Challenge Cup: Scarlets crush Bayonne 46-5 in Europe

Scrum-half Gareth Davies was one of three of Wales' World Cup stars returning to the Scarlets side
Scrum-half Gareth Davies was one of three of Wales' World Cup stars returning to the Scarlets side
European Challenge Cup
Scarlets (11) 46
Tries: Conbeer, Elias, Hardy 2, O'Brien, Halfpenny Cons: Halfpenny 5 Pens: Halfpenny 2
Bayonne (0) 5
Try: Tisseron

Scarlets completed a Challenge Cup double over Bayonne as they cruised to a 46-5 victory in soaking conditions at Parc y Scarlets on Saturday.

Ryan Conbeer got the only first-half try before scores from Ryan Elias, Kieran Hardy and Angus O'Brien earned the bonus point after 56 minutes.

Hardy added a second while Leigh Halfpenny touched down as part of his personal 21-point haul.

Julien Tisseron scored for Bayonne with the last move of the game.

The win came on the day Scarlets confirmed they are in talks with New Zealand over coach Brad Mooar, who is in line to become an All Blacks assistant after just one season at Parc y Scarlets.

The Scarlets, who gave World Cup trio Gareth Davies, Wyn Jones and Jake Ball their first outings of the season, defied the heavy downpours to collect maximum points.

Conbeer got a fingertip to Steff Hughes' kick through to score after six minutes, while two Halfpenny penalties made it 11-0 before Scarlets held out under heavy pressure from the juggernaut Bayonne pack in the second quarter.

The home side then turned up the heat with three converted tries in a 10-minute spell, as Elias drove over from a lineout and man of the match O'Brien set up a score for replacement scrum-half Hardy before scorching over with a solo break himself.

Another intelligent support line earned Hardy a second score from Corey Baldwin's break, and Halfpenny cashed in on a late defensive error before Tisseron crossed for a last-minute token consolation.

The result leaves the Scarlets four points behind Pool 2 leaders Toulon, who they host on Saturday, 11 January.

Scarlets captain Steff Hughes told BBC Sport Wales:

"We spoke at half-time about increasing the tempo in the game so we tried to do that from the start of the second half and we saw the effect of that as the game went in.

"Last week was a great result for us, the first time in five years we'd won out in France and we wanted a performance that we'd be proud of today, I think we've done that.

"We feel like we owe Toulon one after losing out there (17-16) so we're excited for that. As a player, what you want is for them to bring their best team, get a crowd here and it'll be a great occasion."

Scarlets: Halfpenny; Conbeer, Baldwin, S Hughes (capt), S Evans; O'Brien, G Davies; W Jones, Elias, Sebastian, Ball, Lousi, Rawlins, J Morgan, U Cassiem.

Replacements: M Jones, R Evans, Kruger, Drake, Kennedy, K Hardy, D Jones, Asquith.

Bayonne: Tisseron; Baget, Alofa, Hingano, Robinson; Ordas, Saubusse (capt); Iguiniz, Van Jaarsveld, C Johnston, Van Lill, Maka, Duputs, Heguy, Iashagashvili.

Replacements: Martin, Cormenier, Mousset, Bergounioux, Collet, Luc, Fajardo, Martocq.

Referee: Sam Grove-White (Scotland)

Assistants: Finlay Brown (Scotland), Ian Kenny (Scotland)

TMO: Andrew McMenemy (Scotland).