Scarlets 36

Connacht 27

Connacht came up just short in a nine try shoot out against champions Scarlets in Parc Y Scarlets in front of a crowd of over 7,700 spectators.

Scarlets got off to the best possible start when winger McNicholl touching down under the posts after a powerful break by centre Jonathan Davies. Despite the strong start from the champions Connacht hit back immediately when Jack Carty grabbed a loose pass and got over for Connacht’s opening try.

Scarlets then came with a response of their own when winger Evans broke through the Connacht cover and burst over. A few minutes later their out-half Patchell touched down and it looked very difficult to see a way back for the visitors.

But Connacht then fought back bravely. First Tiernan O’Halloran touched down out wide after a great break from Tom Farrell and Carty converted to leave it 19 points to 17 to Scarlets. Then two minutes later Connacht were on the attack again and got the ball out wide to Cian Kelleher who got in in the corner. At this stage, it looked like Connacht might go in at the break 22 – 19 ahead.

But there was to be another try when Halfpenny got over after taking a pass from Evans ahead of half-time.

The second half was end to end stuff and Connacht went mighty close to upsetting the champions. Carty kicked a straightforward penalty to narrow the gap. Then with only a few minutes to go O’Halloran got in for his second try of the game after great work from Eoin McKeon to narrow the gap to two points.

But it wasn’t to be for Connacht as Leinster native Tadhg Beirne got over for a try with two minutes to go and the successful conversion was to be the final score of the game.

 

Scarlets: Halfpenny; McNicholl (Prydie 70), J Davies, Williams, S Evans; Patchell (Asquith 64), A Davies (J Evans 55); R Evans (D Evans 21), Owens (capt) (Phillips 64), Kruger (Gardiner 72), Ball, Bulbring (Rawlins 53), Shingler, Boyde (Beirne 41), Macleod

Connacht: Leader (Griffin 53); Kelleher, Aki, Farrell, O’Halloran; Carty, Blade (Marmion 53); Buckley (Coulson 66), McCartney (capt) (Delahunt 71), Carey (Bealham 59), Dillane (Thornbury 59), Roux, Heenan (Masterson 80), Butler, McKeon

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