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Last Updated: Friday, 24 October, 2003, 20:00 GMT 21:00 UK
Scarlets gain Connacht revenge
Salesi Finau hands off Mark McHugh
Connacht (0) 20
Tries: D Yapp, C McPhillips. Cons: E Elwood (2). Pens: Elwood (2).
Scarlets (20) 25
Tries: B Davies, M Phillips, T Selley. Cons: G Bowen (2). Pens: Bowen (2).
Att: 2,310
The Scarlets gained revenge for their Celtic Cup exit at the hands of Connacht with a dramatic league win at Athlone's Dubarry Park.

It was a tale of two halves, the Welsh side opening up a 20-0 lead at the break, only to see Connacht fight back to leave the visitors hanging on at the death.

Barry Davies, Mike Phillips and Tal Selley crossed for tries for the Scarlets, but fly-half Gareth Bowen had another off-colour kicking game against Connacht, missing five pots at goal.

Second-half sin bins for Ian Boobyer and Scott Quinnell helped the home side back into the game, tries from Connor Phillips and Darren Yapp plus 10 points from the boot of Eric Elwood helping them gain the consolation of a bonus point.

Bowen gave the Scarlets an early lead with two penalties, before a bullocking drive from his own 22 by prop David Maddocks ended in the opening try from Davies.

Scrum-half Phillips continued the Scarlet onslaught with a 35m run for his try, bashing his way through four Connacht tacklers in the process.

The home side's full-back Mark McHugh had missed with two penalty shots in the first period, and their second-half fightback began with Eric Elwood assuming the kicking duties and landing a 50th-minute strike.

Selley got the Scarlets' third try, but Bowen's fifth missed kick gave the Irish hope.

Boobyer was then sin binned for deliberately going to ground and Elwood knocked over the penalty.

As the Scarlets' composure wavered, Quinnell followed Boobyer to the bin for a suspected punch.

The under-manned Scarlets were visibly tiring and McPhillips blasted over for the home side's first try.

Centre Yapp ghosted through poor Welsh tackling in the 74th minute, but Quinnell's return to the fray steadied the visitors and they were able to hold on for a sweet-tasting victory.

Connacht: M McHugh; M Mostyn, D Yapp, T Allnutt, C McPhillips; E Elwood, M Walls; R Hogan, B Jackman, F Boiroux, D Browne, A Farley, P Neville, T Carter, J O'Sullivan.
Replacements: J Fogarty, A Clarke, M McCarthy, M Swift, C O'Loughlin, D Hewitt, S Moore.

Scarlets: Barry Davies; Richard Rees, Tal Selley, Matthew J Watkins, Salesi Finau; Gareth Bowen, Mike Phillips; David Maddocks, Aled Gravelle, John Davies, Adam Jones, Vernon Cooper (capt), Emyr Lewis, Ian Boobyer, Scott Quinnell.
Replacements: Phil John, Rhys Williams, James Griffiths, Gareth Williams, Dale Burn, Ceiron Thomas, Lee Byrne.

Referee: Andy Ireland (Scotland).



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