Scarlets end drought against Connacht

Date published: September 24 2016

Scarlets ended a run of three straight defeats in this season's PRO12 as they beat reigning champions Connacht 17-8 on Saturday.

The sides went into the break a point apart after Niyi Adeolokun's try was pegged back by Liam Williams.

Williams grabbed his second with 10 minutes to go, enough to seal victory and make it 12 home wins on the spin against Connacht.

Scarlets were facing the unwanted record of losing four in a row at Parc y Scarlets for the first time since the 2008 switch, and started slowly against a Connacht side who saw last week's Zebre tie rained off.

Neither side took full control early on, with chances of opening the scoring at a premium. The hosts looked slightly more likely to trouble the scoreboard, though a Rhys Patchell penalty from 20 metres out crashed back off the posts. Had Scarlets taken that chance, the first half may have been different.

But ultimately, Connacht improved as time progressed and grabbed the opening try 22 minutes in. Adeolokun secured it inside the right corner, coming after a strong scrum allowed Denis Buckley to offload for the scorer.

Carty joined Patchell in striking a post, and missed a penalty soon after as Connacht looked to enhance their lead. The Scarlets man didn't make the same mistake from his next kick however.

A scrum saw the hosts make good ground and after a lengthy spell of pressure, Jonathan Davies showed good hands to feed Williams who found space in behind to level the scores. Patchell added the two, but Carty ensured Connacht would take a single point lead into the second 40 with a 38th minute penalty.

Both sides started the second 40 quickly, but were met by resolute backlines with both sides trading time in the opposition 22.

Scarlets came close to grabbing their second try after working their way right up to the try line, but firm defence saw Carty clear away after Steffan Evans broke forward.

They would eventually get the next try soon after. A line-out broke to Kieran Marmion, though his attempted clearance was charged down, with the hosts getting a scrum five metres out. They eventually found a way through, with Williams coming in on the wing and grounding with 15 to play. Patchell added two, making it 14-8.

The number 10 followed that up with a crucial drop-goal, meaning Connacht had less than 10 minutes to play needing more than a converted try to turn it around. There was no chance of that happening though, with Scarlets seeing out their first victory of the season.

The scorers:

For Scarlets:
Tries: L Williams 2
Cons: Patchell 2
Pen: Patchell

For Connacht:
Try: Adeolokun
Pen: Carty

Scarlets: 15 Aled Thomas, 14 Liam Williams, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 John Barclay, 7 James Davies, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 David Bulbring, 4 Jake Ball, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Ken Owens (c), 1 Wyn Jones
Replacements: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Luke Garrett, 18 Peter Edwards, 19 Lewis Rawlins, 20 Morgan Allen, 21 Aled Davies, 22 Scott Williams, 23 Will Boyde

Connacht: 15 Tiernan O'Halloran, 14 Niyi Adeolokun, 13 Bundee Aki, 12 Eoin Griffin, 11 Matt Healy, 10 Jack Carty, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 John Muldoon (c), 7 Jake Heenan, 6 Ultan Dillane, 5 Andrew Browne, 4 Quinn Roux, 3 Finlay Bealham, 2 Tom McCartney, Denis Buckley
Replacements: 16 Dave Heffernan, 17 Ronan Loughney, 18 JP Cooney, 19 Lewis Stevenson, 20 Eoin McKeon, 21 Caolin Blade, 22 Shane O'Leary, 23 Cian Kelleher

Referee: George Clancy (Ireland) 
Assistant Referees: Keith Allen (Scotland), Leighton Hodges (Wales)