A second half capitulation from Ulster saw Scarlets run out 34-10 winners in the Guinness PRO14 match at the Parc-y-Scarlets.
It was one-way traffic after Ulster’s score with Ioan Nicholas, Ryan Conbeer, Paul Asquith and Tadhg Beirne all crossing.
It was three minutes when Ulster scored their only try of the night. Dan Jones attempted to find Cory Baldwin with a cross kick but Tommy Bowe got ahead of his man to claim the ball. Bowe found Stuart McCloskey who barged over the try line.
A silly forward pass on the their own 22m line allowed Scarlets to string 34 phases of play together which resulted in a penalty for the home side which Jones converted .
Ulster’s ball carriers were chalk and cheese compared to the Irish match in Dublin, earlier today. Strangely, Scarlets did not contest as much ball in the ruck as they could have and if they did, they would win a lot more ball as Ulster were forced into playing with runners with no support.
With half an hour gone, Nick Timoney, thought he had scored Ulster’s second try but a dubious decision from Ian Davies, called the play back for a penalty against Stuart McCloskey for obstruction.
The Scarlets took the lead three minutes after the restart. Ioan Nicholas dived over in the corner after Ulster faced constant pressure. Like the early penalty it could have been avoided if Cooney’s kick did not go out on the full.
John Cooney brought the sides level with ten minutes gone in the second half with a penalty. Ulster’s concentration at receiving restarts caused them problems as it has done all season. Luke Marshall fumbled, giving the hosts possession to which they eventually scored a penalty.
Their third try shortly followed as Ryan Conbeer scored a superb individual try. The teenager beat Chris Henry on the wing before burning Louis Ludik for pace and stepping Stuart McCloskey. Worryingly, ten points down, Ulster struggled to open up a comfortable Welsh defence.
Scarlets secured the game with their third try with 15 minutes to go. Dan Evans dinked a lovely ball over the back of Ulster’s for Paul Asquith to gather and touch down. That try put the result beyond all doubt. In a moment which summed up Ulster’s second half performance, the scrum was put under pressure and in an attempt
I struggle to recall an entry into the Scarlets 22m line in the second half, much to the credit of the home side’s dominance. Questions were raised over Ulster’s defence in the fixtures over the festive period so the same needs to be raised over a fairly pedestrian attack.
The games don’t get easier as Ulster welcome Glasgow to Kingspan in the next round of fixtures.
Ulster: Louis Ludik, Andrew Trimble, Luke Marshall, Stuart McCloskey, Tommy Bowe, Johnny McPhillips, John Cooney; Andy Warwick, John Andrew, Wiehahn Herbst, Alan O’Connor, Kieran Treadwell, Matthew Rea, Nick Timoney, Jean Deysel. Replacements: Rob Herring, Kyle McCall, Rodney Ah You, Matthew Dalton, Chris Henry, Paul Marshall, Pete Nelson, Darren Cave
Ulster gave themselves a decent platform to push on in the second half, however they folded easier than IKEA flatpack furniture under pressure from the Scarlets.
Stuart McCloskey performed admirably in the midfield and took his try well, while Tommy Bowe made a couple of breaks.
There wasn't much joy in the forwards however, bar his nightmare moment at the end of the game, Nick Timoney looked tenacious. On the other side of the spectrum, both Chris Henry and Rodney Ah You had no impact when they came on.
- Louis Ludik
- Andrew Trimble
- Luke Marshall
- Stuart McCloskey
- Tommy Bowe
- Johnny McPhillips
- John Cooney
- Jean Deysel
- Nick Timoney
- Matthew Rea
- Kieran Treadwell
- Alan O'Connor
- Wiehahn Herbst
- John Andrew
- Andrew Warwick
- Rob Herring
- Rodney Ah You
- Kyle McCall
- Matthew Dalton
- Chris Henry
- Paul Marshall
- Darren Cave
- Pete Nelson