Wednesday 20 September 2017

Vital win for Scarlets

Michael Tagicakibau went over for Scarlets
Michael Tagicakibau went over for Scarlets

Scarlets sealed a crucial bonus point win as they attempt to seal an all-important top six place in the Guinness Pro12 table.

The race for European places is hotting up as the win sees the Welsh region draw level on points with sixth-placed Connacht.

The Scarlets tries came from Michael Tagicakibau, Harry Robinson, Jordan Williams and James Davies. Steve Shingler scored 12 points with the boot. Connacht's points came from a try from wing Niyi Adeolokun and three penalties from fly-half Jack Carty.

Wales squad scrum-half Gareth Davies was included on the Scarlets bench along with Wales under-20 hooker Ryan Elias.

Connacht's Kieran Marmion returned from the Ireland training camp to take his place at scrum-half while Carty started at fly-half.

Up front, the front row was boosted by the return of tighthead prop Nathan White, who played his first Pro12 game since October,while flanker Jake Heenan played his first game since being injured in the first week of the competition.

Connacht made the early running and were good for a 3-0 lead after only five minutes through Carty's penalty.

And when home No.8 John Barclay was sin-binned for dragging down a maul on his own line it all looked encouraging for the visitors.

But though they were down to 14 men, Shingler put over two penalties to give his side a 6-3 lead on 18 minutes.

Back to 15 men Scarlets dominated the rest of the half to score three tries in the space of nine minutes.

First wing Tagicakibau was put over in the left corner by Regan King. King was provider for the second try scored by Robinson on the right, converted by Shingler, after captain Ken Owens had stolen Connacht line-out ball.

The third try was a real body blow to Connacht who launched an encouraging attack only to see Williams run in an 80-yard interception score converted by Shingler.

At 25-3 down it was looking desperate for Connacht but they did have the final say of the half when Carty converted his second penalty with the final kick of the half.

Connacht scored first after the break with Carty kicking a third penalty but from the restart Scarlets got their bonus point try.

A drive from a line-out saw Davies wriggle over. The Shingler conversion saw Scarlets lead 32-9.

It got worse for Connacht as they lost their skipper John Muldoon to the sin bin for stamping at a ruck on 55 minutes.

But Adeolokun grabbed a consolation try seven minutes from the end.

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