Pro12: Scarlets 13-23 Munster
|Scarlets (10) 13|
|Try: Davies Con: Patchell Pens: Patchell 2|
|Munster (17) 23|
|Tries: Cronin, O'Mahony Cons: Bleyendaal 2 Pens: Bleyendaal 2, Keatley|
Three-time champions Munster made a winning start to their Pro12 season with a hard-fought win at Scarlets.
Tries from James Cronin and Ronan O'Mahony put Munster ahead, but Wales scrum-half Gareth Davies scored a scintillating try before half-time.
Munster's Tyler Bleyendaal and Wales back Rhys Patchell traded penalties, before replacement Ian Keatley kicked Munster into a 10-point lead.
Patchell missed a late kick as Scarlets failed to earn a losing bonus point.
The home side made a promising start to the game with Wales full-back Liam Williams at his all-action best.
Munster suffered an early setback when full-back Simon Zebo hobbled off on 17 minutes after appearing to take a blow to his ribs.
Prop Cronin opened the scoring against the run of play soon after, driving over from close range midway through the first period with Bleyendaal adding a simple conversion.
Fly-half Patchell sent an early penalty kick wide, but then made amends with a straightforward attempt to score his first points for Scarlets after joining from Cardiff Blues.
The game came to life on the half hour mark with wing O'Mahony running in a simple try from 35 metres after poor Scarlets defending at the breakdown.
Scarlets' Davies immediately struck back, sprinting home for a sensational individual try after taking a quick penalty deep in Scarlets' own half.
The Welsh region then allowed Bleyendaal to kick his side further ahead after Scarlets were penalised for not rolling away in front of their own posts.
The former New Zealand Under-20 fly-half missed a shot a goal early in the second half, before trading three points with Patchell soon after.
Wales centre Jonathan Davies came off the bench with half an hour to play after rejoining Scarlets from Clermont Auvergne.
But as both sides made changes it was replacement Munster full-back Keatley who kicked a decisive penalty with 15 minutes remaining to give his side a 10-point advantage.
Patchell had the chance to earn his side a losing bonus point with a late penalty, but he missed the kick.
Scarlets coach Wayne Pivac said: "To get nothing out of the game in the first round at home was pretty disappointing.
"We started very, very well... [but] we just let that pressure valve off two or three times in that first half.
"That was frustrating because I thought we played some pretty good rugby in that first half, just discipline at times let us down."
Scarlets: Liam Williams; DTH van der Merwe, Scott Williams, Hadleigh Parkes, Steff Evans; Rhys Patchell, Gareth Davies; Dylan Evans, Ken Owens (capt), Werner Kruger, Jake Ball, Lewis Rawlins, Aaron Shingler, John Barclay, Josh Macleod.
Replacements: Ryan Elias, Wyn Jones, Peter Edwards, David Bulbring, Tadhg Beirne, Jonathan Evans, Dan Jones, Jonathan Davies.
Munster: Simon Zebo; Darren Sweetnam, Dan Goggin, Rory Scannell, Ronan O'Mahony; Tyler Bleyendaal, Duncan Williams; James Cronin, Niall Scannell, John Ryan, Dave Foley, Billy Holland (capt) Dave O'Callaghan, Tommy O'Donnell, Jack O'Donoghue.
Replacements: Kevin O'Byrne, Dave Kilcoyne, Brian Scott, Jean Kleyn, Donnacha Ryan, Tomás O'Leary, Ian Keatley, Cian Bohane.
Referee: Lloyd Linton (SRU)
Assistant referees: Sam Grove-White (SRU), Wayne Davies (WRU)
Citing commissioner: Ray Wilton (WRU)
TMO: Jim Yuille (SRU)