It was a disappointing game and result for Connacht Rugby away from home today as they went down 32 – 14 to a strong Scarlets side.

Outhalf Jack Carty kicked three successful penalties while wing Niyi Adeolokun got over for a late consolation try.

Scarlets secured the bonus point with four tries and 12 points from the boot of the Man of the Match Steven Shingler.

In near perfect conditions, the game started at a fast pace with expansive play permitted. Kieran Marmion and Danie Poolman combined to bring play up into the visitors’ 22 and a penalty was awarded which Carty struck between the posts on the fifth minute.

Scarlets’ number 8 was sin binned five minutes later for collapsing a maul and Matt Healy showed his class with a lightning break from the half way line to cross the whitewash. But the try was disallowed for what referee Marius Mitrea deemed a block in mid field in the build up to the wingers’ break.

Shingler kicked two penalties to put his side in front by the time Barclay returned from the sin bin.  And he was up to the tee once again when wing Michael Tagicakibau was fed the ball to run in untouched in the left corner for the game’s opening try. Shingler missed the conversion but his side were 11 – 3 up after 25 minutes.

Wayne Pivac’s side went further ahead just four minutes later when they took advantage of more mistakes from the visitors who overthrew a lineout in their own 22. With possession, Scarlets’ centre Regan King offloaded for wing Harry Robinson to cross, Shingler adding the extras.

Connacht had their opportunities and, with just five minutes to go in the first half had a solid platform with a five-metre scrum, but Scarlets’ full back Jordan Williams intercepted a Connacht pass on his own line and raced the length of the pitch to score his side’s third try within ten minutes.

Shingler converted and Connacht took the three points on offer just before the break with a long-range penalty kick to leave it 25 – 6 at the half time whistle.

Half time: Scarlets 25 – 6 Connacht

Pat Lam’s side looked better in the opening stages of the second half with Healy showing his pace again to earn territory for his side. From an attacking scrum, the visitors forced a penalty which Carty kicked through the posts to reduce the gap somewhat.

But it wasn’t long until Scarlets had the four-try bonus point secured with flanker James Davies forcing his way over from close range on the back of a lineout drive. Shingler converted to give his side the 32 – 9 lead on 50 minutes.

Captain John Muldoon was sin binned for ‘stamping’ but Connacht did survive the one man disadvantage with no score for the hosts. On Muldoon’s return, Connacht started to dominate in possession and charge their way up in to Scarlets’ territory. Jake Heenan, on his first game back since round 1, was help up just before the line but the ball was dug out and flung out to Adeolokun on the right wing who dove over for the consolation try on 74 minutes. Replacement outhalf Shane O’Leary, on his first appearance for the team, saw the difficult touch line conversion drift wide.

Despite conceding five points to close rivals Scarlets, Pat Lam’s men remain in sixth place on the league table ahead of a crucial game away to Newport Gwent Dragons next Sunday.

Full time: Scarlets 32 – 14 Connacht

SCARLETS: J Williams; H Robinson, R King,  H Parkes, M Tagicakibau; S Shingler, A Davies; P John, K Owens (capt), P Edwards; L Rawlins, J Snyman; A Shingler, J Davies, J Barclay.

Replacements: G Davies for A Davies and A Warren for King (41 mins), K Phillips for Tagicakbau (57 mins), G Earle for Rawlins (59 mins), A McCusker for A Shingler (63 mins), J Adriaanse for Edwards and R Elias for Owens (65 mins).

CONNACHT: D Leader; N Adeolokun, D Poolman, D McSharry, M Healy; J Carty, K Marmion; D Buckley, T McCartney, N White; Q Roux, A Muldowney; J Muldoon (capt), J Heenan, G Naoupu.

Replacements: I Porter for Marmion (29 mins), T O’Halloran for Leader (44 mins), U Dillane for Roux (57 mins), E Masterson for Naoupu (59 mins), D Heffernan for McCartney and JP Cooney for Buckley (62 mins), S O’Leary for Carty (72 mins).

Yellow cards – Scarlets: John Barclay (8 mins); Connacht: John Muldoon (54 mins).

Referee: Maius Mitrea (Italy).


Gallery: 6 Nations and Celtic Challenge