The Glasgow juggernaut is going to take some stopping. Gregor Townsend’s men made it eight wins from eight as they steamrollered the Scarlets’ top-four aspirations in front of a stunned crowd.
There were seven tries in all for the Warriors with the superb Finn Russell claiming a brace in a personal haul of 21 points, as did winger Lee Jones, with Henry Pyrgos, Mark Bennett and Tommy Seymour also on the scoresheet.
The Scarlets, who fall out of the play-off places for the first time this season, managed a solitary try through Wales full-back Liam Williams with Steve Shingler kicking five points.
“The top two spot is in reach, as we knew it would be if we won our games,” said Townsend, whose side were eighth in the table as the Six Nations commenced.
“We knew this was a big part of that and if we win our remaining games against Zebre and Connacht we will be in that top two and the Connacht game will probably decide if we get a home semi-final. We are in great form and it is down to the players’ hard work.”
Facing the competition’s form side was always going to be a tough enough assignment for the Scarlets, without the illness which had struck down some 20 members of Wayne Pivac’s squad this week.
But there appeared few issues when they took an early lead through a Shingler penalty after a bright passage of attacking play.
However, that was unlikely to make much of a dent in the confidence of an in-form Warriors team and the response was impressive and set the tone for the rest of an afternoon in which they were a step ahead of their opponents in thought and deed.
A short line-out allowed Fraser Brown to canter down the five-metre channel, and when the ball was moved right Russell produced a deft chip and a full-length catch for the opening try of the afternoon.
The No.10 converted and was soon adding a penalty when Scarlets flanker Maselino Paulino was guilty of a high shot. The pressure kept coming and the second try also went the way of the Glasgow stand-off as the ever-alert Russell spotted space on the short-side and Pyrgos’s pass put him outside Steff Evans.
The Welsh desperately needed a response and they got one. Full-back Williams ran a perfect line off scrum-half Gareth Davies and sauntered between Sila Puafisi and Ryan Wilson to score. Shingler’s conversion trimmed Glasgow’s lead to five points and the momentum of the game looked to be slowly shifting as the Scarlets began to find some fluency in their attacking play.
But the avenue back into contention was quickly closed off. Davies was stripped of possession and Pyrgos made the most of it, slashing through the defence and delivering a lovely pass for Jones to race over. It gave Warriors a ten-point lead at the break and that advantage was extended within two minutes of the resumption.
Russell’s delayed pass put doubt in the mind of the Scarlets defenders and when Evans and Davies were easily brushed aside by Seymour, the winger found Pyrgos on his inside to give the scrum-half an easy run in. That brought up the bonus point but the Warriors were not done. Pyrgos was involved once more as his snipe ended with a pass falling into Bennett’s hand for the centre to race clear.
Seymour became the latest man in blue to cross the line, running a fine angle from a typical Leone Nakarawa offload, before Jones scored his second to complete the rout from a Russell break.
scorers: Scarlets: Try: L Williams. Con: S Shingler. Pen: S Shingler. Glasgow: Tries: F Russell 2, L Jones 2, Pyrgos, Bennett, Seymour. Cons: F Russell 4. Pen: F Russell.
scarlets: L Williams; S Evans, G Owen (A Thomas 47), H Parkes, DTH van der Merwe (S Hughes 12); S Shingler, G Davies (A Davies 65); R Evans (P John 63), K Owens (K Myhill 63), S Lee (P Edwards 65), J Ball (G Earle 56), D Bulbring, M Paulino, J Davies, J Barclay (M Allen 56).
glasgow: S Hogg; T Seymour, M Bennett, A Dunbar (Naiyaravoro 66), L Jones; F Russell, H Pyrgos (G Hart 66); G Reid (J Yanuyanutawa 66), F Brown (P MacArthur 60), S Puafisi (Z Fagerson 47), T Swinson (L Nakarawa 60), J Gray, R Harley, R Wilson, J Strauss (T Holmes 70).
referee: G Clancy (IRFU).