Pro12: Connacht 8-30 Scarlets

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Pro12 highlights: Connacht 8-30 Scarlets
Pro12: Connacht v Scarlets
Connacht (3) 8
Try: Ronaldson Pen: Boshoff
Scarlets (22) 30
Tries: McNicholl, S Evans 2, L Williams, Van der Merwe Con: Patchell Pen: Patchell

Scarlets secured their place in the Pro12 play-offs with a dominant first-half against a much-changed Connacht.

The Welsh region had a bonus point in the bag within half an hour with two tries by Steff Evans and one each for Johnny McNicholl and Liam Williams.

Craig Ronaldson's score for improved Connacht after the break was answered by DTH van der Merwe's 78th-minute try.

It was not the send-off the home team would have planned for coach Pat Lam's last home game in charge.

Scarlets will be away to be away to either Leinster (19 May) or Munster (20 May) in the semi-final having all-but ended Ulster's play-off hopes by winning in Connacht.

Ospreys, who Scarlets play in their final game of the regular season on 6 May, are likely to the other semi-finalists but need a point from that match to be sure.

The 2015-16 Pro12 champions Connacht will face a play-off for a place in next season's European Champions Cup.

Lam had made 10 changes from Connacht's previous outing against Leinster and his new-look side were blown away in the early stages on a windy night in Galway.

Playing into the teeth of the wind, the Welsh region were ahead in four minutes as full-back McNicholl broke down the left wing.

Evans' tries were equally easy on the eye before Williams secured the bonus point in the 30th minute.

However, they rarely threatened the Connacht line with only Rhys Patchell's penalty to show for their efforts after the break unti Van der Merwe's late try after Gareth Davies' sharp break.

Scarlets coach Wayne Pivac said: "It was a good first-half performance, and to get that result and a place in the play-offs is very very satisfying.

"We'll enjoy the fact that we've qualified now with a round to go, and at the start of the season after three rounds it wasn't looking too good, so it's been a great fight-back by the guys and they've been very consistent for the last 18 matches really."

LINE-UPS

Connacht: Tiernan O'Halloran; Darragh Leader, Tom Farrell, Eoin Griffin, Cian Kelleher; Marnitz Boshoff; Caolin Blade; Finlay Bealham, Dave Heffernan, Dominic Robertson-McCoy, James Cannon, Andrew Browne (captain), Sean O'Brien, Jake Heenan, Eoghan Masterson.

Replacements: Shane Delahunt, Denis Buckley, JP Cooney, Quinn Roux, John Muldoon, John Cooney, Craig Ronaldson, Danie Poolman.

Scarlets: Johnny Mcnicholl; Liam Williams, ;Jonathan Davies, Hadleigh Parkes, Steff Evans; Rhys Patchell, Jonathan Evans; Rob Evans, Ken Owens (capt), Samson Lee, Jake Ball, Tadhg Beirne, Aaron Shingler, Will Boyde, Josh Macleod

Replacements: Ryan Elias, Wyn Jones, Werner Kruger, David Bulbring, Gareth Davies, Scott Williams, DTH van der Merwe

Referee: Mike Adamson (SRU).

Assistant referees: Lloyd Linton (SRU), Helen O'Reilly (IRFU).

TMO: Charles Samson (SRU).

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