Scarlets got off to a winning start in a new competition with an easy win over Bayonne in the European Challenge Cup.
Dwayne Peel’s team overcame a poor league record to move to the top of Pool B with a bonus-point victory.
Ryan Conbeer, Dane Blacker, and Sam Lousi all scored in the first half to put a stop to the French side at Parc y Scarlets.
Blade Thomson and Steff Evans followed, and Sam Costellow scored 14 points to secure a morale-boosting victory.
The win capped a successful first weekend in the Challenge Cup for the Welsh regions, which saw the Dragons draw with the Lions and Cardiff thrash Pau to end a 20-game losing streak.
Scarlets, on the other hand, are in desperate need of the feel-good factor that comes with a cup run.
European rugby has a special place in the hearts of this club – and vice versa – but the Challenge Cup this season could be even more cathartic than usual.
Peel admitted that they were grateful for a “clean slate” after only one win in nine games in the United Rugby Championship – and they played like a team free of baggage. Within the first 10 minutes, two quick tries gave the team a 12-0 lead.
Jonathan Davies’ slip-up was made public. Conbeer and the winger worked well together with Blacker to beat the last defender.
Scrum-half Blacker, who was left uncapped on the bench by Wales in the autumn, scored three minutes later after Aaron Shingler’s turnover and Josh Macleod’s burst.
Costellow missed the conversion, but two penalties gave Bayonne an 18-0 lead that sparked their offense.
Back in Europe after being promoted to the Top 14, they’ve already defeated Clermont-Auvergne, Toulouse, and La Rochelle this season.
Due to the deficit, they were forced to kick a series of penalties to the corner, which resulted in number eight Thomson receiving a yellow card and Bayonne hooker Thomas Acquier scoring.
Both teams worked hard, but Scarlets scored a crucial goal just before halftime.After Blacker’s counter-attack took Scarlets the length of the field, Bayonne’s defense panicked, and Sam Lousi scored from a resulting drive.
The French side dug in early in the second half, but the Scarlets scrum, led by WillGriff John, eventually broke through.
Thomson scored from a disintegrating scrum in which former Scarlet Pieter Scholtz was sent to the sin bin.
Evans then completed a fantastic break that included a delightful reverse pass by prop Kemsley Mathias moments later.
Bayonne’s dreadful night was exacerbated by two disallowed tries as Scarlets cruised through the final stages of a rare night of joy at Parc y Scarlets.