SCARLETS 16 ULSTER 13
A controversial penalty try award saw Scarlets continue their unbeaten home run at Parc Y Scarlets last night.
Ulster were on control for most of the game and were deserving of their 13-6 lead at the break.
However, the new tackle laws raised debate when Ulster number eight Sean Reidy was sin-binned for a tackle on replacement scrumhalf, Aled Davies which resulted in a penalty and put Scarlets 16-13 ahead.
Scarlets Jake Ball also found himself in the bin for a similar tackle two minutes later - but a week ago both tackles would have been regarded as safe!
It meant the disappointment for Ulster continued after a poor performance against Leinster last week as they ended this run of Guinness PRO12 games on a low - a losing bonus ponit leaves them in sixth place, three points behind Glasgow who meet Cardiff, who are six behind Ulster, on Saturday
Ulster settled the quicker but the first scoring opportunity came the way of the home side.
Paddy Jackson’s attempted clearance was charged down and opposing outhalf Dan Jones chased, kicked ahead and looked to be in going in for the opening try.
But Jackson chased back and got to the ball first to deny the score.
Jones did kick two penalties for Scarlets on 10 and 14 minutes for a 6-0 lead and Jackson replied with a long range attempt.
Ulster’s first serious attack into Scarlets territory yielded the opening try. From a lineout, Ulster made small yards, Stuart McCloskey made an initial surge and Jacob Stockdale took the pass to go through for a try which Jackson converted to give Ulster a 10-6 lead on 22 minutes.
The visitors survived a purple patch from Scarlets - with conditions worsening - but then wasted an opportunity themselves when close to the home ‘22’ Paul Marshall kicking possession away.
Ulster’s ball retention was solid and the were moving Scarlets around the park, but the home defence held.
Jackson ended the half by going for another 40-plus metre kick from the right and he nailed it comfortably to send Ulster in 13-6 ahead at the break.
Ulster started the second half positively but failed to increased their advantage, and Scarlets came back into the game, Jones landing a penalty on 52 minutes to make it 13-9.
The visitors begtan to utilise their bench, the most surprising of them was Dave Shanahan’s replacement at scrumhalf of Paul Marshall.
As the game turned the hour, Scarlets got in front. Sean Reidy was deemed to have high tackled Aled Davies - by the letter of the law under the new tackle regulations if was probably a fair cop - and the penalty try, converted by Jones made it 16-13.
The Italian official was at least consistent, two minutes later he sin-binned Scarlets lock Jake Ball for a similar offence and both teams had 14 on the park.
Scarlets had one decent attack in the last 10 minutes and Ulster dominated the closing minutes but were unable to make their possession count or get into range for a Jackson drop goal which could have given them a draw at least.
Scarlets: Johnny Mcnicholl; Liam Williams, Jonathan Davies, Hadleigh Parkes, Steff Evans; Dan Jones, Gareth Davies; Rob Evans, Ken Owens (capt), Werner Kruger, Jake Ball, Tom Price, Lewis Rawlins, James Davies, John Barclay.
Replacements: Ryan Elias, Wyn Jones, Nicky Thomas, Joshua Macleod, Will Boyde, Aled Davies, Aled Thomas, Steff Hughes.
Ulster: Louis Ludik, Andrew Trimble (capt), Luke Marshall, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale, Paddy Jackson, Paul Marshall; Callum Black, Rory Best, Ross Kane, Kieran Treadwell, Iain Henderson, Clive Ross, Chris Henry, Sean Reidy.
Replacements: John Andrew, Andrew Warwick (Black 50), Jonny Simpson (Kane 55), Franco van der Merwe, Pete Browne (Treadwell 55), Dave Shanahan (P Marshall 50), Brett Herron, Tommy Bowe.