Brive became the fourth French side to book an Amlin Challenge Cup semifinal spot when they edged out the Scarlets 15-11 at the Stadium Municipal on Sunday.
After a perfectly observed minute's silence following the death of Scarlets squad member Dan Newton's father earlier in the week, the visitors started the stronger of the two sides at the Stadium Amedee-Domenech.
Stephen Jones fired a fifth-minute penalty wide of the far post from seven metres in from the left touchline but that was as close as they got to opening the scoring.
Instead it was Brive who went in front with a quarter of an hour gone as Swanepoel hit the target following a Scarlets offence at scrum-time right on the edge of their 22.
Swanepoel sent a second effort wide of the left post just three minutes later before Jones followed suit on 28 minutes by somehow missing a straightforward strike from directly in front of the posts and just 25 metres out.
The veteran Wales and Lions star made amends just moments later, though, as he levelled affairs from an even easier angle right on the half-hour mark.
England No.8 Ben Morgan was the catalyst for the score, powering off the back of a five-metre scrum following a knock on from opposite number Petrus Hauman. Morgan was eventually wrapped up just short of the line but referee Wayne Barnes penalised Brive for failing to roll away in the tackle and Jones made it 3-3.
Brive were back in front on 36 minutes thanks to a wonderful strike from Swanepoel from just a couple of metres inside the Scarlets half. The South African cleared the bar with something to spare to hand the hosts a three-point advantage once again.
But it was the Scarlets who had the last say of the half as Jones tied things up once more a minute before the break. His fourth shot at goal was his toughest test to date but the 34-year-old made no mistake from wide on the right.
Swanepoel kicked Brive ahead again six minutes after the interval and a vocal French crowd thought they were about to go further in front two minutes later thanks to a break from hooker Virgil Lacombe.
The Brive skipper powered through the middle of a ruck 30 metres out and looked set to link up with blindside flank Vincent Forgues but Barnes pulled them back for accidental offside. Advantage was already being played for an earlier Scarlets knock on, though, and Swanepoel duly made it 12-6 after his forwards again made light work of their opponents at scrum time.
Scarlets boss Nigel Davies swapped former Wales No.10 Jones for current incumbent Rhys Priestland before Brive playmaker Shane Geraghty saw yellow for a shoulder charge with 53 minutes played.
The Scarlets made the most of the extra man just five minutes later as Williams again showed his clear potential by squeezing over in the right-hand corner despite the attentions of two Brive tacklers. Centre Ronnie Cook and fullback Mathias Atayi thought they had stopped the youngster just short but Williams stretched out an arm for the game's first, and only, try.
The Scarlets were made to wait for confirmation from the TMO - a decision which was greeted with howls of derision from the Brive faithful - with Priestland missing the conversion attempt that followed.
Brive them came within inches of a try themselves just before Geraghty rejoined the action as Andy Fenby's attempt to keep Priestland's 22-metre drop-out in play following a fluffed penalty from Swanepoel almost cost the Welsh outfit dear.
Fenby's knock forward fell straight into the arms of Sevanaia Galala, with the left wing combining with replacements Davit Khinchagishvili and Poutasi and Luafutu down the right touchline. Only desperate defence from the Scarlets cover kept their line intact as they drove the attack into their touch and goal before the ball could be grounded.
The Scarlets dominated the closing stages in central France but Swanepoel struck for a fifth time with just seconds remaining, The Scarlets duly won the restart that followed to keep their hopes alive but their European dream finally ended when they were pinged for holding on in the tackle as they searched for a match-winning score.
Pens: Swanepoel 5
Pens: Jones 2
Brive: 15 Mathias Atayi, 14 Jacques Boussuge, 13 Ronnie Cooke, 12 Riaan Swanepoel, 11 Sevania Galala, 10 Shane Geraghty, 9 Jean-Baptiste Pejoine, 8 Petrus Hauman, 7 Alexandre Bias, 6 Vincent Forgues, 5 Olivier Caisso, 4 Julien Le Devedec, 3 Pat Barnard, 2 Virgile Lacombe (captain), 1 Jefferson Poirot.
Replacements: 16 Iuri Natriashvili, 17 Davit Khinchagishvili, 18 Alexandre Barozzi, 19 Retief Uys, 20 Poutasi Luafutu, 21 Augustin Figuerola, 22 Scott Spedding, 23 Arnaud Mignardi.
Scarlets: 15 Liam Williams, 14 George North, 13 Gareth Maule, 12 Jonathan Davies, 11 Andrew Fenby, 10 Stephen Jones, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Jon Edwards, 6 Josh Turnbull, 5 Damian Welch, 4 Sione Timani, 3 Deacon Manu, 2 Matthew Rees, 1 Rhodri Jones.
Replacements: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Phil John, 18 Peter Edwards, 19 Dominic Day, 20 Kieran Murphy, 21 Rhodri Williams, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 Sean Lamont.
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
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