Scarlets beat Connacht in nine-try thriller

Fri, 29 Sep 2017 21:06
Large scarlets v connacht.800

PRO14 MATCH REPORT: Jack Carty’s missed conversion proved crucial as Scarlets held on to beat Connacht in a thrilling 36-27 encounter.

The flyhalf had a chance to level the scores with just five minutes to go, but he pulled it wide allowing the champions held on to secure a memorable win.

Wing Steff Evans was on fire for Scarlets as he scored one try and set up two others in a breathless first half – which saw seven tries scored.

Connacht’s Tiernan O’Halloran was also excellent and scored twice, but the Irish side were always chasing the game and could not quite get level.

Scarlets handed centre Scott Williams his first start of the season, but they were without the key trio of Gareth Davies, Samson Lee and John Barclay.

Connacht also made multiple changes, the most notable saw O’Halloran return from injury and start on the wing.

But the hosts led in the seventh minute as Lions centre Jonathan Davies bulldozed his way through before supplying winger Johnny McNicholl to cross.

However, any home fans expecting a comfortable night were disappointed as Connacht hit back.

Scott Williams’s loose pass was picked up by the alert  Carty and the flyhalf darted through unchallenged.

Leigh Halfpenny then missed a penalty, but it did not take long for the champions to hit the front again.

The ability to cut through teams with ball-in-hand was the backbone of Scarlets success last season and they demonstrated that once more as Davies set-up wing Evans to run through and score.

Carty reduced the deficit again with a penalty, but Evans was immense going forward and he broke through two tackles and handed off to Rhys Patchell to dot down.

In a topsy-turvy game, Connacht hit back and took the lead with two tries – one each for the wings.

A flowing move from right to left ended in the returning O’Halloran strolling over, before Kian Kelleher crossed from close range after Scarlets committed too many players to the middle – leaving the wing free on the right.

But Scarlets regained the lead just before half time as Evans again burst through down the left and supplied Leigh Halfpenny to secure a bonus point.

After all the drama of the first half, the second was far calmed and neither side added to the scores until Halfpenny booted over a penalty.

Both sides had lost their attacking spark, with defences well on top and both full-backs kicking for territory.

But a piece of O’Halloran magic brought Connacht within two as he juggled a loose pass twice before diving over the line.

Carty had the chance to bring the sides level with a conversion, but he pulled it badly wide with five minutes to go.

And Scarlets secured victory minutes later as Tadgh Beirne crossed following a scrum.

The scorers:

For Scarlets:
McNicholl, Halfpenny, Evans, Pathcell, Beirne
Cons: Halfpenny 4
Pen: Halfpenny

For Connacht:
: Carty, Kelleher 2, O'Halloran
Cons: Carty 2
Pen: Carty

The teams:

Scarlets: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Scott Williams, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Aled Davies, 8 Josh Macleod, 7 Will Boyde, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 David Bulbring, 4 Jake Ball, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Ken Owens (captain), 1 Rob Evans.
Replacements: 16 Emyr Phillips, 17 Dylan Evans, 18 Simon Gardiner, 19 Tadhg Beirne, 20 Lewis Rawlins, 21 Jonathan Evans, 22 Paul Asquith, 23 Tom Prydie.

Connacht: 15 Darragh Leader, 14 Tiernan O’Halloran, 13 Bundee Aki, 12 Tom Farrell, 11 Cian Kelleher, 10 Jack Carty, 9 Caolin Blade, 8 Eoin McKeon, 7 Jarrad Butler, 6 Jake Heenan, 5 Quinn Roux, 4 Ultan Dillane, 3 Conor Carey, 2 Tom McCartney (captain), 1 Denis Buckley.
Replacements: 16 Shane Delahunt, 17 Denis Coulson, 18 Finlay Bealham, 19 Gavin Thornbury, 20 Eoghan Masterson, 21 Kieran Marmion, 22 Steve Crosbie, 23 Eoin Griffin.

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Ben Whitehouse, John Hardy (both Wales)
TMO: Sean Brickell (Wales)



There are currently no matches being played
Mon, 19 February 2018
NMMU-Madibaz v Wits 14h45 Port Elizabeth
Maties v CUT-Ixias 16h30 Cape Town
UCT-Ikeys v Shimlas 16h30 Cape Town
NWU-Pukke v UJ 17h00 Potchefstroom
Fri, 23 February 2018
Highlanders v Blues 06h35 Dunedin
Rebels v Reds 08h45 Melbourne
Munster v Glasgow Warriors 19h00 Irish Independent Park
Dragons v Edinburgh 19h30 Rodney Parade
Scarlets v Ulster 19h35 Parc y Scarlets
Leinster v Kings 19h35 RDS
France v Italy 20h00 Paris
Sat, 24 February 2018
Sunwolves v Brumbies 04h15 Tokyo
Crusaders v Chiefs 06h35 Christchurch
Waratahs v Stormers 08h45 Allianz Park
Treviso v Connacht 12h00 Stadio Monigo
Bath v Sale Sharks 12h30 Recreation Ground
Lions v Jaguares 13h05 Johannesburg
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Ireland v Wales 14h15 Aviva Stadium
Gloucester v Wasps 14h30 Kingsholm
Harlequins v Newcastle Falcons 15h00 Twickenham Stoop
Bulls v Hurricanes 15h15 Loftus Versfeld
Scotland v England 16h45 BT Murrayfield
Ospreys v Cheetahs 17h30 Liberty Stadium
Sun, 25 February 2018
London Irish v Worcester Warriors 13h00 Madejski Stadium
Zebre v Cardiff Blues 13h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Saracens v Leicester Tigers 15h30 Allianz Park
Pool A
Team P W D L Pts
Glasgow Warriors 15 13 0 2 65
Munster 15 9 0 6 49
Cheetahs 15 8 0 7 41
Cardiff Blues 15 7 0 8 33
Connacht 15 5 0 10 28
Ospreys 15 5 0 10 26
Zebre 15 4 0 11 21
Pool B
Team P W D L Pts
Leinster 15 12 0 3 57
Scarlets 15 11 0 4 54
Edinburgh 15 10 0 5 46
Ulster 15 9 1 5 46
Treviso 15 8 0 7 38
Dragons 15 2 2 11 17
Kings 15 0 0 15 4