By Tadhg Peavoy

Connacht have been beaten 32-30 by Scarlets in their crucial RaboDirect Pro12 clash at Parc y Scarlets.

Scarlets and Connacht came into the clash in sixth and seventh spots in the league table respectively, with just four points between them.

Under the mooted new qualifying rules for the European Cup, sixth spot will ensure qualification for the continent's premier club tournament next season, adding extra spice to the tie.

And Connacht came agonisingly close to claiming a vital away victory in a superb tie in Wales.

Scarlets led 13-6 at the break as they dominated the opening exchanges, with Jonathan Davies crashing over for a try, allied to kicked points from Priestland.

Two Dan Parks penalties kept Connacht in touch.

The Welsh side also started the better team after the break as they moved into a seemingly unassailable 25-6 lead with further tries from Gareth Davies and Josh Turnbull.

However, Connacht came roaring back with tries from Kieran Marmion, Fionn Carr and Robbie Henshaw. Miah Nikora added a conversion to reduce the arrears to just two points entering the closing minutes.

Just as it looked as though the Westerners would pull off a famous victory, Gareth Maule went over for Scarlets' fourth try, which Priestland converted.

Connacht number eight Eoin McKeon went over for an injury-time try, which Nikora converted, but it was to be in vain as proceedings came to a close with Scarlets recording a crucial victory that leaves them seven points ahead of Connacht in sixth spot in the table.

Twitter: @TPeavoy