CONNACHT SUFFERED A 21 – 24 defeat to Llanelli Scarlets at the Sportsground today, despite the visitors incurring three yellow cards.
Prop Jacobie Adriaanse was the first to visit the sin bin after 25 minutes of the first half, a point at which Connacht led the game thanks to two Craig Ronaldson penalties to one from Aled Thomas.
On his return however, after a third score from Ronaldson, the Scarlets scored the first of three tries.
Winger Frazier Climo marked his league debut with a fine finish in the corner after the visitors had declined the chance at three points and instead set up the opportunity with a line-out which would set them up with a 9 – 10 half-time lead.
After the break, Connacht’s ex-Lansdowne out-half sent a 43rd minute chance to retake the lead wide from 40 metres and from there Scarlets would put the game beyond the western province.
Hooker Kirkby Myhill made the crucial inch that counted after the Welsh side had built slow steady phases on the Connacht line.
Thomas converted that score and had a straightforward one to add five minutes later as Gareth Davies broke to score under the posts.
Connacht would fight back, Matt Healy adding to his impressive show-reel with a third try in this season’s competition. Ronaldson converted, but it was his last act before being replaced by Dan Parks who helped guide his side into another attacking position.
With Aaron Shingler in the sin-bin, Jason Harrs-Wright claimed the game’s sixth try to give Connacht hope, but Parks’ missed conversion made the task all the more complicated.
Llanelli’s third and final yellow card came after fullback Gareth Owen bodychecked Healy after the winger had chipped on. In dangerous positions, Connacht preferred to quick tap penalties in search of the win rather than settle for the draw.
The 14 men held firm though, and the westerners left the field with only one point rather than the five that were within reach.