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Scarlets back on track

AFTER defeat to Edinburgh in their previous game, Scarlets got back to winning ways on Friday (Nov 23) as they beat Ulster 29-12 at Parc Y Scarlets.

The clash against Ulster is the first of three against the side in the next four weeks with the Northern Irish side their European back to back opposition in rounds three and four of the Heineken Champions Cup.

Friday’s win kept up the Scarlets’ excellent home record and the bonus point victory sees them move back in to second position in Conference B.

The opening fifteen minutes was scoreless with Ulster keeping Scarlets in their own half despite the home side enjoying a decent share of the possession.

Photo by Darren Harries

Scarlets got up in to Ulster’s 22 after a grubber kick from Johnny McNicholl and the chase from Kieron Fonotia forced Ulster in to touch. A line out saw Scarlets ship the ball wide, the attacking phase looked promising but crossing by number eight Uzair Cassiem saw possession handed back to Ulster who kicked down field.

Ulster got back in to Scarlets territory and Henry Speight made the hard yards before passing back inside to the scrum half who crossed the whitewash. Fly half Billy Burns added the conversion.

Scarlets soon hit back with a penalty from Dan Jones after Ulster are penalised on their own 10 metre line, 3-7.

After some great work from Scarlets forwards, Will Boyde won the ball at the top of the line out and the ball was moved to Ed Kennedy who made a break for the try line but slipped. They maintained possession and with plenty of support, the ball was recycled with Werner Kruger claiming the try! Jones adds the conversion.

Jones kept the Scarlets playing in the right area of the field with kicks to the corner. A kick to the North East corner gave Marc Jones an opportunity to throw to the line. The ball was won at the top and the home side went on the attack through the forwards. The ball was shipped wide and Asquith spots a gap and goes over but the try was disallowed after the TMO spotted blocking.

Despite that the Scarlets continued to come forward and after another line out and the try eventually came from Fonotia with Jones just missing the conversion to leave his side with a 22-7 half time lead.

Daf Hughes replaced Marc Jones at hooker for the second half with Dan Davis remaining on for the injured Ed Kennedy.

Only five minutes in to the second half and Scarlets made decent progress in to Ulster’s 22. McNicholl made a break as he dances around their defenders, making it look easy. They won a line out and the forwards did a great job in edging them ever closer to the try line and Kruger thought he had scored his second but it was ruled out after the referee said the ball had been held up.

The Scarlets continued to have a foothold in the game and piled the pressure on but a number of errors saw them miss out on potential points.

Another move from the home side saw them inch closer to the line and the ball was played across for Tom Prydie, making his return to action for the first time since early October, who crossed for the try which was then converted by Jones for a 29-7 lead.

Ulster did not give up and capitalised on a lack of concentration from the Scarlets when Johnny Stewart scored their second try of the game but the conversion was missed.

Scarlets kept the pressure on Ulster in the final ten minutes of the game and despite a late comeback by the opposition in the final seconds of play Scarlets kept them away from the whitewash and brought the game to a close happy with the five points.

On Saturday (Dec 1), Scarlets travel to Scotland to take on Glasgow Warriors before their Champions Cup double header against Ulster.

The first of those takes place on Friday, December 7, at Parc Y Scarlets with a 7:45 kick off. The return fixture takes place a week later with the same kick off time at the Kingspan Stadium.