Scarlets returned to Parc y Scarlets to take on Ulster Rugby in the Guinness PRO14 looking for a result at home after two losses on the road.
Leinster top Conference B with a victory keeping Scarlets in the hunt for the top spot whilst also keeping Ulster at a safe distance.
After a slow first half with Ulster going ahead 7-3 at the break a scintillating second half saw Scarlets run in four fantastic tries in true Scarlets form stunning Ulster and securing a bonus point victory to move within three points of the leaders Leinster.
Ulster get the scoreboard ticking over early with a try from centre Stuart McCloskey. Scrum half John Cooney adds the conversion to put Ulster in the lead.
Scarlets hit back with a penlty on the ten minute mark after a long phase of play in Ulster’s 22. They keep hold of the possession, keep the attacking phase but Ulster’s defence hold strong. The opposition is penalised for not releasing the player in the tackle. Dan Jones steps up for a penalty
An aerial battle ensues with 22 drop outs from both sides leading to a territorial kick and chase. Scarlets eventually kick to touch.
As we head into the second quarter Ulster are on the attack in Scarlets’ 22 but the homeside steal the ball and kick to touch. Ulster come back on the attack from the line out but they’re back towards the half way line.
McCloskey breaks through Scarlets defence on the half hour mark and gets the ball out to flanker Nick Timoney. He crosses the whitewash but referee Ian Davies has headed to TMO to check for an infringement in the ruck. Try is not given and Scarlets have a penalty back on the 10m line. Jones misses touch.
Scarlets have a lineout inside Ulster’s half and they start a new attacking phase as we head into the last ten minutes of the first half. Advantage played in Ulster’s favour after Scarlets came off their feet. A crossfield kick is knocked on by Tommy Bowe with Steff Hughes doing a great job covering.
Half time; Scarlets 3 Ulster 7
Scarlets make a move early on in the second half with a driving line out edging towards Ulster’s line. Tadhg Beirne with a crash ball, Steve Cummins, James Davies all get involved. A knock on in the tackle by Ulster gives Scarlets the advantage.
Scarlets get the scrum put in inside Ulster’s 22, the ball is worked through the hands, Steff Hughes takes a huge crash bal, he’s tackled by McCloskey but he keeps hold of the ball. It returns towards the South Stand, Dan Jones takes it up in the line and it gets out to Ioan Nicholas on the wing. He’s over! Jones converts.
Phil Price replaces Dylan Evans as he heads for a HIA after an earlier tackle. We head to TMO to check on a tackle under the high ball but no further sanctions are taken. Penalty Ulster and they kick into Scarlets territory. Another Scarlets infringement just shy of our own 22 gives Ulster a penalty bringing them level pegging at 10 points each.
Ryan Conbeer replaces Corey Baldwin with half an hour left to play at Parc y Scarlets. Scarlets have an attacking phase deep in Ulster’s 22. Nicholas makes a break to the line, he’s tackled. Ulster turn over the ball and kick downfield but Davies calls us back for the advantage.
Jones kicks to the corner. The line out and ensuing scrum gives Scarlets the platform to push again. Jones puts in a cross kick and Tom Williams touches down as well as another three Ulster defenders. The try isn’t given but we come back for a penalty and Jones adds the three points putting the Scarlets back in the lead.
Scarlets come back on the attack from the restart. Paul Asquith makes a break, gets the ball out to replacement Ryan Conbeer who’s making his PRO14 debut and he is lightening quick. He dances around four or five defenders and he scores! What a try! Jones adds the conversion putting the Scarlets ten points ahead.
A third try comes minutes later as the forwards put in a huge effort from the line out deep in Ulster’s 22. What a superb effort! Fantastic! The ball comes wide and Jones puts in a chip kick with Paul Asquith crossing the whitewash for the third try of the evening! Jones adds the conversion to put the region17 points ahead.
And that’s not it! A fourth try is scored as Ioan Nicholas puts his head down and races across the line after Conbeer takes the ball from the restart. We head to the TMO however and it’s disallowed because of a knock on by David Bulbring in the tackle.
We kick for the corner as we look for the fourth try in the final minutes of the game. The ball isn’t straight at the line out giving Ulster the scrum. The ball is back with Ulster, Tadhg Beirne puts in a monster tackle, rips the ball and dots down for a try! What a piece of absolute brilliance! It’s a bonus point try and Jones converts.
Man of the match: Tadhg Beirne
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