Pro 12 rugby: Scarlets 32-14 Connacht
|Scarlets (25) 32|
|Tries: Tagicakibau, Robinson, Williams, Davies Cons: S Shingle 3 Pens: S Shingler 2|
|Connacht (6) 14|
|Tries: Adeolokun Cons: O'Leary Pens: Carty|
Scarlets boosted their Pro12 top six hopes with a crucial bonus point win over Connacht.
Despite a slow start, Michael Tagicakibau, Harry Robinson and Jordan Williams tries put Scarlets in control.
James Davies's try secured the bonus point and Steve Shingler kicked 12 points for Scarlets, who moved level on points with Connacht.
Niyi Adeolokun scored a late consolation try but Scarlets deserved their victory.
Wales hooker Ken Owens captained the home side in his first league start since September after recovering from surgery on a neck injury.
Connacht's Jack Harty was prominent during his side's impressive start to the game and he secured the afternoon's first points with a penalty.
Scarlets suffered a further early blow when they were reduced to 14 men after John Barclay was shown a yellow card for dragging down a maul.
There was a let off for the home side when Matt Healy's try was not allowed to stand because of a forward pass in the build-up and a Steve Shingler penalty levelled the scores.
Shingler's second penalty put Scarlets ahead for the first time before scrum-half Aled Davies was held up inches short of the try-line.
But there was no denying the home side two minutes later when fine work by the impressive Regan King put Tagicakibau over in the corner for the opening try.
Although Shingler failed to convert Tagicakibau's score he added the extras for the second try, scored by Robinson and with King again prominent.
Scarlets were fully in control and they were rewarded with a third try when Williams intercepted on his own line and ran the length of the pitch to score, with Shingler converting.
Connacht, who lost their way after a promising start, secured the final points of the half with Carty slotting over his second penalty of the afternoon.
Carty added a third penalty early in the second half but from a line-out Davies secured the bonus point for Scarlets, converted by man of the match Shingler.
Connacht's misery was compounded when captain John Muldoon was sin-binned for illegal use of the boot at the ruck.
With the Scarlets establishing a comfortable lead the game petered out although Adeolokun scored a consolation try - allowed to stand after consultation - converted by replacement Shane O'Leary.
But the Scarlets were not to be denied and they fully deserved a victory which will help them in their bid to qualify for next season's European Champions Cup.
Scarlets: Jordan Williams, Harry Robinson, Regan King, Hadleigh Parkes, Michael Tagicakibau; Steven Shingler, Aled Davies; Phil John, Ken Owens [c], Peter Edwards, Lewis Rawlins, Johan Snyman, Aaron Shingler, James Davies, John Barclay.
Replacements: Ryan Elias, Ben Leung, Jacobie Adriaanse, George Earle, Rob McCusker, Gareth Davies, Adam Warren, Kristian Phillips.
Connacht: Darragh Leader, Niyi Adeolokun, Danie Poolman, Dave McSharry, Matt Healy, Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion, Denis Buckley, Tom McCartney, Nathan White, Quinn Roux, Aly Muldowney, John Muldoon (capt), Jake Heenan, George Naoupu.
Replacements: Dave Heffernan, JP Cooney, Rodney Ah You, Ultan Dillane, Eoghan Masterson, Ian Porter, Shane O'Leary, Tiernan O'Halloran.
Referee: Marius Mitrea (FIR 36th competition game)
Assistant Referees: Wayne Davies, Martyn Lewis (both WRU)
Citing Commissioner: John Charles (WRU)
TMO: Tim Hayes (WRU)