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Last Updated: Saturday, 17 September 2005, 18:14 GMT 19:14 UK
Scarlets 25-17 Connacht
Scarlets hooker Aled Gravelle scores against Connacht
Scarlets (5) 25:
Tries: Gravelle, Afeaki, Byrne
Cons: Bowen (2)
Pens: Bowen (2)
Connacht (7) 17:
Tries: Warwick, Venter
Cons: Warwick, Slemen
Drop-goal: Slemen
Att: 3,042
Scarlets came from behind to record their first home win over Connacht.

The Irish province scored first through a converted try from fly-half Paul Warwick and prop Chris Venter added a consolation score late on.

Hooker Aled Gravelle drove over from a few yards for the Scarlets just before the break and lock Inoke Afeaki scored in similar fashion in the second half.

Full-back Lee Byrne scored the best try late on when he caught his own high kick and out-paced the Connacht cover.

Warwick's try after 18 minutes was all his own work as he twice chip-kicked over the Scarlets defence and then won the race to ground the ball under the posts.

The Scarlets were struggling to retain possession but they finally managed to build some pressure as the half drew to a close and hooker Gravelle forced his way over in the right corner.

Gareth Bowen's second half penalty put the home side ahead for the first time and Afeaki's try 15 minutes later swung the match firmly in their favour.

The dominant forwards were the architects as a succession of bursts put Connacht on the back put and allowed the Tongan lock to cross from short range.

Bowen's conversion made it 15-7, but Connacht remained in the contention thanks to a David Slemen drop goal.

Another Bowen penalty restored the eight-point advantage then Byrne's solo work sealed the points on 74 minutes - despite the Scarlets being down to 14 men following Dave Duley's yellow card.

But Connacht kept fighting and replacement prop Venter ploughed over from short range late on.

  • Scarlets captain Simon Easterby:
    "We were under a bit of pressure after our performance the other night.

    "It was always going to be difficult playing against Connacht because they seem to be a bit of a bogey side for us.

    "But we manage to scrape a win and we'll take a bit from the game. It was a little disappointing in areas but the win is the most important thing."

    Scarlets: Byrne; Selley, James, King, Daniels; Bowen, Stuart-Smith; I Thomas, Gravelle, J Davies, Afeaki, A Jones, Mills, Easterby, A Popham.
    Replacements: Hawkins for Gravelle (80), R. Davies for J. Davies (76), Duley for Afeaki (63), Quinnell for Mills (76).
    Not Used: L. Davies, Hercus, Mackey.

    Connacht: Slemen; Mostyn, Yapp, Matthews, McPhillips; Warwick, Tierney; McFarland, Fogerty, Knoop, Short, Farley, Swift, O'Connor, Rigney.
    Replacements: Riordan for Warwick (59), Keane for Tierney (76), Venter for McFarland (75), Clarke for Fogerty (75), Muldoon for Swift (53), Lacey for O'Connor (53).
    Not Used: Loughney.

    Ref: David Changleng (SRFU).



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