Halfpenny boot sinks La Rochelle
EUROPEAN CUP MATCH REPORT: Welsh star Leigh Halfpenny kicked 19 points from the tee as Scarlets claimed the first place in the semifinals.
Scarlets beat French giants La Rochelle 29-17 on Friday, with the visitors scoring a consolation try at Parc y Scarlets after the hooter for full-time had already sounded.
At the final count, each team had scored two tries, but Halfpenny kicked two conversions and five penalties to La Rochelle scrumhalf Alexi Bales's two conversions and one penalty.
Scarlets, playing in the knock out rounds of the competition for the first time since 2007, fielded 11 of the Wales team that beat France in the last round of the Six Nations earlier in March.
Romain Sazy touched down for the French club after nine minutes, a try converted by Alexis Bales who added a penalty just before the break, but four penalties by fullback Leigh Halfpenny gave Scarlets a 12-10 lead at the break.
Halfpenny kicked another penalty early in the second half, before the Scarlets added tries from Rhys Patchell and Scott Williams, both converted by Halfpenny.
When Williams beat two defenders to put the Scarlets 17 points ahead with four minutes to play, the sold-out Parc-y-Scarlets went delirious with joy.
La Rochelle only managed to find a way through after time was up when Pierre Boudehent broke away for a try.
Scarlets will face Leinster or Saracens next month for a place in the Final.
Tries: Patchell, Williams
Cons: Halfpenny 2
Pens: Halfpenny 5
For La Rochelle:
Tries: Sazy, Boudehent
Cons: Bales 2
Yellow card: Will Boyde (Scarlets, 69 - repeated infringements, into the side of a ruck)
Scarlets: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Paul Asquith, 13 Scott Williams, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 John Barclay, 7 James Davies, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 David Bulbring, 4 Tadhg Beirne, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Ken Owens (captain), 1 Rob Evans.
Replacements: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Dylan Evans, 18 Werner Kruger, 19 Lewis Rawlins, 20 Will Boyde, 21 Aled Davies, 22 Dan Jones, 23 Josh Macleod.
La Rochelle: 15 Charles Bouldoire, 14 Vincent Rattez, 13 Arthur Retiere, 12 Pierre Aguillon, 11 Steve Barry, 10 Jérémy Sinzelle, 9 Alexi Bales, 8 Afa Amosa, 7 Zeno Kieft, 6 Levani Botia, 5 Mathieu Tanguy, 4 Romain Sazy, 3 Uini Atonio, 2 Pierre Bourgarit, 1 Dany Priso.
Replacements: 16 Hikairo Forbes, 17 Kamaliele Tufele, 18 Mohamed Boughanmi, 19 Gregory Lamboley, 20 Kevin Gourdon, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Benjamin Noble, 23 Pierre Boudehent.
Referee: Luke Pearce (England)
Assistant referees: Matthew Carley (England), Craig Maxwell-Keys (England)
TMO: David Grashoff (England)