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Last Updated: Friday, 18 February, 2005, 21:27 GMT
Connacht 11-18 Scarlets
CELTIC LEAGUE
Connacht v Scarlets
Connacht (0) 11
Try: Lacey
Pens: Warwick (2)
Scarlets (12) 18
Tries: Phillips (2)
Cons: Bowen
Pens: Bowen (2).
Att: 1,660
Two first half tries by Mike Phillips helped the Scarlets edge out Connacht in a lacklustre Celtic League encounter at Dubarry Park.

The two touchdowns in seven minutes contributed to the Welsh club's 12-0 advantage at the break.

A Gareth Bowen penalty extended the Scarlets' lead before Paul Warwick eventually opened Connacht's account.

Both kickers then swapped further penalties before Matt Lacey saved Connacht a bonus point with a late try.

A misfiring lineout ultimately saw Connacht slip up in the race for the Heineken Cup play-off spot, as Cardiff - four points below the Irish province and now with a game in hand - remain in contention.

The 22-year-old Phillips' first half ingenuity was the highlight as Michael Bradley's side suffered their fourth defeat in four outings in their second home of Athlone.

Gareth Bowen's early penalty slid wide but from a 26th-minute Salesi Finau breakaway, Phillips outsmarted the Irish rearguard to dive over from a quick tap penalty.

Bowen clipped over the conversion, but was wayward when Phillips ended a dogged spell of Scarlets attacking with his second try, spinning past opposite number Tom Tierney for the touchdown on 32 minutes.

The Scarlets - minus regular skipper Simon Easterby - went 15-0 in front nine minutes after the restart, as a clinical Bowen punished a ruck infringement from 28 metres.

After a Matt Mostyn break, Warwick replied for the home side with his right wing 30-metre penalty but at the other end, Bowen quickly chalked up his 114th league point with another penalty.

Athough Warwick replied and Lacey burrowed over in injury time, a first away success since their 26-15 defeat of the Borders on the opening night of the season belonged to the Scarlets.


Connacht: M Mostyn; C McPhillips, P Warwick, D Yapp, T Robinson; D Slemen, T Tierney; R Hogan, B Jackman, P Bracken, C Short, A Farley (capt), O'Connor, M Lacey, J Muldoon.
Replacements: Keane for Tierney (48), Buckley for Bracken (62), McFarland for Hogan (74). Not Used: Merrigan, Carroll, Elwood, Meagher.

Scarlets: L Byrne; A Havili, M Watkins, S Finau, T Selley; G Bowen, M Phillips; P John, M Rees, J Davies, V Cooper, C Wyatt, J Mills, G Thomas, A Powell.
Replacements: Gravelle for Rees (59), A Jones for John (67), A Thomas for Bowen (78), Taylor for Finau (80). Not Used: Williams, Boobyer, L Davies.

Referee: Graeme Hannah (Scotland)




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