Connacht suffered a disappointing eight point loss to the Scarlets in the opening game of the Guinness Pro14 season. As the heavy rain poured down in Parc y Scarlets it was always going to be difficult for Connacht to eat into the home side’s lead that was constant when they scored the first try of the game.
Connacht had all the territory in the opening ten minutes and while Scarlets did muster two attacks, the Connacht defence were outstanding in defending their line.
The game continued to ebb and flow with Connacht dominating the territory but on 20 minutes, Scarlets only visit into the 22 resulted in a try in the corner which they failed to convert.
For large parts of the game this was a contest that was played between the two 22s.However it was scarlets accuracy when they did attack that proved the difference between the sides. After 33 minutes, Connacht failure to clear their lines gave Scarlets the opportunity to run in under the posts and when they landed the resulting conversion, Scarlets were 12 – 0 to the good.
Conor Fitzgerald did respond for Connacht with a penalty to reduce the home side’s lead to nine at the break.
The Scarlets drew first blood again in the second half when they were awarded a penalty in front of the posts. The successful kick brought the Scarlets back into a twelve point lead and it went from bad to worse as Tom Daly was sent to the bin.
During the numerical disadvantage however, Connacht took the initiative and Eoghan Masterson was the one to get over as Connacht had been banging on the door as the Scarlets gave away a succession of penalties. Fitzgerald’s successful conversion reduced the deficit back to five points as the game entered the final quarter.
As the torrential rain poured down, Scarlets added a penalty to close their account on 62 minutes and that score proved enough to secure the eight point lead.
A disappointing result for Connacht as they leave Wales with no points from their conference rivals. Next up is a home tie against Italian side Benetton on Saturday the 5th of October.
Connacht scorers – Conor Fitzgerald 1 pen, 1 conversion. Eoghan Masterson try.
Tiernan O’Halloran, Stephen Fitzgerald, Kyle Godwin, Tom Daly, Matt Healy, Conor Fitzgerald, Caolin Blade (Kieran Marmion), (1-8) Paddy McAllister (Denis Buckley), Tom McCartney, Finlay Bealham, Gavin Thornbury, Quinn Roux, Eoghan Masterson, Colby Fainga’a (Eoin McKeon then replaced by Ultan Dillane), Jarrad Butler.