Pro14Southern Kings (16) 30Tries: Makase, Penxe, Du Toit, H Klaasen Con: Zono, Coleman Pens: Zono 2Scarlets (10) 34Tries: Beirne, Nicholas, Kruger, D Jones Cons: D Jones 4 Pens: D Jones 2
Reigning champions Scarlets overcame the absence of 15 international players to deny Southern Kings their first Pro14 win in this eight-try thriller.
The hosts led at the break after tries by Michael Makase and Yaw Penxe overhauled Tadhg Beirne’s opener.
Martin du Toit’s try helped give Kings a 13-point lead.
The visitors hit back through Ioan Nicholas and Werner Kruger before Harlon Klaasen put Kings back in front only for Dan Jones’ try to win it.
As well as having 15 players away on international duty, injuries at scrum-half meant they persuaded ex-Wales and British and Irish Lion Mike Phillips to 12 years after last playing for them.
The 35-year-old came on at the start of the second half, replacing yet another half-back injury worry for the Welsh region as Jonathan Evans nursed an ankle injury for much of the opening period.
The visitors trailed 16-10 at the break having set the early pace only to be overhauled.
Paul Asquith’s break paved the way for Johnny McNicholl to send Irish flanker Beirne over and Jones added the extras.
Makase seized Zono’s cross-kick and Penxe finished off a thrilling attack to take the hosts into the lead.
Zono and Jones exchanged penalties before the former gave his side that six-point cushion at the break.
The hosts went further ahead when Du Toit crossed for Zono to convert.
Scarlets fought back as wing Nicholas was set free and after South African Kruger drove over from close range, Jones’ conversion put them ahead.
A cruel bounce evaded McNicholl behind his tryline and moments after making his Pro14 debut Klaasen pounced to take Kings back into the lead.
Momentum swung back Scarlets’ way as fly-half Jones darted over before adding the extras and Scarlets held on in the frantic dying stages.
Southern Kings: Yaw Penxe; Michael Makase, Berton Klaasen, Martin Du Toit, Anthonie Volmink; Oliver Zono, Rudi van Rooyen; Schalk Ferreira (capt), Stephan Coetzee, Rossouw De Klerk, Stephan Greeff, Bobby De Wee, Andisa Ntsila, Martinus Burger, Ruaan Lerm.
Replacements: Alandre Van Rooyen, Luvuyo Pupuma, Pieter Scholtz, Jurie van Vuuren, Dries van Schalkwyk, Godlen Masimla, Harlon Klaasen, Kurt Coleman.
Scarlets: Johnny McNicholl; Tom Prydie, Steff Hughes, Paul Asquith, Ioan Nicholas; Dan Jones, Jonathan Evans (capt); Dylan Evans, Ryan Elias, Werner Kruger, Lewis Rawlins, David Bulbring, Tadhg Beirne, Will Boyde, Josh Macleod.
Replacements: Taylor Davies, Rhys Fawcett, Simon Gardiner, Tom Price, Jack Condy, Mike Phillips, Ioan Hughes, Morgan Williams.
Referee: Stuart Berry (SARU)
Assistant referees: Stephen Geldenhuys (SARU), Rodney Boneparte (SARU)
TMO: Marius Jonker (SARU)