Ulster’s European Cup hopes ended by Scarlets defeat

Luke Marshall on the attack for Ulster
Luke Marshall on the attack for Ulster


Ulster’s European Champions Cup campaign ended with a battling second half display at Parc y Scarlets, but they came up short eventually losing 22-3.

Having trailed 12-0 at the break, Ulster rallied in the second half and came to within two points at one stage of the Welsh side.

But a late goal by Scarlets secured their win and moved them into second place in the Pool Three table - as well as denying Ulster a losing bonus point, which on the overall picture mattered little to the Irish Province.

Scarlets dominance and Ulster’s ill discipline was reflected at the end of the first half with the Welsh side leading 12-0.

Outhalf Rhys Priestland landed his first four penalty attempts on 12, 19, 27 and 33 minutes.

Ulster were fortunate not to go further behind, Priestland missing two further long range efforts in the last five minutes of the half.

The Ulster dressing room appeared calm at the break, but whatever was said had an immediate effect.

Two minutes in, Darren Cave - man of the match last week in the Belfast fixture - took the pass from Luke Marshall to go in under the posts for a try.

Ian Humphreys slotted over the simple conversion to make it 12-7, but he was to miss a penalty on 54 minutes, Priestland having missed his third straight kick 10 minutes earlier.

The Scarlets outhalf did find his range again on the hour mark to make it 15-7 and when Ulster conceded their 15th penalty of the night, at a scrum collapse, Declan Fitzpatrick was off to the sin-bin.

It looked as though Ulster would score a try on 68 minutes, Irish internatinoal winger Tommy Bowe punching a hole in the middle of the ptich, Cave on his shoulder just could not get a full grip and his wayward pass went to ground. Scarlets had strayed offside and this time scrumhalf, Ruan Pienaar, stepped up to make it 15-10 with 10 minutes remaining and four minutes on the sin-bin.

The South African struck again on 72 minutes with a monster kick, but five minutes from the time his third penalty drifted just right of the left post.

But the Welsh side sealed the victory with a last minute try from backrow forward James Davies, Priestland slotting over the conversion for a 22-13 win.