Scarlets get their 2081-19 Heineken Champions Cup campaign underway at Parc y Scarlets against last season’s finalists Racing 92.
Storm Callum played his part in the pre-match preparations with rain and gale force winds keeping people away from the Parc.
The Scarlets, unaffected by the storm, prepared for an opening titanic clash against the French side.
It’s the homeside that get the first points on the board after a long range kick by O’Brien to the corner. Pressure on the visitors sees us edge ever closer to the whitewash and an advantage call brings us back for a scrum under the posts. Racing are penalised again handing Leigh Halfpenny an early kickable penalty. We’re less than ten minutes in to the game and he secures the three points.
The second quarter of the first half sees possession and territory work in Racing’s favour. They put pressure on us in our own 22. A five metre line out is defended well, they work the ball through the hands before Finn Russell crosses the whitewash. We’re called back for a scrum for a knock on earlier in the phase.
Scarlets regain a foothold in the game with a mammoth kick to the corner. Opportunity from the line out is lost as the ball is knocked on from the top of the line.
Racing get back down field as we edge towards the end of the first half. Scarlets lose concentration and flanker Baptiste Chouzenoux runs in a try under the posts. Finn Russell adds the conversion.
Half time: Scarlets 3 Racing92 7
Tom Price and Dan Jones replace Jake Ball and Angus O’Brien as the Scarlets return for the second half looking to exercise some pressure on the visitors.
As we reach the 50 minutes mark a kick from Dan Jones gives us an attacking line out position but the ball is lost at the top. Ed Kennedy is taken out of the defensive line without the ball. We come back a scrum five. Gareth Davies gets the ball at the back of the scrum, he spots a gap on the blindside and he goes alone. He’s over. Halfpenny’s conversion attempt from out side is just off the mark.
We get back in to Racing territory just minutes later. Scarlets work the ball through the phases, we’re patient and composed. Jonathan Davies receives the ball, puts in a great grubber kick and Johnny McNicholl touches down.
Scarlets weather the Racing storm. A kick downfield gives the visitors a platform to build from but the Scarlets get stuck in to them. We clear downfield and Steff Evans does a great job on the chase.
Possession exchanges hands, Kruger wins a penalty for Scarlets on our 10m line as Racing are penalised for not rolling away. Jones kicks downfield but the referee hands Racing a knock on penalty. They kick downfield and win a line out on the 22m line.
Scarlets defend heroically but referee Matthew Carley heads under the posts awarding Racing a penalty try and sends scrum half Gareth Davies to the sin bin.
With just a few minutes remaining on the clock the Scarlets have it all to do to secure a victory in the opening round of the Heineken Champions Cup campaign.
We win back possession, make up some territorial advantages but the clock is against us and it’s a step too far in the end.
Racing leave the Parc as the winners with Scarlets left to lick their wounds after a heart-breaking finish before travelling to the Midlands to take on Leicester on Friday evening.
Final score: Scarlets 13 Racing92 14
Man of the Match: Finn Russell
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