ad link

Leinster

FULL-TIME
70     6

Zebre

Pro12 | RDS Arena
19:35 (GMT) | 06-01-2017
Mc leinster ed
Leinster
Mc zebre logo 80
Zebre
START LINE UP
  • 15 Joey Carbery
  • 14 Dave Kearney
  • 13 Noel Reid
  • 12 Isa Nacewa
  • 11 Barry Daly
  • 10 Ross Byrne
  • 9 Jamison Gibson-Park
  • 8 Jack Conan
  • 7 Josh van der Flier
  • 6 Jordi Murphy
  • 5 Mick Kearney
  • 4 Ross Molony
  • 3 Michael Bent
  • 2 James Tracy
  • 1 Cian Healy
RESERVES
  • 23 Rory O'Loughlin
  • 22 Cathal Marsh
  • 21 Nick McCarthy
  • 20 Max Deegan
  • 19 Rhys Ruddock
  • 18 Andrew Porter
  • 17 Peter Dooley
  • 16 Sean Cronin
START LINE UP
  • 15 Matteo Minozzi
  • 14 Giulio Bisegni
  • 13 Tommaso Boni
  • 12 Tommaso Castello
  • 11 Mattia Bellini
  • 10 Carlo Canna
  • 9 Marcello Violi
  • 8 Derick Minnie
  • 7 Johan Meyer
  • 6 Giovanni Licata
  • 5 Valerio Bernabo
  • 4 Leonard Krumow
  • 3 Eduardo Bello
  • 2 Oliviero Fabiani
  • 1 Sami Panico
RESERVES
  • 23 Ciaran Gaffney
  • 22 Serafin Bordoli
  • 21 Guglielmo Palazzani
  • 20 Renato Giammarioli
  • 19 Jacopo Sarto
  • 18 Dario Chistolini
  • 17 Andrea Lovotti
  • 16 Luhandre Luus
Mc article sarel pretorius newport gwent dragons 800

Preview: Pro12, Round 13

Thu, 05 Jan 2017 14:32

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: With the Championship now beyond the halfway point, teams in the Pro12 will begin to set the table ahead of what promises to be an exciting run-in towards the end of the season.

Six teams are currently battling it out to reach a semifinal place with another four teams behind them hoping to press their claims for a Champions Cup qualification berth.

Five games take place this weekend due to the postponement of Edinburgh versus Munster as Pro12 clubs aim to fine tune themselves ahead of the final two European rounds.

With Pro12 leaders Munster in European action against Racing 92 in the Champions Cup, second-placed Ospreys have an opportunity to reach the top of the table for the first time since Round Three.

Steve Tandy's men take on Connacht at Liberty Stadium where they boast the best home record in the Championship having taken 29 points from a possible 30 this season.

The other game taking place in Wales in Round 13 is the meeting between Newport-Gwent Dragons and Benetton Treviso, where the visitors are looking to complete a double over their hosts after a win at Stadio Monigo earlier this season.

The Italians have won their last two games against Dragons, who lead Treviso by just four points in the table.

Zebre travel to Dublin to face Leinster at the RDS Arena where they face a formidable task in earning an historic win.

Third-placed Leinster have won all 13 games played at their Dublin home against Italian opposition in the Championship and they have won eight of their last 10 games in the Pro12.

Finally, in Scotland, Glasgow Warriors will be eager to pick a victory ahead of a pivotal final two rounds in the Champions Cup, but
Danny Wilson's Cardiff Blues side will be aiming to complete their first double over the Scots since 2011 and desperate to regain some momentum.

Scarlets have been resurgent since their early-season struggles and they have powered up the table on the back of some exciting rugby.

They will entertain Ulster who are eager to rebound from their defeat to Leinster and start climbing back into the top four positions, however, Scarlets have lost just once in their last eight Pro12 games and are unbeaten in their last eight games in all competitions at Parc y Scarlets.

This fixture will bring together some of the most impressive players in the Championship with Liam Williams and Charles Piutau likely to go up against each other from full back.

Scarlets wing Steffan Evans has been a menace to defences all year but he and his teammates will come across the Pro12's top tackler in Sean Reidy (148 tackles).

Top Performers in Round 12 - Powered by Opta Statistics
Metres Gained: Matthew Morgan (Cardiff Blues) - 158
Carries: Sean O'Brien (Leinster) - 17
Breaks: Willis Halaholo (Cardiff Blues) - three
Defenders Beaten: Charles Piutau (Ulster) - nine
Tackles Made: Lewis Rawlins (Scarlets) - 18
Offloads: Multiple Players - three
Turnovers won: Ollie Griffiths (Newport-Gwent Dragons) - four

We look at all the Round 13 action!

Friday, January  6

LEINSTER v ZEBRE
(RDS Arena - Kick-off: 19.35; 19.35 GMT)

Leinster's only defeat in their last five first team fixtures was 17-25 in Munster on St Stephen's Day.

Leinster have lost just once at the RDS Arena in the Pro12 since March 2013: 14-16 to Newport Gwent Dragons in February 2015.

Zebre have won just one game in the Pro12 this season, 19-14 in Edinburgh in Round Seven, but they have also picked up 5 losing bonus points along the way.

Leinster have a played nine, won nine record against Zebre and have won all thirteen previous games against Italian opposition at the RDS Arena with only Aironi (in February 2011) gaining any league points from those encounters.

The teams:

Leinster: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Adam Byrne, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 Rory O’Loughlin, 10 Johnny Sexton (captain), 9 Luke McGrath, 8 Jack Conan, 7 Sean O’Brien, 6 Dan Leavy, 5 Hayden Triggs, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Michael Bent, 2 James Tracy, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Tadhg Furlong, 19 Rhys Ruddock, 20 Jamie Heaslip, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Ross Byrne, 23 Noel Reid.

Zebre: 15 Kurt Baker, 14 Mattia Bellini, 13 Matteo Pratichetti, 12 Tommaso Castello, 11 Lloyd Greeff, 10 Edoardo Padovani, 9 Marcello Violi, 8 Andries Van Schalkwyk, 7 Federico Ruzza, 6 Derick Minnie, 5 George Biagi (captain), 4 Gideon Koegelenberg, 3 Pietro Ceccarelli, 2 Tommaso D’Apice, 1 Andrea Lovotti.
Replacements: 16 Carlo Festuccia, 17 Andrea De Marchi, 18 Guillermo Roan, 19 Joshua Furno, 20 Maxime Mbandà, 21 Guglielmo Palazzani, 22 Giovanbattista Venditti, 23 Serafin Bordoli.

Referee: Dan Jones (Wales)
Assistant referees: Simon Rees (Wales), Jonny Erskine (Ireland)
TMO: Neil Hennessey (Wales)

NEWPORT GWENT DRAGONS v BENETTON TREVISO
(Rodney Parade - Kick-off: 19.15; 19.15 GMT)

Newport Gwent Dragons have lost their last three matches in the Pro12 since beating Edinburgh at Rodney Parade on 27 November.

The Welshmen's 0-10 reversal to Ospreys on New Year's Day ended a five game winning run in all competitions at Rodney Parade.

Benetton Treviso's three game winning run in first team fixtures came to an end when Glasgow Warriors visited Stadio Monigo on New Year's Eve.

Treviso won their most recent away game 28-15 in Bayonne in the European Challenge Cup but have not won successive matches on their travels since 2011, whilst their most recent victory on the road in the Pro12 was 26-16 at Zebre in December 2014.

Treviso have won their last two encounters with Dragons but these were played at Stadio Monigo, the Italians have not been victorious at Rodney Parade since a single point triumph in April 2012.

The teams:

Newport Gwent Dragons: 15 Carl Meyer, 14 Tom Prydie, 13 Tyler Morgan, 12 Adam Warren, 11 Pat Howard, 10 Angus O’Brien, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Ed Jackson, 7 Ollie Griffiths, 6 Lewis Evans (captain), 5 Cory Hill, 4 Nick Crosswell, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Elliot Dee, 1 Phil Price.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Buckley, 17 Sam Hobbs, 18 Lloyd Fairbrother, 19 Rynard Landman, 20 Nic Cudd, 21 Tavis Knoyle, 22 Dorian Jones, 23 Jack Dixon.

Benetton Treviso: 15 Luke McLean, 14 Andrea Pratichetti, 13 Tommaso Benvenuti, 12 Alberto Sgarbi (captain), 11 Luca Sperandio, 10 Tommaso Allan, 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Marco Barbini, 7 Robert Barbieri, 6 Abraham Steyn, 5 Dean Budd, 4 Marco Fuser, 3 Matteo Zanusso, 2 Davide Giazzon, 1 Alberto De Marchi.
Replacements: 16 Ornel Gega, 17 Federico Zani, 18 Tiziano Pasquali, 19 Teofilo Paulo, 20 Marco Lazzaroni, 21 Giorgio Bronzini, 22 Ian McKinley, 23 Tommaso Iannone.

Referee: Mike Adamson (Scotland)
Assistant referees: Sam Grove-White (Scotland), Sean Brickell (Wales)

SCARLETS v ULSTER
(Parc y Scarlets - Kick-off: 19.35; 19.35 GMT)

Scarlets have been defeated just once in the last nine rounds of Pro12 play: 9-19 away to Ospreys on 27 December.

The Welshmen have won their last eight matches at Parc y Scarlets in all competitions since Munster beat them there in the opening round of this season's Pro12.

Ulster have gained just two victories in their last six Pro12 encounters: in Cardiff in round 10 and at home to Connacht in round 11, the victory over Blues being their only one on the road in any competition since September.

Ulster won 19-8 when the two sides met in Belfast in round 3 and have not achieved a season's double over Scarlets since they won all three encounters that were played in 2012/13, coinciding with their most recent victory at Parc y Scarlets in December 2012.

The teams:

Scarlets: 15 Johnny McNicholl, 14 Liam Williams, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Dan Jones, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 John Barclay, 7 James Davies, 6 Lewis Rawlins, 5 Tom Price, 4 Jake Ball, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Ken Owens (captain), 1 Rob Evans.
Replacements: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Wyn Jones, 18 Nicky Thomas, 19 Joshua Macleod, 20 Will Boyde, 21 Aled Davies, 22 Aled Thomas, 23 Steff Hughes.

Ulster: 15 Louis Ludik, 14 Andrew Trimble (captain), 13 Luke Marshall, 12 Stuart McCloskey, 11 Jacob Stockdale, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Paul Marshall, 8 Sean Reidy, 7 Chris Henry, 6 Clive Ross, 5 Iain Henderson, 4 Kieran Treadwell, 3 Ross Kane, 2 Rory Best, 1 Callum Black.
Replacements: 16 John Andrew, 17 Andrew Warwick, 18 Jonny Simpson, 19 Franco van der Merwe, 20 Pete Browne, 21 Dave Shanahan, 22 Brett Herron, 23 Tommy Bowe.

Referee: Marius Mitrea (Italy)
Assistant referees: Elia Rizzo (Italy), Ben Whitehouse (Wales)
TMO: Carlo Damasco (Italy)

Saturday, January 7

OSPREYS v CONNACHT
(Liberty Stadium - Kick-off: 13.30; 13.30 GMT)

Ospreys have lost just one of their last seven Pro12 fixtures: 0-33 at Munster in Round Eight.

The Welshmen are the best home side in the Pro12 this season having dropped only one possible league point in their six encounters at Liberty Stadium so far.

Connacht have lost their last two Pro12 matches to fellow Irish provinces, Ulster and Munster, over the festive period.

Connacht's only victory in their last five visits to Wales was 26-21 against Newport Gwent Dragons in February 2016.

Ospreys only two previous defeats to Connacht since the 2012/13 season both came last season when Connacht became champions.

Prior to this the Irishmen's previous victory on Ospreys soil came at The Gnoll in November 2004.

Teams:

Ospreys: 15 Dan Evans, 14 Dafydd Howells, 13 Ashley Beck, 12 Josh Matavesi, 11 Hanno Dirksen, 10 Sam Davies, 9 Tom Habberfield, 8 Dan Baker, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Olly Cracknell, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (captain), 4 Lloyd Ashley, 3 Ma’afu Fia, 2 Sam Parry, 1 Nicky Smith.
Replacements: 16 Scott Baldwin, 17 Paul James, 18 Rhodri Jones, 19 Adam Beard, 20 Sam Underhill, 21 Brendon Leonard, 22 Dan Biggar, 23 Kieron Fonotia.

Connacht: 15 Tiernan O’Halloran, 14 Niyi Adeolokun, 13 Rory Parata, 12 Peter Robb, 11 Matt Healy, 10 Jack Carty, 9 John Cooney, 8 Naulia Dawai, 7 Jake Heenan, 6 Sean O’Brien, 5 James Cannon, 4 Quinn Roux, 3 Finlay Bealham, 2 Tom McCartney (captain), 1 Denis Buckley
Replacements: 16 Dave Heffernan, 17 JP Cooney, 18 John Andress, 19 Lewis Stevenson, 20 Eoin McKeon, 21 Caolin Blade, 22 Danie Poolman, 23 Ciaran Gaffney

Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Gary Conway (Ireland), Dewi Phillips (Wales)
TMO: Neil Paterson (Scotland)

GLASGOW WARRIORS v CARDIFF BLUES
(Scotstoun Stadium - Kick-off: 19.35; 19.35 GMT)

Glasgow Warriors have won their last four matches in all tournaments since Munster beat them by a single point at Scotstoun in round 10 of the Pro12.

The Warriors have met Welsh opposition on four occasions this season with their only victory being at Newport Gwent Dragons in Round Five.

Cardiff Blues' two wins in the last eight rounds of the Pro12 were away to Treviso in Round Eight and at home to Dragons on Boxing Day.

The Blues two other away wins in the Pro12 this campaign were in Munster in Round Two and at Zebre in Round Four.

The Blues won 23-19 at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park in round 3 and are attempting to achieve a first season's double over the Scotsmen since 2010/11.

The Blues only previous victory at Scotstoun was 9-7 in the European Champions Cup in December 2013.

Teams:

Glasgow Warriors: 15 Peter Murchie, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Mark Bennett, 12 Alex Dunbar, 11 Lee Jones, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Ali Price, 8 Ryan Wilson, 7 Simone Favaro, 6 Josh Strauss, 5 Jonny Gray (captain), 4 Tim Swinson, 3 D’arcy Rae, 2 Pat MacArthur, 1 Gordon Reid
Replacements: 16 James Malcolm, 17 Alex Allan, 18 Zander Fagerson, 19 Rob Harley, 20 Adam Ashe, 21 Grayson Hart, 22 Rory Clegg, 23 Sean Lamont

Cardiff Blues: 15 Matthew Morgan, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Rey Lee-Lo, 12 Willis Halaholo, 11 Blaine Scully, 10 Steven Shingler, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Josh Navidi, 7 Sam Warburton (captain), 6 Ellis Jenkins, 5 James Down, 4 Macauley Cook, 3 Anton Peikrishvili, 2 Kristian Dacey,1 Rhys Gill.  
Replacements: 16 Matthew Rees, 17 Brad Thyer, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Jarrad Hoeata, 20 BJ Edwards, 21 Tomos Williams, 22 Nicky Robinson, 23 Rhun Williams

Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Frank Murphy (Ireland), Keith Allan (Scotland)
TMO: Brian MacNeice (Ireland)

Source: @PRO12rugby

Mc article sarel pretorius newpoer gwent dragons man of the match 800

Sexton returns in style

Fri, 06 Jan 2017 22:21

FRIDAY PRO12 WRAP: Johnny Sexton marked his long-awaited return to Pro12 action with a perfect record from the tee as Leinster sailed past Zebre on Friday.

In other Friday matches Scarlets returned to winning ways with a hard-fought victory over Ulster at Parc Y Scarlets - with an excellent second-half comeback to consolidate their top four position.

* Angus O'Brien delivered a kicking masterclass from the tee as Newport Gwent Dragons put a stop to their three-game losing streak with a dominant display over Benetton Treviso.

We look at all the Friday action!

LEINSTER 70-6 ZEBRE

Johnny Sexton marked his long-awaited return to Pro12 action with a perfect record from the tee as Leinster sailed past Zebre on Friday.

With seven different try scorers, including three for Rory O'Loughlin, Leo Cullen's men sealed the bonus point with just half an hour played, with Sexton - pulling on the Leinster jersey for the first time since the autumn internationals two months ago - contributing 12 points to their tally.

Two first-half penalties from Edoardo Padovani had given the Italians hope in the early stages, but the Irish province proved too strong as they maintained their top three position.

Leinster were the first to get on the scoresheet when Sean O'Brien dotted down after fine work from the centres saw the ball spread wide, Sexton successfully kicking the conversion from the tee.

Zebre pulled a penalty back on 16 minutes through Padovani, but the hosts immediately responded as Hayden Triggs crossed the whitewash before Sexton added the extras.

Padovani added another three points to Zebre's tally to narrow the advantage to eight, but Luke McGrath was quick to restore the hosts' lead with a try, running under the posts following slick play with Zane Kirchner.

Cian Healy's big carry made it 28-6 on the 30-minute mark to secure the bonus point, with Sexton converting both to make it four from four.

And on the stroke of half-time, McGrath broke free from the scrum before putting O'Loughlin through for a converted try to ensure Leinster went into the break 29 points ahead.

The hosts had the first opportunity for points of the second period, when Dan Leavy looked set to cross in the corner after a stunning James Tracy pass, only to be tackled into touch.

But they didn't have long to wait for that first try of the second 40, Garry Ringrose ploughing over the line for his side's sixth try of the evening, Sexton continuing his perfect record from the tee.

O'Loughlin got his second of the game on the 70-minute mark when he crossed from close range, before securing his hat-trick just minutes later after latching on to a sublime Ringrose off-load to score once more, Ross Byrne successfully converting both.

The Italians finished the game with 14 men when Guillermo Roan was shown a yellow card, and their fate was sealed when Ringrose added his second try - and his side's ninth -  of the game with the clock ticking down, crossing over following a scrum five metres from the line, Byrne once again adding the two points.

And Jamie Heaslip wrapped up his side's stunning performance with a last-gasp try, converted by Byrne, to seal a 70-6 victory for Leinster for their second win on the bounce.

The scorers:

For Leinster:
Tries:
O'Brien, Triggs, McGrath, Healy, O'Loughlin 3, Ringrose 2, Heaslip
Cons: Sexton 6, Bryne 4

For Zebre:
Pens:
Padovani 2

Yellow card: Guillermo Roan (Zebre, 73)

The teams:

Leinster: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Adam Byrne, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 Rory O'Loughlin, 10 Johnny Sexton (captain), 9 Luke McGrath, 8 Jack Conan, 7 Sean O'Brien, 6 Dan Leavy, 5 Hayden Triggs, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Michael Bent, 2 James Tracy, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Tadhg Furlong, 19 Rhys Ruddock, 20 Jamie Heaslip, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Ross Byrne, 23 Noel Reid.

Zebre: 15 Kurt Baker, 14 Mattia Bellini, 13 Matteo Pratichetti, 12 Tommaso Castello, 11 Lloyd Greeff, 10 Edoardo Padovani, 9 Marcello Violi, 8 Andries Van Schalkwyk, 7 Federico Ruzza, 6 Derick Minnie, 5 George Biagi (captain), 4 Gideon Koegelenberg, 3 Pietro Ceccarelli, 2 Tommaso D'Apice, 1 Andrea Lovotti.
Replacements: 16 Carlo Festuccia, 17 Andrea De Marchi, 18 Guillermo Roan, 19 Joshua Furno, 20 Maxime Mbandà, 21 Guglielmo Palazzani, 22 Giovanbattista Venditti, 23 Serafin Bordoli.

Referee: Dan Jones (Wales)
Assistant referees: Simon Rees (Wales), Jonny Erskine (Ireland)
TMO: Neil Hennessey (Wales)

NEWPORT GWENT DRAGONS 26-8 BENETTON TREVISO

Angus O'Brien delivered a kicking masterclass from the tee as Newport Gwent Dragons put a stop to their three-game losing streak with a dominant display over Benetton Treviso on Friday.

The Dragons came into their tie at Rodney Parade on the back of successive defeats in the Pro12, but turned their fortunes around for only their fourth league victory of the season.

After giving Kingsley Jones' side an early lead from a penalty, O'Brien went on to add 11 further points for the Dragons, with tries for the Welsh outfit coming from Sarel Pretorius and skipper Lewis Evans.

A score from Tito Tebaldi and three points from Tommaso Allan looked to have given the Italians hope early on in the first half, but a sudden increase in tempo from the Dragons put the game to bed.

O'Brien broke the deadlock for the Dragons, kicking them into the lead from the tee after the Italians were penalised in front of the posts.

But Treviso immediately responded when Tebaldi reacted quickest to a Dragons mistake, hacking on and gathering to cross in the corner.

They further extended their lead on 24 minutes when Allan successfully kicked for three points after the Dragons were called up for slowing possession at a ruck, having given away a handful of penalties in the lead up.

It didn't take long, however, for the hosts to regain their advantage, upping the tempo for Pretorius to dot down under the posts after spotting the gap before O'Brien nailed the conversion.

Pretorius was then sin-binned seven minutes later for slamming the ball down following a scrum in the Dragons' 22, before the visitors wasted a glorious opportunity to pull some points back, knocking on after attacking from the scrum.

O'Brien ensured Jones' men would go into the break with a five-point advantage, slotting home a penalty from 40 metres on the stroke of half-time.

The hosts saw their lead further extended ten minutes into the second period, that man again O'Brien - the Dragons' top point scorer - coolly burying a drop goal after struggling to find a way through the Treviso defence.

He then stretched his side's lead to 11 points four minutes later, opting for the posts after the opposition were penalised.

It was the turn of Evans to cross the whitewash next for the Dragons, finding himself on the end of the maul to score, and the hosts put the game out of Treviso's reach when Dorian Jones added the extras.

The scorers:

For Dragons:
Tries:
Pretorius, Evans
Cons: O'Brien, Jones
Pens: O'Brien 3
DG: O'Brien

For Treviso:
Try:
Tebaldi
Pen: Allan

Yellow card: Sarel Pretorius (Newport Gwent Dragons, 35)

The teams:

Newport Gwent Dragons: 15 Carl Meyer, 14 Tom Prydie, 13 Tyler Morgan, 12 Adam Warren, 11 Pat Howard, 10 Angus O'Brien, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Ed Jackson, 7 Ollie Griffiths, 6 Lewis Evans (captain), 5 Cory Hill, 4 Nick Crosswell, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Elliot Dee, 1 Phil Price.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Buckley, 17 Sam Hobbs, 18 Lloyd Fairbrother, 19 Rynard Landman, 20 Nic Cudd, 21 Tavis Knoyle, 22 Dorian Jones, 23 Jack Dixon.

Benetton Treviso: 15 Luke McLean, 14 Andrea Pratichetti, 13 Tommaso Benvenuti, 12 Alberto Sgarbi (captain), 11 Luca Sperandio, 10 Tommaso Allan, 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Marco Barbini, 7 Robert Barbieri, 6 Abraham Steyn, 5 Dean Budd, 4 Marco Fuser, 3 Matteo Zanusso, 2 Davide Giazzon, 1 Alberto De Marchi.
Replacements: 16 Ornel Gega, 17 Federico Zani, 18 Tiziano Pasquali, 19 Teofilo Paulo, 20 Marco Lazzaroni, 21 Giorgio Bronzini, 22 Ian McKinley, 23 Tommaso Iannone.

Referee: Mike Adamson (Scotland)
Assistant referees: Sam Grove-White (Scotland), Sean Brickell (Wales)

SCARLETS 16-13 ULSTER

Scarlets returned to winning ways with a hard-fought victory over Ulster at Parc Y Scarlets with an excellent second-half comeback to consolidate their top four position.

The hosts were trailing 13-6 at the break due to Jacob Stockdale's try for Ulster with Paddy Jackson adding the conversion and two penalties.

But Ulster were unable to add to their tally in the second half as a penalty try and a third penalty from Dan Jones gave the Scarlets all four points.

Jones, on his first Pro12 start of the season, nearly gave his side the perfect start after three minutes as he charged down a kick by his opposite number Paddy Jackson.

The Scarlet's No.10 hacked the ball towards the tryline but was just beaten to the ball by Jackson who managed to atone for his error and force a knock-on.

Jones did give his side the lead with 11 minutes played though as he scored his first penalty and another successful kick four minutes later made it 6-0 to the home side.

Jackson responded with a penalty of his own on 17 minutes with a 45 metre penalty and the visitors had the lead for the first time soon after.

Stuart McCloskey cut a great line from an Ulster rolling maul to puncture the Scarlets defence and when he offloaded to Jacob Stockdale, the winger was free to run in under the posts for his third try of the season.

Jackson added the extras to give the visitors a 10-6 lead.

The Ulster flyhalf extended their advantage with another well-struck penalty at the end of the first-half to put his side 13-6 up at the break.

In the second half, Jones reduced the deficit with a penalty in the 53rd minute as Ulster were penalised for not releasing the tackler.

Aled Davies was then held up over the try line but Sean Reidy was shown a yellow card for a high tackle in his attempt to stop the replacement and Scarlets were awarded a penalty try.

A successful conversion from Jones put Scarlets 16-13 ahead and it was a narrow lead that they would not relinquish.

Scarlets second row Jake Ball was also sent from the field for ten minutes for a high tackle on 63 minutes but Ulster were forced to settle for a losing bonus point.

The scorers:

For Scarlets:
Try:
Penalty try
Con: Jones
Pens: Jones 3

For Ulster:
Try:
Stockdale
Con: Jackson
Pens: Jackson 2

Yellow cards: Sean Reidy (Ulster, 60), Jake Ball (Scarlets, 62)

The teams:

Scarlets: 15 Johnny McNicholl, 14 Liam Williams, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Dan Jones, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 John Barclay, 7 James Davies, 6 Lewis Rawlins, 5 Tom Price, 4 Jake Ball, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Ken Owens (captain), 1 Rob Evans.
Replacements: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Wyn Jones, 18 Nicky Thomas, 19 Joshua Macleod, 20 Will Boyde, 21 Aled Davies, 22 Aled Thomas, 23 Steff Hughes.

Ulster: 15 Louis Ludik, 14 Andrew Trimble (captain), 13 Luke Marshall, 12 Stuart McCloskey, 11 Jacob Stockdale, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Paul Marshall, 8 Sean Reidy, 7 Chris Henry, 6 Clive Ross, 5 Iain Henderson, 4 Kieran Treadwell, 3 Ross Kane, 2 Rory Best, 1 Callum Black.
Replacements: 16 John Andrew, 17 Andrew Warwick, 18 Jonny Simpson, 19 Franco van der Merwe, 20 Pete Browne, 21 Dave Shanahan, 22 Brett Herron, 23 Tommy Bowe.

Referee: Marius Mitrea (Italy)
Assistant referees: Elia Rizzo (Italy), Ben Whitehouse (Wales)
TMO: Carlo Damasco (Italy)