A 14 – 8 win over Scarlets at the Sportsground tonight meant that Pat Lam’s men maintained their unbeaten home record and also defeated the Welsh side for the first time in over three years.

Connacht’s sixth league win after nine rounds this season has solidified their position in the top six of the GUINNESS PRO12 as the league heads into a two week break to make way for European action.

Matt Healy’s stunning second half try was the turning point of the game eight minutes into the second half and Jack Carty kicked three penalties in the game to secure the win.

Wayne Pivac’s side came into the match brimming with confidence after last week’s win over Glasgow Warriors and outhalf Steve Shinger got the score board ticking with a penalty on one minute. Two minutes later, Connacht’s Jack Carty misjudged a ball kicked to him and it bounced into Shinger’s hands to allow him put winger Harry Robinson clear to cross the line. The outhalf missed the easy conversion but Scarlets were 8 – 0 clear before the five-minute mark.

But Carty made up for his earlier mistake and reduced the deficit when his side were awarded a penalty for a clear obstruction on the attacking Mils Muliaina, who had another impressive performance in the Connacht shirt.

Half time: Connacht 3 – 8 Scarlets

Connacht impressed from the restart and started to look dangerous with ball in hand. After some solid work at the scrum in which a penalty was gained, Carty’s strike for the posts was on target to reduce the deficit to just two points.

Minutes later, Healy was over for the try. A huge hit from Mick Kearney allowed the replacement lock to steal the ball and pop up to Dave McSharry who flung the ball out wide to Healy. The 26-year-old then kicked and chased his way up from the half way line to touch down in the corner.

Carty missed the conversion but was able to kick his side six points clear on the hour mark when forward pressure in the visitors 22 paid dividends.

Scarlets kept the pressure on and a break up the wing looked disastrous before Muliaina put in another try saving tackle with 10 minutes left on the clock.

Carty missed a late drop goal attempt and 77-minute penalty dropped short but it was an ultimate team effort to hold on to the ball on the half way line and grind out the win.

Full time: Connacht 14 – 8 Scarlets

Man of the Match: Bundee Aki

Attendance: 5, 631

CONNACHT: M Muliaina; D Poolman, B Aki, D McSharry, M Healy; J Carty, K Marmion; D Buckley, T McCartney, R Ah You; Q Roux, A Browne; J Muldoon (cpt), E McKeon, G Naoupu.

Replacements: M Kearney for Browne, F Bealham for Ah You (44 mins), W Fallon for Naoupu (68 mins), D Leader for Muliaina, J Cooney for Marmion (both 73 mins).

SCARLETS: S Evans; H Robinson, M Tagicakibau, R King, K Phillips; S Shingler, A Davies; P John, K Myhill, P Edwards; G Earle, J Snyman; A Shingler, J Davies, J Barclay (capt).

Replacements: G Owen for King (47 mins), J Adriaanse for Edwards (50 mins), L Rawlins for Earle (68 mins), W Jones for John (78 mins).

Referee: Leighton Hodges (WRU)

 

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