Shingler clinches victory for Scarlets

Date published: January 10 2016

Steven Shingler's late penalty secured a narrow 21-19 win for the Scarlets over Connacht on Sunday in the PRO12.

Matt Healy's first half try doubled with points from Craig Ronaldson put Connacht ahead, but Scarlets fired back after the break thanks to tries from Steffan Evans and Michael Collins.

Jack Carty looked like he had nicked it with a late penalty, but there was still a twist to come as Shingler kicked through three points to get Scarlets back to winning ways.

With four defeats from their past four, Scarlets had the opportunity to end the barren spell at Parc y Scarlets and they didn't start too badly.

Although there was no score in the first 20 minutes, there was excitement as Bundee Aki was given a yellow early on for a shoulder charge challenge.

The visitors nearly opened the scoring a quarter of an hour in, but the TMO deemed Eoghan Masterson knocked on rather than touched down.

But it was Connacht who struck first. A penalty from the boot of Craig Ronaldson followed up the second yellow of the game, issued to Regan King in the same incident. And with the man advantage, the try soon followed.

Matt Healy did tremendously to break from his own 22, and when he got going there was no stopping him. Ronaldson took the lead upto 10 points as Connacht took full control of the PRO12 tie.

The Welsh side did get something before the break though, a penalty from Aled Thomas ensuring they were within a converted try of the opposition.

Though they almost lost that, when Healy crossed again following neat passing work with Ronaldson. But for the second time, the celebrations were halted by the TMO who penalised Healy for losing control as he went over.

The hosts started the second half much better than they finished the first, and Thomas made no mistake from another penalty. And just minutes later, the game turned full circle.

After a Ronaldson clearance was charged down, Scarlets found themselves deep inside the oppositions 22. And after it was spread out wide, Evans stormed over, allowing Thomas to put the lead up to three.

From the next Connacht foray forward they were given a straight forward opportunity to equalise though, Ronaldson sending through another three to tie up the scores.

But again, the resurgent hosts broke deep into Connacht territory and went back in front. After winning a lineout 15 metres from the line, King broke and it made its way through to Michael Collins who strolled over.

Thomas couldn't add the extras but the lead was restored to five. With 13 to play, it was again pulled back to just a two-point deficit by Carty, ensuring a nervy final ten minutes.

Carty had the chance to steal it right at the death against the side who started the day on top of the PRO12 table.

From the ten-metre line, Carty held his nerve before slotting through the posts, leaving the hosts staring into consecutive home defeats for the first time since the 2009/10 season.

The nerves continued, Connacht losing Ronan Loughney for illegal lifting, giving the opportunity to nick it back for the Scarlets. And they did exactly that, ending the losing streak thanks to Steve Shingler's last minute penalty which took victory right at the end.

The scorers:

For Scarlets:
Tries: S Evans, Collins
Cons: Thomas
Pens: Thomas 2, Shingler
Yellow Card: King

For Connacht:
Try: Healy
Cons: Ronaldson
Pens: Ronaldson 2, Carty 2
Yellow Cards: Aki, Loughney

Scarlets: 15 Michael Collins, 14 Steff Evans, 13 Regan King, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 DTH van der Merwe, 10 Aled Thomas, 9 Aled Davies, 8 Morgan Allen, 7 John Barclay, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Lewis Rawlins, 4 Tom Price, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Ken Owens (c), 1 Rob Evans
Replacements: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Phil John, 18 Rhodri Jones, 19 Maselino Paulino, 20 Rory Pitman, 21 Rhodri Williams, 22 Steve Shingler, 23 Steff Hughes

Connacht: 15 Tiernan O'Halloran, 14 Niyi Adeolokun, 13 Bundee Aki, 12 Craig Ronaldson, 11 Matt Healy, 10 Jack Carty, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 Eoghan Masterson, 7 Jake Heenan, 6 John Muldoon (c), 5 Andrew Browne, 4 Ultan Dillane, 3 Nathan White, 2 Tom McCartney, 1 Finlay Bealham
Replacements: 16 Dave Heffernan, 17 Ronan Loughney, 18 Rodney Ah You, 19 Aly Muldowney, 20 Sean O'Brien, 21 Ian Porter, 22 AJ MacGinty, 23 Rory Parata

Referee: Marius Mitrea (Italy)
Assistant Referees: Gwyn Morris (Wales), Stuart Kibble (Wales)
TMO: Paul Adams (Wales)