Scarlets secure Champions Cup place with stunning second-half comeback

Scarlets secure Champions Cup place with stunning second-half comeback

RESULT
Scarlets V Connacht
22 MAR 2021 KO 20:00 | Parc y Scarlets
41
 
36
Guinness PRO14
Att.: 0 Premier Sports
Head to Head
Scarlets Connacht
WINS
23
10
LOSSES
10
23
DRAWS
1
1


Scarlets secured their place in next season’s Heineken Champions Cup after an incredible second-half comeback win over Connacht at Parc y Scarlets.

In one of the most remarkable games of the Guinness PRO14 season, the home side trailed 33-12 at half-time before scoring 29 unanswered points in a stunning resurgence.

It was a Monday night epic from start to finish, from the moment flanker Aaron Shingler had given the Scarlets a second minute lead to when ferocious defence prevented the Irish province from stealing the spoils at the death.

The five points, coupled with Cardiff Blues’ win over Edinburgh at the Arms Park, means the Scarlets are guaranteed a third-place finish in Conference B.

A bright start saw the home side free Shingler in the corner for his first try since returning from injury.

Connacht’s response, though, was swift and strong and a period of pressure led to the sin-binning of hooker Marc Jones on his own line. The Scarlets defended manfully, but eventually the dam broke and full-back John Porch was put away for the score.

Connacht were celebrating their second try soon after when No. 8 Abraham Papallii powered over, then the Scarlets thought were had a second of their own through Tom Rogers, only for the score to be chalked off following the intervention of the television match official who had spotted an illegal elbow from prop Pieter Scholtz, who was sent to the sin-bin.

The visitors took full advantage by racing down the other end of the field for their third try through centre Sean O’Brien.

Back came the Scarlets and a lovely overhead pass from Steff Evans found Steff Hughes for a beautifully-crafted score, converted by Dan Jones, but the rest of the half belonged to Connacht.

Prop Dominic Robertson-McCoy and scrum-half Kieron Marmion added tries before the break as Connacht held a commanding lead at the interval, but the game was turned on its head after the restart.

Replacement Johnny Williams made an instant impact, powering through and off-loading to Hughes for his second, then five minutes later Sam Lousi made the bust before finding scrum-half Dane Blacker for his sixth try of the campaign and Scarlets’ bonus-point try.

Jones’s conversion took the Scarlets to within seven points with half an hour still on the clock and four minutes later the home side had their fifth thanks to a moment of magic from Tom Rogers.

Rogers had been shifted from full-back to wing at the break and the former Wales sevens speedster showed his talent with a stunning step to beat his man before racing to the corner.

With Scarlets having the bit between their teeth, amazingly, they regained the lead on 59 minutes through a Dan Jones penalty and it was an advantage they were never to lose.

More pressure led to another penalty and the Scarlets went for the jugular instead of the posts, a decision which reaped its rewards when replacement prop Javan Sebastian drove over from close range. 

Jones added the extras to push the lead out to eight points and although replacement Jack Carty landed a 79th minute penalty for Connacht, the Scarlets were able to hold on for an amazing victory.

RESULT
Scarlets V Connacht
22 MAR 2021 KO 20:00 | Parc y Scarlets
41
 
36
Guinness PRO14
Att.: 0 Premier Sports

SCORECARD
ScarletsConnacht
Tom Rogers
Dane Blacker
Javan Sebastian
Steffan Hughes(2)
Aaron Shingler
TRY John Porch
Dominic Robertson-McCoy
Abraham Papalii
Sean O'Brien
Kieron Marmion
Dan Jones(4)
CON Conor Fitzgerald(4)
Dan Jones
PEN Jack Carty
- DG -
Pieter Scholtz
Marc Jones
YC -
- YC -


Head to Head
Scarlets Connacht
WINS
23
10
LOSSES
10
23
DRAWS
1
1



Scarlets secured their place in next season’s Heineken Champions Cup after an incredible second-half comeback win over Connacht at Parc y Scarlets.

In one of the most remarkable games of the Guinness PRO14 season, the home side trailed 33-12 at half-time before scoring 29 unanswered points in a stunning resurgence.

It was a Monday night epic from start to finish, from the moment flanker Aaron Shingler had given the Scarlets a second minute lead to when ferocious defence prevented the Irish province from stealing the spoils at the death.

The five points, coupled with Cardiff Blues’ win over Edinburgh at the Arms Park, means the Scarlets are guaranteed a third-place finish in Conference B.

A bright start saw the home side free Shingler in the corner for his first try since returning from injury.

Connacht’s response, though, was swift and strong and a period of pressure led to the sin-binning of hooker Marc Jones on his own line. The Scarlets defended manfully, but eventually the dam broke and full-back John Porch was put away for the score.

Connacht were celebrating their second try soon after when No. 8 Abraham Papallii powered over, then the Scarlets thought were had a second of their own through Tom Rogers, only for the score to be chalked off following the intervention of the television match official who had spotted an illegal elbow from prop Pieter Scholtz, who was sent to the sin-bin.

The visitors took full advantage by racing down the other end of the field for their third try through centre Sean O’Brien.

Back came the Scarlets and a lovely overhead pass from Steff Evans found Steff Hughes for a beautifully-crafted score, converted by Dan Jones, but the rest of the half belonged to Connacht.

Prop Dominic Robertson-McCoy and scrum-half Kieron Marmion added tries before the break as Connacht held a commanding lead at the interval, but the game was turned on its head after the restart.

Replacement Johnny Williams made an instant impact, powering through and off-loading to Hughes for his second, then five minutes later Sam Lousi made the bust before finding scrum-half Dane Blacker for his sixth try of the campaign and Scarlets’ bonus-point try.

Jones’s conversion took the Scarlets to within seven points with half an hour still on the clock and four minutes later the home side had their fifth thanks to a moment of magic from Tom Rogers.

Rogers had been shifted from full-back to wing at the break and the former Wales sevens speedster showed his talent with a stunning step to beat his man before racing to the corner.

With Scarlets having the bit between their teeth, amazingly, they regained the lead on 59 minutes through a Dan Jones penalty and it was an advantage they were never to lose.

More pressure led to another penalty and the Scarlets went for the jugular instead of the posts, a decision which reaped its rewards when replacement prop Javan Sebastian drove over from close range. 

Jones added the extras to push the lead out to eight points and although replacement Jack Carty landed a 79th minute penalty for Connacht, the Scarlets were able to hold on for an amazing victory.


SCORECARD
ScarletsConnacht
Tom Rogers
Dane Blacker
Javan Sebastian
Steffan Hughes(2)
Aaron Shingler
TRY John Porch
Dominic Robertson-McCoy
Abraham Papalii
Sean O'Brien
Kieron Marmion
Dan Jones(4)
CON Conor Fitzgerald(4)
Dan Jones
PEN Jack Carty
- DG -
Pieter Scholtz
Marc Jones
YC -
- YC -