Ulsters Stewart Moore tries his team to win on Sunday evening in Belfast. Photo: Inpho
Ulster secured their seventh Pro14 win in a row with a 26:24 win over Scarlets, but had to prevail in an entertaining game that earned both sides trial bonuses.
It was Ulster’s fifth bonus points win out of the seven games played, and the 1st. The 000 fans entering Kingspan Stadium for the first time this season faced a highly competitive competition that the Welsh region could have won if they had been more accurate. But Scarlets not only secured her own attempt bonus point after Phil Price’s belated effort, but also lost a lost bonus point.
Ulster, who was leading 19-7 during the break, scored attempts from Rob Lyttle, Stewart Moore and Sean Reidy before Kieran Treadwell took the bonus point in the second half. However, they re-invited Scarlets to the competition after two players were thrown in the trash, Treadwell in the first half and Matt Faddes in the second.
For Scarlets, Dan Jones missed goal with two early penalties, but Paul Asquith scored an Angus O’Brien-turned attempt in the first half before Ryan Conbeer and Steff Evans crossed the line before Evans ’66. Minute crossed also converted by O’Brien.
Ulster, who had already realigned his backline after Luke Marshall’s early injury, was dismissed after just six minutes when John Cooney counterattacked and Faddes was connected to Lyttle, whose run on the left flank him the last line let lose the defense and make it over the line. Cooney was barely on the ground with the move, as was Dan Jones with his first shot on goal, which looked like a mistake and came after Ulster was penalized in a scrum.
Jones then missed again with a penalty in the 12th. Minute after Evans paused just for Ulster to score a high tackle. Four minutes later, Lock Treadwell was yellowed by referee Andrea Piardi after making contact around Javan Sebastian’s neck.
Scarlets immediately counted their numerical advantage when Center Asquith found room to cross the line and O’Brien – who was kicking Jones – made no mistake and got the crowd in front.
But the Welsh region failed to score with Treadwell and although they stayed on their front foot, their confidence was shaken by Moore’s interception from Dane Blacker’s Pass to Asquith as the Ulster center ran down from over 80 meters the contributions. Cooney switched to put Ulster 7-12 ahead and made another switch shortly after the break after Reidy was run over from close range for Ulster’s third attempt.
After restarting, Scarlets had their second try when Steff Hughes’ superbly weighted cross-kick brought Conbeer into the right corner as he fell behind Lyttle. However, O’Brien couldn’t add the difficult conversion. Then Faddes was yellow carded for a high tackle against Conbeer, forcing Ulster to play another 10 minutes against 14 men.
Scarlets met in the 55. Minute of the third attempt when Evans was dropped on the left by a scrum. O’Brien’s difficult conversion came back from the post.
Then a series of casual mistakes gave Ulster a chance in the Scarlets ’22, and Treadwell took the bonus score from a close run with the fourth touchdown, converted by Bill Johnston. However, the Welsh demanded in the 77. Minute a trial bonus for the replacement price, whereby O’Brien converted again.
ULSTER: M Lowry; M.. Faddes, L. Marshall, S.. Moore, R.. Lyttle; B.. Johnston, J.. Cooney; E O’Sullivan, J Andrew, M Moore; A O’Connor, K Treadwell; M Rea, S Reidy, M Coetzee.
Replacements: C Gilroy for Marshall (3 minutes), J Murphy for Rea (52 minutes), T O’Toole for Moore (53 minutes), A Mathewson for Cooney, A McBurney for Andrew (both 56 minutes), I. Madigan for Faddes (59 minutes), K McCall for O’Sullivan (71 minutes), D O’Connor for A O’Connor (72 minutes).
SCARLETS: A O’Brien; R.. Conbeer, S.. Hughes, P.. Asquith, S.. Evans; D Jones, D Blacker; R.. Evans, T.. Davies, J.. Sebastian; J Price, D Drake; E.. Kennedy, J.. Morgan, S.. Kalamafoni.
Replacements: W Kruger for Sebastian (16 minutes), D Hughes for T Davies (42 minutes), T Morgan for Asquith (53 minutes), U Cassiem for Kennedy (55 minutes), S Costelow for D Jones (60 minutes )), P price for R Evans (63 minutes), W Homer for Blacker (67 minutes).
Monday – Sunday 23. – 29. November
Ulster Rugby, PRO14, Scharlachrot, Rob Lyttle, Ryan Conbeer
EbeneMagazine – GB – Ulster secures its seventh Pro14 victory in a row with Scharlachrot