EPCR Challenge Cup Pool A’s Connacht Rugby earned a commanding 36-14 victory over Pool B rivals Scarlets in the United Rugby Championship on Friday evening at The Sportsground.

First-half tries from Niall Murray and Mack Hansen for the Irish province, who open their EPCR Challenge Cup campaign by hosting Newcastle Falcons on December 10, opened up a 16-11 lead heading into the interval.

Jack Aungier notched in the second half before Connacht were awarded a penalty try for the bonus point. Hansen then added his second of the contest in a thumping second period display.

Scarlets, who welcome Aviron Bayonnais to Parc y Scarlets on December 11, had kept the tie close in with a try from Steff Evans and two penalties from the boot of Sam Costelow in the first half, but were able to muster only a solitary penalty from Rhys Patchell in the second 40 minutes.

Elsewhere, Benetton Rugby, who travel to Stade Français Paris in the opening round of EPCR Challenge Cup action on December 9, fell to a 22-44 defeat at the hands of Heineken Champions Cup hopefuls Vodacom Bulls – Manuel Zuliani the lone try scorer for the Italians.