Scarlets in stylish bonus-point win over Ulster

Sat, 24 Feb 2018 22:08
Large tadhg beirne scarlets 800

PRO14 REPORT: A superb second-half performance from Scarlets gave them a 34-10, bonus-point victory over Ulster at Parc y Scarlets and gave defending champions some breathing room in the fight for a place in the play-offs.

The result moved the defending champions 12 points clear of fourth-placed Ulster with just five games left to play.

Stuart McCloskey scored for Ulster early on, giving the away side a 7-3 lead at half-time.

But Scarlets hit back with a much improved second-half performance and tries from Ioan Nicholas, Ryan Conbeer and Paul Asquith took the game away from the Irish side.

Ulster raced out of the blocks and it took just two minutes for McCloskey to score the game’s opening try, following good work from Tommy Bowe.

Bowe outjumped Corey Baldwin to collect a Scarlets cross-field kick and found excellent support from McCloskey.

Scarlets hit back with a period of extended pressure and 34 phases of play, but the Ulster defence held firm, limiting the home side to a penalty, which Jones slotted between the posts.

In a hard-fought first half, there were few clear try-scoring opportunities, but Nick Timoney had a try ruled out after Jonathan Evans was pulled back off the ball in the build-up.

Scarlets came out fighting for the second half and began with a sustained period of pressure, switching the play well and the backs showing great hands to stretch the Ulster defence.

Baldwin combined well with Tom Williams on the right hand side, but it was Nicholas who managed to cross the line, flying into the corner from the left wing to give Scarlets the lead.

Ulster responded with a John Cooney penalty, but Scarlets were soon back in their opponents’ 22, Asquith going agonisingly close to the try line before the Ulster defence stopped him.

With a penalty advantage, Jones attempted a grubber kick through but TMO replays showed that McCloskey had beaten the Scarlets attacker to the ball.

On 58 minutes, substitute Conbeer stepped up to score out of nothing.

Collecting the ball just inside the Ulster half, Conbeer jinked past several Ulster defenders, including a great sidestep to evade Johnny McPhillips’ tackle and race through to score next to the posts.

Scarlets turned on the style in the final 15 minutes as Asquith sped on to a delicate Jones kick to all but seal the points for the hosts.

From the restart, Nicholas thought he had scored a second, but replays showed there had been a Scarlets knock-on in the build-up.

Asquith nearly grabbed a second try after Nicholas broke through and Steffan Hughes kicked on, but he couldn’t prevent himself from sliding into touch.

The final try and bonus point came in slightly unusual fashion, with Tadhg Beirne ripping the ball from Timoney in the tackle and rolling on to score, and completing a fantastic second-half display.

The scorers:

For the Scarlets:
Nicholas, Conbeer, Asquith, Beirne
Cons: Jones 4
Pens: Jones 2

For Ulster:
Con: Cooney
Pen: Cooney


Scarlets: 15 Tom Williams, 14 Corey Baldwin, 13 Paul Asquith, 12 Steff Hughes (captain), 11 Ioan Nicholas, 10 Dan Jones, 9 Jonathan Evans, 8 Josh Macleod, 7 James Davies, 6 Tadhg Beirne, 5 David Bulbring, 4 Steven Cummins, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Ryan Elias, 1 Dylan Evans.
Replacements: 16 Emyr Phillips, 17 Phil Price, 18 Simon Gardiner, 19 Lewis Rawlins, 20 Will Boyde, 21 Declan Smith, 22 Ioan Hughes, 23 Ryan Conbeer.

Ulster: Louis Ludik, Andrew Trimble, Luke Marshall, Stuart McCloskey, Tommy Bowe; Johnny McPhillips, John Cooney, 8 Jean Deysel, 7 Nicholas Timoney, 6 Matt Rea, 5 Kieran Treadwell, 4 Alan O'Connor (captain), 3 Wiehahn Herbst, 2 John Andrew, 1 Andrew Warwick.
Replacements: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Kyle McCall, 18 Rodney Ah You, 19 Matthew Dalton, 20 Chris Henry, 21 Paul Marshall, 22 Peter Nelson, 23 Darren Cave.

Referee: Ian Davies (Wales)
Assistant referees: Gwyn Morris (Wales), Elgan Williams (Wales)
TMO: Sean Brickell (Wales)

There are currently no matches being played
Fri, 23 March 2018
Connacht v Edinburgh 22h00 Sportsground
Munster v Scarlets 22h00 Thomond Park
Dragons v Cheetahs 22h00 Rodney Parade
Ospreys v Leinster 22h00 Liberty Stadium
Cardiff Blues v Ulster 22h00 Cardiff Arms Park
Glasgow Warriors v Zebre 22h00 Scotstoun
Kings v Treviso 22h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Crusaders v Bulls 06h35 Christchurch
Rebels v Sharks 08h45 Melbourne
Bath v Exeter Chiefs 19h45 Recreation Ground
Sat, 24 March 2018
Sunwolves v Chiefs 04h15 Tokyo
Hurricanes v Highlanders 06h35 Wellington
Saracens v Harlequins 15h00 London
London Irish v Gloucester 15h00 Madejski Stadium
Sale Sharks v Worcester Warriors 15h00 AJ Bell Stadium
Stormers v Reds 15h15 Newlands
Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints 17h30 Kingston Park
Jaguares v Lions 21h40 Estadio Jose Amalfitani
Sun, 25 March 2018
Leicester Tigers v Wasps 15h00 Welford Road
Sun, 18 March 2018
Waratahs v Rebels 51 | 27
Sat, 17 March 2018
Jaguares v Reds 7 | 18
Wales v France 14 | 13
Lions v Sunwolves 40 | 38
England v Ireland 15 | 24
Stormers v Blues 37 | 20
Italy v Scotland 27 | 29
Brumbies v Sharks 24 | 17
Highlanders v Crusaders 25 | 17
Fri, 16 March 2018
Cardiff Blues v Treviso 31 | 25
Edinburgh v Munster 12 | 6
Chiefs v Bulls 41 | 28
Sun, 11 March 2018
Wales v Italy 38 | 14
Sat, 10 March 2018
Jaguares v Waratahs 38 | 28
France v England 22 | 16
Pool A
Team P W D L Pts
Glasgow Warriors 16 13 1 2 65
Munster 17 10 0 7 54
Cheetahs 17 9 0 8 47
Cardiff Blues 17 9 0 8 42
Connacht 17 6 0 11 33
Ospreys 16 6 0 10 30
Zebre 16 4 0 12 22
Pool B
Team P W D L Pts
Leinster 17 13 1 3 64
Scarlets 17 12 1 4 61
Edinburgh 17 12 0 5 55
Ulster 16 9 1 6 46
Treviso 17 8 0 9 40
Dragons 17 2 2 13 17
Kings 17 1 0 16 9