|Guinness Pro14 play-off quarter-final: Scarlets v Cheetahs|
|Scarlets (24) 43|
|Tries: S Evans 2, Halfpenny, Prydie, J Davies Cons: Halfpenny 2, Patchell 3 Pen: Halfpenny|
|Cheetahs (3) 8|
|Try: Bommetjies Pen: Goosen|
Scarlets stayed on course to defend their title by beating Cheetahs in Saturday’s Pro14 play-off quarter-final in Llanelli.
The Welsh side’s reward is a semi-final away to Glasgow, who topped Conference A, on Friday, 18 May.
Wing Steff Evans claimed two first-half tries, with a third from Leigh Halfpenny giving Scarlets a 24-3 lead.
Tom Prydie, James Davies and Jonathan Evans crossed in the second half to underline Scarlets’ dominance.
Johan Goosen’s penalty was all Cheetahs had to show for their efforts in the first 40 minutes at Parc y Scarlets, while Clayton Bommetjies – who will join Scarlets for next season along with Uzair Cassiem – added a late consolation.
Scarlets took control within five minutes when they stole a Cheetahs lineout and launched a swift attack off the turnover.
Hadleigh Parkes and Rhys Patchell sent the ball wide to the left wing, allowing Evans to squeeze in at the corner for a try.
Halfpenny struck the touchline conversion and although he hit the post with his first penalty attempt soon after, made no mistake a minute later when Cheetahs infringed again to make it 10-0.
The South African side were eager to run the ball at every opportunity, but only ended up gifting Scarlets a second try.
Patchell scooped up a loose pass and when the ball was recycled, Parkes again provided the link to send Halfpenny clear to the line for a try the full-back converted himself.
Goosen got Cheetahs on the scoreboard with a penalty, but the visitors were hanging on and only Paul Schoeman’s last-ditch tackle saw Prydie held up over the line.
Halfpenny limped off with what appeared to be a hamstring problem, with Patchell dropping to full-back and Dan Jones coming off the bench to take over at fly-half.
The change did little to stop Scarlets’ momentum and when Cheetahs prop Ox Nche had the ball stripped in contact the visitors were again made to pay.
Evans was given the ball in broken play and the winger saw space behind the disorganised Cheetahs defence, chipping in behind and gathering to score his second.
Patchell, taking over the place kicking duties, added the conversion to make it 24-3 at half-time.
Any plans Cheetahs may have had for a second-half fightback were in tatters within five minutes of the restart as Scarlets claimed a fourth try.
Scott Williams, playing his final game at Parc y Scarlets before joining Ospreys this summer, flicked the ball out of the back of his hand as he attracted Cheetahs defenders and Prydie took the ball to scamper over for another converted try.
The home forwards then took their turn with a driving maul that allowed flanker Davies to score a fifth try, again converted by Patchell.
With the game won, Scarlets coach Wayne Pivac had the luxury of bringing off several of his senior players with one eye on their trip to Scotstoun in the semis.
But the replacements kept up the scoring rate as Jonathan Evans, on at scrum-half for Gareth Davies, darted through after Cheetahs again spilled possession.
Full-back Bommetjies salvaged a little pride by scoring a Cheetahs try, while Patchell was sin-binned for a late tackle on Sibahle Maxwane, but it is Scarlets who advance to the semi-finals.
Scarlets: Halfpenny; Prydie, S Williams, Parkes, S Evans; Patchell, G Davies; R Evans, Owens (capt), Lee, Rawlins, Cummins, Beirne, J Davies, Barclay.
Replacements: Elias, Jones, Kruger, Shingler, Boyde, J Evans, D Jones, Hughes.
Cheetahs: Blommetjies; Small-Smith, Venter (capt), Marais, Maxwane; Goosen, Meyer; Nche, van Jaarsveld, Coetzee, Wegner, Bernardo, Schoeman, Mohoje, Cassiem.
Replacements: du Toit, Marais, Botha, Hugo, Venter, Mkhabela, Swart, Greeff.
Referee: George Clancy (IRFU)
Assistant referees: Frank Murphy (IRFU), Mike Adamson (SRU)
TMO: Olly Hodges (IRFU)