Ul­ster claim a no­table scalp

Bonus-point vic­tory over the Scar­lets moves Ul­ster to top of the pool

The Irish Times - Sports Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - St­ef­fan Thomas at Parc y Scar­lets

into the abyss hav­ing been elim­i­nated af­ter a mere three games.

Ul­ster pro­duced tries from Ja­cob Stock­dale, Henry Speight, Will Ad­di­son, Mar­cel Coet­zee with John Cooney kick­ing five points from the tee.

The hosts scored three tries of their own cour­tesy of a brace from St­eff Evans and a touch­down from Dan Davis while Rhys Patchell and Dan Jones kicked seven points be­tween them.

Patchell opened the scor­ing for the hosts with a straight­for­ward penalty af­ter Ul­ster had in­fringed at the break­down.

Ul­ster hit straight back when Henry Speight broke through two tack­les in the Scar­lets 22 be­fore be­ing brought down by Mc­Ni­choll

But the vis­i­tors didn’t have to wait long to cross the white­wash. Ad­di­son sparked the at­tack with a clean break from just in­side his own half be­fore of­fload­ing to McCloskey.

The big cen­tre shifted the ball on to Stock­dale who found no re­sis­tance what­so­ever from the cover­ing Gareth Davies to cross for Ul­ster’s first try.

Ul­ster were very for­tu­nate not to lose Sean Reidy to the sin bin when his high hit forced Scar­lets lock Lewis Rawl­ins off the field.

The Scar­lets opted to go for the cor­ner from the re­sult­ing penalty with their pack pro­ceed­ing to shunt the Ul­ster eight back­wards. Scrumhalf Davies sniped off the back of the maul be­fore be­ing brought down just me­tres short of the try-line.

Pow­er­ful car­ries

Af­ter a cou­ple of pow­er­ful car­ries by the Scar­lets for­wards Wales wing Evans’ danc­ing feet beat two Ul­ster de­fend­ers to cross the line with Patchell’s con­ver­sion putting the hosts back into the lead.

But Ul­ster hit straight back with Speight grab­bing their sec­ond try at the far right-hand cor­ner af­ter some ef­fi­cient play by the vis­i­tors’ pack.

The Scar­lets huffed and puffed in Ul­ster’s half as the clock ticked to­wards half-time but their en­deav­ours came to noth­ing with the vis­i­tors hold­ing a slen­der 13-10 lead at the in­ter­val.

Wales cen­tre Davies tried his best to spark his side into life with a pow­er­ful 40 me­tre break into Ul­ster’s half. But with men out­side him cen­tre Kieron Fono­tia lost the ball in con­tact mean­ing a promis­ing Scar­lets at­tack broke down.

Ad­di­son put day­light be­tween the two sides when he hit the per­fect an­gle to slice open the Scar­lets de­fence for Ul­ster’s third try.

De­spite be­ing 10 points be­hind the hosts re­fused to throw in the towel with Davies caus­ing may­hem when­ever he touched the ball.

The Bri­tish & Ir­ish Lions star made an­other lovely break be­fore of­fload­ing to Evans who chipped the ball for­ward.

The ball was de­flected by an Ul­ster player but it re­fused to fall favourably for Gareth Davies mean­ing Ul­ster es­caped pun­ish­ment.

Ul­ster’s scrum had been a huge strength in the first 40 min­utes but the Scar­lets turned the ta­bles de­stroy­ing the vis­it­ing side up front to earn a penalty.

Cap­tain Ken Owens made a big call in turn­ing down a straight­for­ward three points in favour of an­other scrum. The Scar­lets went through the phases be­fore Rory Best saved Ul­ster with a ter­rific turnover at the break­down.

But Pi­vac’s side fi­nally broke Ul­ster’s re­sis­tance when for­mer Su­per Rugby star Mc­Ni­choll clev­erly picked up from the base off the ruck be­fore per­fectly ex­e­cut­ing a Sonny Bill Wil­liams-style off­load to put Evans over for his sec­ond try.

The Scar­lets’ come­back was short-lived as for­mer Spring­boks star Coet­zee sneaked in at the cor­ner af­ter an ini­tial im­pres­sive charge up the mid­dle by Iain Hen­der­son.

A late try from Davis, who bur­rowed his way over from short range, en­sured a grand­stand fin­ish as the hosts tried des­per­ately to sal­vage their Euro­pean cam­paign.

But Ul­ster’s de­fence held firm to se­cure a no­table vic­tory away from home.

PHO­TO­GRAPH: RYAN BYRNE/INPHO

Mar­cell Coet­zee scores Ul­ster’s fourth try dur­ing their Heineken Cham­pi­ons Cup vic­tory over Scar­lets at Parc y Scar­lets in Llanelli last night.

Ul­ster moved to the top of Pool Four of the Heineken Cham­pi­ons Cup with a stun­ning bonus point vic­tory over the Scar­lets in Llanelli last night.The Ir­ish prov­ince will now fancy their chances of pro­gress­ing to the knock­out stages while the Scar­lets are star­ing

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