Scarlets (6) 16
TRY: Penalty try. CON: Dan Jones. PEN: Dan Jones (3).
Ulster (13) 13
TRY: Jacob Stockdale. CON: Paddy Jackson. PEN: Paddy Jackson (2).
So there we go, another week. another defeat. As we’d said in our preview, this was always going to be a a tight one and Friday nights game against Scarlets, at a wet and windy Parc-y-Scarlets, was certainly that.
Miserable conditions made it a low risk game but Ulster certainly looked to have adapted well to the conditions in a strong first half performance.
Despite going behind early to two Dan Jones penalties Ulster enjoyed the bulk of possession thanks to good work at the breakdown. The pressure eventually told with Paddy Jackson landing a penalty on the 17th minute and minutes later Jacob Stockdale latched onto a pass from Stuart McCloskey to slice through the defence. Jackson added the extras and Ulster led 6 – 10.
Jackson added another penalty on the stroke of half time and Ulster took a 6 – 13 lead into the break and looked well set to push on.
Scarlets had other ideas and a third penalty by Jones closed the gap to four points on the 53rd minute and the home side took the lead ten minutes later with a supposedly controversial penalty try awarded for a high tackle by Sean Reidy on Scarlets scrum-half Aled Davies. A borderline decision for Reidy, it should really have been Andrew Trimble getting his marching orders, but these new laws will eventually improve the game so we must persevere. As it was, it was a fair reflection on the switch of dominance in the game and the incident probably had little impact on the final outcome.
There was still just under twenty minutes left with the Scarlets leading 16 – 13 and Ulster had their opportunities to go back in front. However, their old enemy of composure close to the line raised it’s head and Scarlets held on to record their ninth win in ten matches.
Final Score: Scarlets 16 Ulster 13.
Ulster: Louis Ludik, Andrew Trimble, 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, Jonny Simpson, Franco vd Merwe, Pete Browne, David Shanahan, Brett Herron, Tommy Bowe.
As we said after the Leinster game we’ll be keeping a Score Card on the health of Ulster Rugby to assist the powers that be in their decisions throughout the season. The Ten Match Win Ratio remains at 40% with a loss dropping of one end to be replaced by this one but the season average drops to a five year low at 56%.