The opening round of the Guinness PRO14 was a tense affair at Kingspan Stadium with Scarlets narrowly missing out on a victory over the homeside Ulster.
The only try of the afternoon came in the opening minutes from outside half Rhys Patchell with scrum half John Cooney claiming all of Ulster’s fifteen points.
Speaking after the game head coach Wayne Pivac said; “We didn’t expect it to be perfect rugby in round one. I don’t think either side played particularly well, there were a lot of mistakes but we made the costly ones.
“At half time we talked about staying in the arm wrestle, we knew it was going to be a tight affair. To lose the man and go down to 14 wasn’t helpful and then I thought we had the opportunity to put the game to bed at 13-12 in their 22 with about four minutes to go.
“The message was to keep the ball in hand and build the phases bt we chose to kick the ball away and they had one last go, got down there and kicked the penalty to win.”
Cooney’s penalty in the closing minutes was enough to claim the victory for the homeside breaking Scarlets hearts in the process.
Pivac went on to say; “We defended reasonably well throughout the game so they didn’t really threaten the try line itself. We paid the ultimate price for kicking the ball away. It’s one that we let get away unfortunately.”
Scarlets lost centre Jonathan Davies in the warm-up adding to the side’s injury woes. Commenting on that Pivac said; “Every team picks up injuries, the side that we put out was good enough to win that game.
“Those points are vital eventhough it’s round one, it’s bitterly disappointing but hopefully we’ll learn a lot from that.”
Scarlets welcome Leinster to Parc y Scarlets on Saturday 8th September, kick-off 19:35.