Ulster hold off late charge
CHAMPIONS CUP REPORT: Ulster held off a late charge from Scarlets to keep alive their chances of qualifying for the playoffs.
The Irish province, Ulster, outscored Scarlets by four tries to three, to win 25-24 at Parc y Scarlets on Friday – but a late Scarlets score gave the Welsh outfit a losing bonus point.
A late Scarlets score gave the Welsh outfit a losing bonus point.
Rhys Patchell and John Cooney traded early penalties, but it was Jacob Stockdale that heated things up in a cold and windy match.
Centre Will Addison started an Ulster attack from his own half starting and handed it the Irish international Stockdale, who used his power to cross over for his sixth try in 11 European appearances. Cooney missed his conversion attempt.
Steff Evans’ try put Scarlets in the lead courtesy of some good work from scrum-half Gareth Davies which was converted by Patchell. But it was 25-year-old Patchell at fault for giving Ulster a chance to get themselves back into the game.
The flyhalf kicked the ball out on the full and provided Ulster with a field position to build from – and they took full advantage. After a few big carries from the Ulster’s pack, wing Henry Speight dotted over in the corner.
Will Addison gave the Irish province a third try as he carved his way through the Scarlets defence with ease and scored underneath the posts. Scrumhalf Cooney added the extras.
Steff Evans did grab one back for Scarlets but No.8 Marcell Coetzee responded immediately to give Ulster their try-scoring bonus point.
Dan Davis scored on his European debut at the end to give Scarlets their own bonus point but it proved noting more than a consolation try and Ulster held on to win 25-24.
“We’re really delighted,” Ulster coach Dan McFarland said.
“Physically we fronted up and this is a really difficult place to win but we came wanting to play and thought we had a chance.
“Our defence played a big part today because the Scarlets have some really dangerous players and for long periods of that game we kept them at bay.”
The two sides will meet once again next Friday at the Kingspan Stadium in Belfast.
Tries: Evans 2, Davis
Cons: Patchell 2, Jones
Tries: Stockdale, Speight, Addison, Coetzee
Scarlets: 15 Johnny McNicholl, 14 Tom Prydie, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Kieron Fonotia, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Uzair Cassiem, 7 James Davies, 6 Will Boyde, 5 David Bulbring, 4 Lewis Rawlins, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Ken Owens (captain), 1 Rob Evans.
Replacements: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Wyn Jones, 18 Werner Kruger, 19 Steven Cummins, 20 Dan Davis, 21 Kieran Hardy, 22 Dan Jones, 23 Hadleigh Parkes.
Ulster: 15 Louis Ludik, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Will Addison, 12 Stuart McCloskey, 11 Jacob Stockdale, 10 Billy Burns, 9 John Cooney, 8 Marcell Coetzee, 7 Jordi Murphy, 6 Sean Reidy, 5 Kieran Treadwell, 4 Iain Henderson, 3 Marty Moore, 2 Rory Best (captain), 1 Eric O’Sullivan.
Replacements: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Kyle McCall, 18 Tom O’Toole, 19 Matt Rea, 20 Nick Timoney, 21 David Shanahan, 22 Johnny McPhillips, 23 Darren Cave.
Referee: Marius Mitrea (Italy)
Assistant referees: Andrea Piardi (Italy), Matteo Liperini (Italy)
TMO: Stefano Pennè (Italy)