Connacht run ragged by Scarlets

 

Llanelli Scarlets 58 Connacht 10:The Scarlets registered their biggest ever Magners League victory in hammering Connacht by nine tries to one in the bottom-of-the-table clash at Parc y Scarlets.

The west Wales 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 ten phases.

The next two tries were all about impressive final passes. First fullback 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 Eoin 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 ten minutes scored by King and Lamont.