Swift's try gives poor Scarlets the blues

Llanelli Scarlets 21 Connacht 29

Llanelli's crisis deepened last night as they fell victim to the Irish minnows Connacht at home. The Scarlets were outscored by four tries to two in an inept performance that will leave their coach, Gareth Jenkins, with some major questions to answer ahead of the daunting Heineken Cup opener with Toulouse in two weeks' time.

The defending Celtic League champions were under intense pressure to produce an emphatic response to their many critics, and three of the players Llanelli are banking their future on combined to give the home side an early advantage.

Gareth Bowen, who has the onerous job of filling Stephen Jones' boots at No 10, slotted over his first penalty after three minutes before the centre Matthew Watkins featured twice in the move that led to a try for the scrum-half Dwayne Peel.

Having taking the initiative, however, Llanelli were soon to find a young but committed Connacht team frustratingly resilient as they failed to turn a glut of possession into more points. That frustration was exacerbated when the Irish visitors struck with their first attack, three minutes into first-half injury time, as the scrum-half Conor O'Loughlin scrambled over despite protests from Llanelli that he had lost the ball in the process.

Connacht continued to show scant regard for their hosts after the break, with a clinical edge to their finishing that Llanelli were missing. There was no doubt about Connacht's second try, either, as the wing Ted Robinson picked up from the base of a ruck and scampered over from 25 metres out to leave the Stradey Park crowd in a stunned silence.

Llanelli huffed and puffed but it was Connacht who struck again on the hour when Conor McPhillips barged over in the corner following James Downey's tackle-busting run. The Scarlets finally replied when their big flanker Dafydd Jones was shoved over by the rest of his pack, this time to Connacht's fury after they felt they had prevented the Wales international from touching down.

But their response was decisive as the flanker Mike Swift flopped over the line in injury time to secure a first win at Stradey Park that sends them to third in the table.

Llanelli: G Evans; T Selley, M Watkins, M Taylor, S Finau; G Bowen, D Peel (M Watkins, 40); I Thomas, M Rees, J Davies (P John, 52), V Cooper (capt), A Jones (C Wyatt, 40), D Jones, S Quinnell, G Thomas.

Connacht: D Slemen; T Robinson, J Downey, M McHugh, C McPhillips; P Warwick (E Elwood, 53), C O'Loughlin; R Hogan (A Clarke, 68), J Fogarty (H Bourke, 56), S Knoop (J Mouldon, 67), P Myburgh, A Farley, M Swift, M Carroll, M Lacey.

Referee: A Ireland (Scotland)

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
video
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Jodie Stimpson crosses the finishing line to win gold in the women's triathlon
Commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
film
News
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan stars as Christian Grey in the Fifty Shades of Grey movie
filmFirst look at Jamie Dornan in Fifty Shades of Grey trailor
Life and Style
Phillips Idowu, Stella McCartney and Jessica Ennis
fashionMcCartney to continue designing Team GB Olympics kit until 2016
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
Sport
Farah returns to the track with something to prove
Commonwealth games
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game