Live commentary and score updates from the Scarlet’s Rabodirect clash with Connacht, kick off 7.30pm
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Scarlets 38 – 10 Connacht
80 min played
An under-strength side Connacht shipped five tries in Parc y Scarlets as veteran Steven Jones’ troops showed little mercy in acquiring a bonus point win. The former Wales and Lion out-half was immense throughout scoring five conversions and one penalty.
First-half tries from Andy Fenby and Rhodri Jones, followed by second-half tries from Emyr Phillips, Kieran Murphy and Phil Jones, all converted by Man of the match Jones, helped Scarlets continue their impressive eight-match winning streak at home.
Tiernan O’Halloran almost handed Connacht the perfect start only to be denied by desperate Scarlets defence in the fourth minute.
Scarlets showed their early intent by opting for a five meter scrum instead of as easy three points and the ball was swept wide at pace and Fenby eased over the line.
Connacht responded with pressure of their own but failed time and again to break down a physical Scarlets side in midfield and were reduced to a Miah Nikora penalty on 24 minutes.
Scarlets seemed to be camped on the away sides line for what seemed like an eternity before Rhodri Jones used his size to pick and drive over the line to leave the score 14-3 at half-time.
All throughout the game Italian referee Marius Mitrea made some dubious decisions an no more so than when he binned replacement John Muldoon, who was only moments on the pitch, for what seemed like a harsh decision at the start of the second-half.
Muldoon’s absence was quickly capitalised by the home side and similar to the first try, Phillips picked and drove over the line for an easy seven points.
Scarlets continued to push for the bonus try and a battered and bruised Connacht team just could not cope with the onslaught and as stalwarts Michael Swift and Ronan Loughney left the field due to injury try number four soon followed through Murphy with Jones adding the extras again.
Scarlets Peter Edwards saw yellow and with one foot off the gas, Connacht scored their only try through replacement Ethienne Reynecke.
Try number five was scored deep in stoppage time as Connacht threw everything they had at the impressive Scarlets defense. A mistake by Denis Buckley resulted in a blistering counter-attack and prop Phil Jones touched down for an easy win.
The two week break is badly need for Connacht to regroup and refocus as the next face Munster at the Sportsground on March 24th.
80min TRY for Scarlets. Matt Gilbert timed his pass for full-back Dan Newtown who fed prop Phil Jones who makes it try number five. The ref has blown the full-time whistle. Connacht will be looking to get out of here as soon as possible.
80min 80 minutes are up but because it’s not on TV, the public clock is wrong. It’s up to the ref when he blows up. Here come Scarlets on the counter-attack.
79min The game is slowing down but Connacht are remaining positive and are trying to attack when they can but the players are very tired.
77min Steven Jones has just been announced as Man of the match. He was excellent tonight, his experience and quality has put Connacht to the sword. Hopefully Dan Parks can do the same for Connacht next season.
76min Another penalty to Scarlets as Griffin is off-side. Massive pressure from Scarlets.
74min Scarlets might finish this game strongly. They have a scrum deep inside Connacht’s half.
74min TRY for Connacht!. Moore release from the base of the scrum fed Grace and Reynecke gets over the line. Scarlets has, as you would expect, taken their foot off the gas. Nikora kicks a sublime sideline conversion.
69min Jarvis, Moore and Grace are on for Connacht as the Irish side near the Scarlets line. Penalty to Connacht but knock-on from Naoupu. Scarlets to clear their lines. Maguire replaces Peter Borlase in Connacht’s front row.
66min Muldoon is back on the pitch after his yellow card as Connacht empty the bench. Peanlty to Connacht inside Scarlets half.
64min Nice passage of play from Connacht now. O’Halloran, Duffy all involved.
64min Both teams make a raft of changes. Fa’afili replaces Griffin as Connacht look to inject some fresh legs in the backline.
61min TRY number four for the Scarlets. Bonus point secured. Connacht are just crumbling here but they are down to 14 men. Kieran Murphy is credited with the try. Jones converts again, hasn’t missed a kick all night.
60min Connacht set up the maul but Scarlets have just driven them back, driven Murphy into touch. Quick line-out from the Welsh side, really want to get a high score here.
59min Hooker Ethienne Reynecke on for Adrian Flavin. Connacht kick to the corner after the ref actually awards them a penalty.
55min TRY for Scarlets under the posts. Another pick and drive from Emyr Phillips who dived over and Jones converts. Scarlets are impressive here, but this ref is not helping matters.
54min Scarlets really pushing for the bonus point. Pilling on the pressure, whats this? the ref has binned John Muldoon, for not rolling away. Very harsh on Muldoon who is just on the pitch. This ref is very one-sided.
51min Denis Buckley is really getting around the park here, he has just made a huge turnover. Connacht are just outside home side 22. Eoin Griffin avoids a massive hit but great defense from Scarlets but the ref is acting quiet petty after Duffy approaches to talk to him. John Muldoon on for the injured Michael Swift. this shows how physical this game has become. Penalty to Scarlets.
48min Poor scrum for Scarlets. Buckley got down on a loose ball and Duffy clears his lines.
47min Another scrum for Scarlets on the Connacht 10meter line. Nervous time here. Buckley straight into action.
45min Early change for Connacht. Denis Buckley replaces the injured Ronan Loughney on his 100th cap.
44min Connacht scrum gone sideways. Penalty to Scarlets bang in front of the posts. Jones opts for the three points. Bad opening few minutes here for the away side. He makes no mistake.
43min The ref calls a crocked feed into a scrum. Free kick to Connacht. They opt for a scrum of their own.
40min Miah Nikora gets the second period underway. Lets hope Connacht have addressed the issues which plagued them during the first-half or Scarlets could potentially rack up a cricket score at Parc y Scarlets.
Connacht started brightly and almost got an early score through O’Halloran, but Scarlets have too much power and pace and the intensity in defense from the home side has stopped Connacht before they can get phases going.
Two tries in 15 minutes from Andy Fenby and Rhodri Jones, both converted by Steven Jones have left Connacht adrift at the break.
40min Half-time. Not sure how Connacht got away with not conceding a third try. Scarlets were all over Connacht in the final minutes of the half but Elwood will take this so far. Could have been worse.
37min Scarlets are on the Connacht line. TRY for Rhodri Jones to the right of the posts. It was a pick and drive from a ruck after numerous phases, Connacht’s defense could not handle the pressure but Scarlets backs are passing the ball with pace and penetration. Jones converts.
33min Connacht off-side form a scrum and the Scarlets kick for touch. Line out for the Welsh side.
31min Connacht are once again in Scarlets territory. Going through the phases but lacking penetration in midfield. Naoupu knocks on. Scrum to Scarlets.
27min Nikora kicks a penalty!
24min Connacht on the attack now, really pilling the pressure but no luck so far.
16min TRY for Scarlets. Andy Fenby has got the credit for a try that came from a five meter scrum – which they opted for instead of a simple three point penalty – the ball was swept out to the wing at pace but Connacht couldn’t get up in time. Jones adds the extras.
14min Penalty to Scarlets here. Jones has gone for a line out my apologies. the Welsh side have got over the whitewash but the referee has called it back. a let off for Connacht there. Five meter scrum to Scarlet.
12min Fetu’u Vainikolo just shipped three tackles but failed to off-load to George Naoupu in time. Scarlets are now deep in Connachts half.
10min Nikora sends another brilliant kick into Scarlets 22. Great confidence and ambition from Connacht so far.
8min Good defense from Connacht there and now a scrum for the Irish province near the half-way line.
4min Tiernan O’Halloran nearly got in for a try. Duffy to O’Halloran almost saw the winger get in, desperate defense from Scralets pushed him into touch. Miah Nikora already putting his stamp on the game. Throwing a good decent passes already.
1min Connacht get it away through a free kick. Scarlets on the attack now. Great crowd in attendance!
0min Steven Jones gets the game under way for the Scarlets and an early knock on from Connacht. Scrum to Scarlets inside Connacht 22′.
The teams are out on the pitch and now we await the kick-off!
Scarlets: Dan Newton; Liam Williams, Gareth Maule (capt), Adam Warren, Andy Fenby; Stephen Jones, Liam Davies; Rhodri Jones, Emyr Phillips , Deacon Manu, Lou Reed, Aaron Shingler, Josh Turnbull, Johnathan Edwards, Kieran Murphy.
Replacements: Kirby Myhill, Phil John, Peter Edwards, Dominic Day, Mat Gilbert, Gareth Davies, Nick Reynolds, Viliame Iongi.
Connacht: Gavin Duffy (capt); Fetu’u Vainikolo, Eoin Griffin, Dave McSharry, Tiernan O’Halloran; Miah Nikora, Frank Murphy; Ronan Loughney, Adrian Flavin, Peter Borlase, Michael Swift, Mick Kearney, Dave Heffernan, Ray Ofisa, George Naoupu.
Replacements: Ethienne Reynecke, Denis Buckley, Stewart Maguire, John Muldoon, Eoghan Grace, Dave Moore, Matthew Jarvis, Kyle Tonetti.