungier dotting down in the second half.

Jacob Stockdale and Nick Timoney scored the Ulster tries but they slumped to a defeat ahead of a clash with leaders Leinster before the Final Series.

Former Wales centre Jamie Roberts has returned to his homeland to join the Dragons.

The 33-year-old, capped 94 times by his country, is back on home soil after a short spell with South African side the Stormers.

Roberts, who toured with the British and Irish Lions in 2009 and 2013, has not played for a Welsh club since leaving Cardiff Blues to join Racing 92 seven years ago.

Dragons director of rugby Dean Ryan said: "It's great news that we are bringing someone of Jamie's quality to the region and we know he will make an immediate impact for us.

"He remains an ambitious and driven player and is looking forward to coming into our environment.

"To have his experience on the pitch will be a great addition to us, and he will also be an excellent mentor for the younger players in our squad."

The Dragons are set to resume the Pro14 season against the Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium on August 23 after over five months on the sidelines due to the coronavirus crisis.

The Premiership has been suspended for five weeks and the quarter-finals of the European Champions Cup and Challenge Cup have been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Premiership Rugby's decision followed new guidance from the United Kingdom government on Monday.

British prime minister Boris Johnson encouraged people to avoid mass gatherings and all "non-essential" travel and contact with others.

"The safety of our fans, players and staff is our first priority, and we would like to wish all of those who are affected our heartfelt best wishes and a very speedy recovery," a Premiership Rugby statement read.

"We'll continue to work closely with DCMS [the Departure for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport] and Public Health England, and to follow the advice of medical experts, and work with our clubs to help them to support their own wider communities at this time."

The decision to call off the European rugby season was taken during a conference call on Monday.

It means the matches in the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup scheduled for April 3, 4 and 5 will not now go ahead as planned, although organisers hope to rearrange the fixtures for later dates.

In a statement, the board of European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) said: "While respecting all further directives by governments and local authorities, EPCR, in conjunction with the relevant leagues and unions, remains committed to trying to find a solution which will enable it to complete the 2019-20 Champions Cup and Challenge Cup tournaments at such a time as that aligns with preventative measures undertaken by an overwhelming majority of sport's governing bodies and tournament organisers in Europe.  

"EPCR's priority is the health and welfare of players and club staff, and an update regarding the knockout stages of the tournaments will be communicated to all stakeholders as soon as practicable."

Former Wales centre Matthew J Watkins has died at the age of 41, the Welsh Rugby Union has announced.

Watkins, who won 18 caps for his country, was diagnosed with pelvic cancer in 2013. The disease later spread to his head, Watkins revealed in January.

He began his career as a teenager with hometown club Newport, before moving on to Llanelli, becoming part of the Scarlets side in the early years of regional rugby in Wales.

Spells with Gloucester and the Dragons followed before Watkins retired in 2011. His first Wales cap came in 2003, against Italy.

The national team will wear black armbands against England in Saturday's Six Nations match in memory of Watkins.

The Scarlets said they were "deeply saddened" by news of Watkins' death, describing him as "a silky-skilled, creative midfielder, who was a hugely popular figure among our supporters, the playing squad and staff".

Expressing similar sorrow, the Dragons said Watkins, who raised many thousands of pounds for cancer charities, would "be missed by so many".

Benetton Treviso made the most of their chance to return to Pro14 action as they ran out 37-25 winners against the Dragons.

Last weekend's home game against Ulster was postponed when the Treviso side were prevented from playing in Italy due to concerns over the coronavirus.

For Friday's match in Newport, Benetton provided assurances to competition organisers that no members of their squad or travelling party had shown any COVID-19 symptoms, had knowingly been in contact with any carriers, or had recently spent time in the parts of northern Italy which have been locked down to avoid the spread of the virus.

On a Rodney Parade pitch that cut up badly, Benetton were the superior side and surged 14-0 ahead after just 14 minutes through tries from full-back Luca Sperandio, a dazzling score from a lightning move, and hooker Tomas Baravalle.

Both were converted by Ian Keatley, who was later named man of the match for a 17-point performance, before a pair of Jacob Botica penalties gave the home side a foothold.

A Keatley penalty nudged Benetton 17-6 ahead but a Rhodri Williams try, with Botica adding the extras, came just before the break and gave hope to the Dragons.

Angelo Esposito put Benetton back in charge when dotting down just a minute into the second half, with Keating converting and adding a pair of three-pointers off the tee to put the Italians firmly in control.

Will Talbot-Davies trimmed the deficit, Arwel Robson this time adding the conversion, as the Dragons got back to 30-20 adrift with 10 minutes remaining.

However, Epalahame Faiva went over for Benetton to make sure of the win, with Elliot Dee's late response for the hosts a small consolation.

The match was a rearranged fixture, having been postponed last month due to safety fears as Storm Dennis swept through Wales.

Ulster and Glasgow Warriors both claimed victories on Saturday to keep themselves in pole position for a place in the Pro14 play-off quarter-finals.

Second in Conference A, Ulster bounced back from an away defeat at Ospreys last time out as they ran out 20-10 winners over Cheetahs.

Tries from Tom O'Toole and Robert Baloucoune proved enough for Ulster to claim their eighth win of the season and maintain their unbeaten run at home in all competitions this campaign.

Clayton Blommetjies drove over for Cheetahs with 15 minutes remaining, but the visitors did not have enough to set up a grandstand finish.

Glasgow, meanwhile, moved up to third in Conference A with a 30-19 comeback victory over Dragons, who took the lead through a Rhodri Williams try in the first minute.

The Warriors swiftly hit back via Tim Swinson and Grant Stewart to take a 10-point lead into the break.

Williams got his second for Dragons while Stewart doubled his tally for the home side and Huw Jones secured the bonus point after being dropped by Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend.

Ashton Hewitt's try brought Dragons back into contention but Mesu Dolokoto's late score made sure of a third straight win for Glasgow.

Luke Price booted the Ospreys to a stunning 26-24 victory over Ulster and Leinster maintained their 100 per cent Pro14 record by defeating the Cheetahs on Saturday.

The Ospreys had only one Pro14 victory to their name in the competition against Benetton Treviso back in October, but doubled their tally with a shock success as Storm Dennis battered Swansea.

Ulster, second in Conference A behind Leinster, came from 23-10 down to take a one-point lead courtesy of tries from Matt Faddes and Stuart McCloskey, Bill Johnston converting both scores in the space of nine minutes.

Scott Otten had scored a try in each half for the home side after Owen Watkin's five-pointer, but they looked set for more agony until Price split the posts with his third penalty of the match five minutes from time to lift the gloom.

The Leinster juggernaut rolled on at the RDS Arena, where Will Connors grabbed a double and there were also tries for Michael Bent, Ronan Kelleher and Rhys Ruddock in a commanding 36-12 victory.

Luan de Bruin and Aidon Davis crossed for the Cheetahs, third in Conference A, but they were soundly beaten by the defending champions.

Edinburgh completed a double over the Scarlets with a 14-9 win in Llanelli to return to the summit of Conference B, Duhan van der Merwe and Matt Scott scoring the only tries.

Connacht thumped Cardiff Blues 29-0, while the encounter between the Dragons and Treviso, due to be played at Rodney Parade, was called off due to the extreme weather conditions. 

George North opened the scoring for Ospreys on his return from injury on Saturday, but a dramatic finish saw Dragons come out on top in their Pro14 derby clash.

Wales wing North had been out of action since rupturing his hamstring in the Rugby World Cup semi-final defeat to South Africa in October.

He was fit to start and play 79 minutes for struggling Ospreys, yet his eventual departure came amid a thrilling stretch in which Dragons claimed a 25-18 victory.

North dotted down after 19 minutes following Scott Williams' kick and, although Leon Brown responded in style, Ospreys were in control again as Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler scored in the second half.

They remained in front until the 74th minute, but Rio Dyer's try brought Dragons back into the match, and Adam Warren went over with two minutes remaining to settle it.

Defeat leaves Ospreys still bottom of Conference A with just one win in 10 matches.

Fellow strugglers Zebre found some form at home to Cheetahs.

Charlie Walker scored a pair of tries in a 41-13 success, just Zebre's second of the campaign.

At the other end of the table, Leinster equalled their best ever start to a season with a 10th straight win, defeating Connacht 54-7.

Max Deegan and Garry Ringrose each scored twice, with the table-topping Irish province crossing eight times in all in another dominant victory.

Elsewhere, George Horne went over twice and brother Pete also got on the scoresheet as Glasgow Warriors ran in six tries to claim a 38-19 bonus-point win at Benetton.

Meanwhile, Edinburgh took full advantage of Pieter Scholtz's early dismissal to rout Southern Kings 61-13.

Scholtz saw red for contact to the neck in the 13th minute, and Edinburgh, who trailed at that point, scored the first of their nine tries a minute later in a handsome victory.

Rhys Webb will leave Toulon at the end of the season and return to Wales, the Top 14 club have announced.

Wales scrum-half Webb asked to be released from his contract a year early for family reasons – his wife and three children moved back to Wales in January 2019 – and Toulon obliged.

According to reports, the 31-year-old will join the Ospreys or the Dragons for the 2020-21 Pro14 season, something that would enable him to resume his international career.

In a statement posted on Toulon's official website, Webb said: "I would like to thank the club for the welcome and support it has given me since I joined last season.

"It has been and remains an honour to play for this great club. I loved all the time I spent here and I would especially like to thank my team-mates, coaches, supporters and all those who are now like friends and family for life.

"It was difficult for me to be away from my family and my young children. From now on, I am determined to give my best for the club until the end of the season and I hope we will get the victories the club deserves."

Webb has made 26 appearances for Toulon and scored three tries. His last Wales cap came against South Africa in December 2017.

The Scarlets halted a two-match losing streak in the Pro14 in style by thrashing the Ospreys 44-0, while Cardiff Blues edged out the Dragons in the Welsh derbies on Boxing Day.

Following confirmation of Liam Williams' return from Saracens at the end of the season, Scarlets put on a show in a rampant win over their rivals.

It is now 10 defeats in a row in all competitions for Ospreys, who were 20-0 down at the break, with half of Scarlets' first-half points coming via the boot of Leigh Halfpenny.

Steff Evans and Ryan Conbeer went over in the first half, and both players doubled their tallies prior to the hour mark, with Kieran Hardy and Josh Macleod also crossing to complete the rout and lift Scarlets up to second in Conference B.

In the other match of the day, Cardiff claimed the bragging rights with a closely fought 16-12 triumph over the Dragons.

The visiting Dragons managed two tries to the Blues' one, but accurate kicking from Jarrod Evans and a final penalty from Jason Tovey gave Cardiff a four-point lead heading into the closing stages.

Dragons' hopes of a comeback were made slimmer when Ashton Hewitt was sin-binned with 10 minutes remaining and Cardiff held firm to claim a fourth straight win.

Glasgow Warriors edged out Pro14 rivals Edinburgh 20-16 in the opening match of the 1872 Cup thanks to a late try from George Turner.

A full-blooded encounter at Scotstoun – in which five yellows were shown – was settled when Turner went over with five minutes remaining.

Turner's try capped off a frantic flurry of action, with Ali Price having gone in under the sticks before Blair Kinghorn put Edinburgh 16-13 up.

But having already been reduced to 14 men for the third time when Nic Groom was sent to the sin-bin prior to Turner's try, Edinburgh could not mount a late comeback.

Elsewhere, Munster retained top spot in Conference B thanks to a 19-14 win over second-place Connacht.

JJ Hanrahan was the key man for Munster, kicking 14 points, with Jack O'Donoghue scoring what proved to be the decisive try.

There was late drama as the Ospreys hosted Cardiff Blues, as Jason Tovey's penalty secured a 19-16 win for the visitors, who had three players sent to the sin-bin.

A last-gasp drop goal from Sam Davies gave Dragons a slender 22-20 victory over Scarlets, while Benetton defeated fellow Italian side Zebre 13-8.

Glasgow Warriors were unable to exact a measure of revenge for their defeat to Leinster in last season's Pro14 final as the Irish province recorded their first win at Scotstoun in seven years.

Leinster beat Glasgow 18-15 at Celtic Park in May and the defending champions made it seven wins from seven to start the new campaign thanks to a 23-10 success.

They fell 10-3 behind as Ruaridh Jackson took advantage of Hugo Keenan's fourth-minute yellow card with a brace, though neither try was converted.

Cian Kelleher scored a pair of tries himself before the interval and as well as adding the extras on both occasions, Ross Byrne slotted over three penalties.

Glasgow could not even claim a losing bonus point as Leinster kept their hosts out during 31 phases of play at the end of the game.

Jason Harries' 81st-minute try earned Cardiff Blues a thrilling 31-28 victory over Benetton Treviso.

Treviso led for much of the contest but only one of their four tries was converted whereas the quartet of Cardiff scores each had the extras added to them.

Connacht kept up the pressure on Conference B leaders Munster with a 24-12 victory over Southern Kings, while Conference A's bottom side Zebre claimed their first win of the season, a 39-12 thrashing of the Dragons.

Elsewhere, the Cheetahs claimed their fourth victory of the season, overcoming the Ospreys 18-13.

Leinster continued their magnificent start to the Pro14 season as they cruised to a sixth successive victory, overcoming Connacht 42-11 on Friday.

Conference A leaders and defending champions Leinster fell behind to an early penalty, but five first-half tries – two each from Andrew Porter and Ronan Kelleher – had them 35-6 up by the interval.

Stephen Fitzgerald claimed Connacht's only try of the match eight minutes into the second half, but visiting Leinster added further gloss through James Lowe with 11 minutes remaining.

Elsewhere, Duhan van der Merwe's try combined with accurate kicking from Simon Hickey ensured Edinburgh did not fall foul of an attempted comeback from the Dragons, triumphing 20-7 at Murrayfield.

The Scottish side led 10-0 at half-time. While Adam Warren crossed for a converted try to briefly get the visitors back into contention, Van der Merwe's well-worked score helped wrap up the points.

Hickey kicked two conversions and a pair of penalties for Edinburgh, who are now up to second in Conference B.

Leinster and Glasgow Warriors both ran in 50 points as they claimed emphatic Pro14 victories over the Dragons and Southern Kings respectively.

Group A leaders Leinster have made a fantastic start to the season and continued their fine form with a 50-15 triumph at the RDS Arena to make it five wins from five.

Michael Bent started things off early for Leinster, who never looked likely to relinquish their lead over the Dragons, which stood at 19-8 by half-time.

Harry Byrne – on his first Leinster start – also got in on the act, with the fly-half also kicking five conversions, with tries from Dave Kearney, Ronan Kelleher and James Lowe setting the stage for Hugh O'Sullivan's double to complete the rout.

Glasgow, meanwhile, will be hoping their 50-0 demolition of Southern Kings can kick-start what has been an indifferent campaign so far.

Warriors coach Dave Rennie has been identified by New Zealand as a possible replacement for Steve Hansen, but three defeats out of four matches had left Glasgow languishing in the lower reaches of Group A.

Rennie's side responded in force, however, running in five tries in the first half before adding a further three – including a penalty try – after the restart as their South African opponents wilted. 

Behind Leinster in the Group A standings are Ulster, who came from behind to overcome lowly Zebre 22-7 in Friday's other match.

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