The Scarlets hauled themselves off the floor of the Magners League courtesy of an emphatic nine-try 58-10 win over Connacht on Sunday.
The Scarlets hauled themselves off the floor of the Magners League courtesy of an emphatic nine-try 58-10 win over Connacht in Llanelli on Sunday.
The Welsh region displayed some much-needed end of season form as prop Rhys Thomas and centres Regan King and Jonathan Davies all crossed for two tries each. It beat their previous best Magners victory – 53-10 over Edinburgh three seasons ago.
It was not the preparation Connacht needed ahead of their Amlin Cup semi-final at home against Toulon on Friday.
The Scarlets are already out of European contention and had little to play for but still managed to cruise into a 31-3 interval lead after wrapping up a try bonus point five minutes before half-time as they totally dominated the opening 40 minutes.
The Scarlets showed real intent from the off, and after Rhys Priestland, in for the injured Stephen Jones, opened the scoring with a fifth-minute penalty, it set the home side on their way for the rest of the half.
Three minutes later Thomas was over for the first of his tries. The prop showed real strength in going over under the posts after the Scarlets had gone impressively through more than 10 phases.
The next two tries were all about impressive final passes.
First full-back Daniel Evans delayed his pass long enough to put flanker Rob McCusker through a big gap and he ran in from 20 metres and then Regan King put fellow centre Jonathan Davies away for the third try five minutes later.
Though Connacht got on the board with an Ian Keatley penalty, the Scarlets regained the momentum when Matthew Rees, back from a neck injury, put Thomas over after fielding a neat Priestland cross kick.
The Scarlets carried on the second half as they had finished the first, crossing after six minutes when King went over following good work by Sean Lamont and Priestland.
Although Connacht did score a well-worked try by centre Eion Griffin, they were punished by the sin-binning of hooker Adrian Flavin for a professional foul.
The Scarlets took full advantage of the extra man as Davies breezed in for his second try after some neat inter-passing between King and Priestland.
With Connacht's spirit broken, the Scarlets went in for their eighth and ninth tries in the last 10 minutes scored by King and Lamont.
For the Scarlets:
Tries: R Thomas 2, McCusker, Davies 2, King 2, Turnbull, Lamont
Cons: Priestland 5
Scarlets: 15 Daniel Evans, 14 Sean Lamont, 13 Regan King, 12 Jonathan Davies 11 Andy Fenby, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Martin Roberts, 8 David Lyons (capt), 7 Josh Turnbull, 6 Rob McCusker, 5 Damian Welch, 4 Lou Reed, 3 Rhys Thomas, 2 Matthew Rees, 1 Iestyn Thomas.
Replacements: 16 Phil John, 17 Emyr Phillips, 18 Deacon Manu 19 Dominic Day, 20 Tavis Knoyle, 21 Dan Newton, 22 Lee Williams.
Connacht: 15 Liam Bibo, 14 Tiernan O'Halloran, 13 Eoin Griffin, 12 Troy Nathan, 11 Brian Tuohy, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Conor O'Loughlin, 8 Mike McComish, 7 Ray Ofisa, 6 Andrew Browne, 5 Bernie Upton, 4 Dave Nolan, 3 Robbie Morris, 2 Adrian Flavin, 1 Ronan Loughney.
Replacements: 16 Dermot Murphy, 17 Conor Higgins, 18 Eoin McKeown, 19 Johnny O'Connor, 2 Kieran Campbell, 21 Miah Nikora, 22 Aidan Wynne.
Referee: Andy Macpherson (SRU)
Assistant Referees: Nigel Whitehouse (WRU), Colin Kirkhouse (WRU)
TMO: Neil Ballard (WRU)