Belfast Telegraph

Magners League: Connacht suffer last-gasp defeat to Scarlets

Scarlets 35 Connacht 33: Connacht were dished out a particularly cruel dose of heartbreak at Parc y Scarlets yesterday.

It will be no consolation that this was a thrilling encounter as Connacht were denied a famous victory by Scottish international Sean Lamont, who struck a last-gasp winner for the Welsh side.

Connacht looked to have done enough to secure their first away win in two and a half years as Fionn Carr crossed for a hat-trick of tries.

But while they initially repelled a wave of late Scarlets attacks as they defended a 33-30 lead, Lamont broke their hearts with their fourth try of the day.

With Ian Keatley landing seven kicks from as many attempts, Eric Elwood's men looked to have done enough to take the points.

Two early Keatley penalties had given them a perfect start and when the Scarlets hit back with a Jonathan Davies try after 24 minutes to open up a 13-6 lead, Connacht responded well with Carr nabbing his first after Gavin Duffy had won the restart with a superb overhead catch.

Stephen Jones conjured a try for Regan King with a superb chip inside the 22 for the former All Black to touch down beside the posts and give them a 20-13 interval lead.

Carr pounced shortly after the restart heading off on a diagonal run which finished with his second try of the match in the right corner, with Keatley converting from the right.

Carr's third try pushed Connacht 30-23 in front and into a strong position after 68 minutes as Keatley again landed the extras.

Scarlets then hit back to level matters with just six minutes remaining when Davies got his second try, but it was Elwood's men who again went on the front foot and forced a penalty, with Keatley's seventh kick looking like a match-winner until Lamont snatched it at the death after some sustained pressure on the Connacht line.

Scorers - Scarlets: Davies 2 tries, King, Lamont try each; Jones 3 cons, 3 pens. Connacht: Carr 3 tries; Keatley 3 cons, 4 pens

Scarlets: A Fenby; G North, R King, J Davies, S Lamont; S Jones, M Roberts (T Knoyle 57); P John (I Thomas 57), M Rees (K Owens 76), R Thomas (P Edwards 76); L Reed, J Fa'amatuainu (D Day 80); J Turnbull, J Edwards, R McCusker

Connacht: G Duffy; T Nathan, N Ta'auso (M Nikora 61), K Matthews, F Carr; I Keatley, F Murphy (C Willis 57); B Wilkinson (R Loughney 61), S Cronin (A Flavin 80), J Hagan; M Swift, B Upton; M McCarthy, R Ofisa, M McComish

Referee: N Paterson (Scotland)

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