Scarlets took on Conference B leaders Leinster at Parc y Scarlets on a wet and windy evening a week later than originally scheduled due to the severe weather and snow drifts last week.
With Leinster topping Conference B a result in their favour would see them pulling away from the Scarlets as we head into the business end of the season.
It was an 81st minute Dan Jones penalty that secured a draw game in the end after a tense encounter at the Parc.
Leinster get the game underway, a week later than planned, but it’s a huge game in the context of the Guinness PRO14 season.
The opening twenty minutes of the game was a rather uneventful affair with the weather, and consequent slippery ball, forcing handling errors from both sides.
As we reach the twenty-minute mark Leinster have a five-metre line out putting pressure on the home side but a knock on hands the ball back to Scarlets.
Scarlets have trouble finding touch, which keeps the ball in the field of play.
As we headed towards the half hour mark Scarlets make yards in to Leinster’s 22. The ball is courted safely. It’s shipped wide to Ryan Conbeer, he’s tackled hard but the ball is kept alive and recycled. It’s worked back inside and heads across to the opposite wing. Fullback Tom Williams, despite being tackled, pulls himself across the whitewash scoring the opening try of the evening.
A call from the assistant referee sees Owens head up to the TMO. The footage is reviewed. Try not given as the ball is deemed to have been released from Williams’ grasp.
Leinster get themselves into a good territorial position in Scarlets' 22 but possession handed back to Scarlets. Scrum five. Jones clears to touch as we edge towards half time.
Half time: Scarlets 0 Leinster 0
It’s Leinster who open the scoring with a try after four minutes of the second half. The visitors put Scarlets under pressure on their own line and prop Ed Byrne crosses the whitewash. There’s no clear grounding, we head to TMO but on this occasion the try is awarded. Ross Byrne adds the conversion.
Dan Jones has two penalty opportunities in the the opening twelve minutes, one pulls wide of the upright the other hits the crossbar.
Scarlets get a rolling maule moving in Leinster’s half. It looks like we’re a long way out but the forwards do a cracking job! Ryan Elias manages the ball at the back of the maule, Tadhg Beirne gets a move in midfield, the ball is shipped out and finds Paul Asquith who crosses for a try! Jones adds the conversion and it’s all square!
With little over eight minutes remaining on the clock Leinster win a penalty in Scarlets’ half and it’s a kickable one. Ross Byrne steps up, takes his time and it’s over. They’re back in the lead.
A clearance kick in the dead ball area is charged down. Leinster dive on the ball and believe it to be a try. We head to the TMO once again. Potential offside and knock on. Try not given.
Scarlets are keen to finish strongly. They are back with ball in hand and running into Leinster territory. Advantage is being played as Tadhg Beinre wins a penalty at the ruck. The ball is kept alive, it gets out to Paul Asquith who wins some territory in midfield and Leinster are penalised again for taking the man out without the ball.
77 minutes on the clock. We return to the location of the original penalty. Jones kicks to the corner. Scarlets win the ball at the line out and work the ball through the hands. The crowd are on their feet! The ball comes back towards the South Stand and big Varndell is poised on the wing. Jones puts in a chip kick but the newly signed winger can’t quite get his hands on the ball. He pulls the ball over with his forward motion over the whitewash. We head upstairs to check with TMO, he’s had a busy old evening!
The ball is deemed to have been knocked on, which hands Leinster a scrum five. 78 minutes played. Leinster clear the ball from the scrum. They’re trying to clear out of Scarlets’ 22. Just seconds remaining on the clock and Beirne wins a turnover. Huge moment!
The clock crosses the 80 minute mark. Dan Jones steps up for a penalty to draw the game. A kick from the 22 line. He shows nerves of steel, having missed two penalties earlier in the game, it’s over!
Unbeaten home record is in tact and we retain the pressure on Leinster who top Conference B.
Man of the Match: Tadhg Beirne.