Scarlets 38-10 Connacht
The Scarlets boosted their playoff hopes with a resounding 38-10 win against struggling Connacht at the Parc y Scarlets.
The visitors began the match fairly brightly but after failing to collect any points from a couple of forays into the opposition twenty-two, the Scarlets made them pay. The Llanelli outfit spurned the opportunity for a simple three points after quarter of an hour in favour of an attacking scrum and they were rewarded for their ambition as winger Andy Fenby crossed for a try after the ball was spun wide. Connacht did reduce the deficit to 7-3 with a penalty from Kiwi fly-half Miah Nikora but they were subjected to further punishment by their Welsh hosts as the half wore on. Following a period of concerted pressure, prop Rhodri Jones barged through the middle of a ruck to crash over for a second try. More could have followed as the Irishmen were penned into their own twenty-two for the latter stages of the half but they survived to leave the score 14-3 at the break. The Scarlets did extend their lead early in the second half though as Stephen Jones took advantage of a penalty underneath the posts to register three more points. And the men from Galway's task was made even tougher midway through the half as replacement John Muldoon, who had only been on the pitch for a few minutes, was sent to the sin bin for not rolling away. It didn't take the home side long to capitalise on their one-man advantage as hooker Emyr Phillips crashed over after a series of pick and drives. And Connacht were powerless to resist as the Welshmen went in search of a bonus point. The fourth try duly arrived just five minutes later as number eight Kieran Murphy crossed. Stephen Jones, flawless with the boot all evening, added the extras to make it 31-3. By the time Muldoon returned from the sin bin, the game was over as a contest but Connacht did not fold completely. And with five minutes remaining they managed to recycle the ball quickly, allowing South African hooker Ethienne Reynecke to score. Nikora slotted over the conversion impressively from the touchline but there was still time for replacement Phil John to heap further misery on the visitors with a fifth Scarlets try. The prop bulldozed his way over after good work from Matt Gilbert and Dan Newton to make it 38-10 and boost the home side's chances of reaching the end of season playoffs.