Match report: Scarlets heap woe on Ulster
October 12, 2007
Llanelli cruised to an emphatic victory over Magners League basement side Ulster at Stradey Park and secured their third successive winning bonus point in the process.
The Scarlets needed to win with four tries to keep the pressure right on leaders Cardiff Blues and, by half-time, they were three-quarters of the way to their goal.
It was a shaky few minutes to open but the Scarlets soon got into the groove despite one or two moments that were not so memorable for the west Wales outfit.
Irish outside-half Paddy Wallace put Ulster in front with a penalty on 14 minutes but, after opposite number Rhys Priestland, deputising for rested Welsh World Cup ace Stephen Jones, levelled matters, the Scarlets upped the ante.
They raced over for three tries as wing Matthew Watkins was put over by Priestland on the left after an excellent break by right winger and debutant Nathan Brew. The score made Watkins the Magners League's leading try-scorer.
Ulster clawed back to two points adrift when a long, wild line-out on the Irishmen's 22 from home hooker Ken Owens ended up near the centres.
From there, the Ulster midfield combined to get a breakaway try from 70 metres as Seamus Mallon grabbed the loose line-out, ran on and gave the ball to colleague Tommy Bowe to run in from half-way.
Towards half-time, the Scarlets turned it on as flanker Jonathan Edwards was put away by Owens on the left before New Zealand Maori Deacon Manu scored his first try since November 5 last year when the ball skewed from a ruck into his hands and he went over for the touchdown which Priestland converted.
It did not help Ulster either that flanker Neil McMillan was sin-binned for a ruck offence just before the break.
And, on 51 minutes, a lovely move that sent replacement wing Mark Jones under the posts, with Priestland adding a third conversion, gave the Scarlets that bonus point.
Now all they had to do was win the game but, with the match slipping away from them, Ulster began to get into gear and played some good rugby to pressurise the home side.
Scrum-half and captain Isaac Boss directed matters but, for all their fury around the hour mark, the Scarlets held firm.
And a penalty from Priestland wrapped matters up despite a late flurry from Ulster in which they nearly scored a try but saw Wallace drop the ball over the Scarlets' line.
Scarlets 32 (22)
Ulster 8 (8)
Llanelli Scarlets: Stoddart, Brew, King, G. Evans, Watkins, Priestlend, L. Davies, I. Thomas, Owen, Manu, Cooper, Eustace,
Replacements: Douglas, Hayter, Reed, D. Jones, Cattle, C. Thomas, M. Jones.
Ulster: Cunningham, Bartholomeusz, Bowe, Mallon, Danielli, Wallace, Boss, B. Young, Brady, Court, Harrison, del Fava,
Replacements: R. Best, J. Fitzpatrick, Barker, Wilson, Marshall, O'Connor, McCrea.
Referee: Malcolm Changleng (Scotland)
Despite having lost all four of their 2014 Six Nations games, the future of Italian rugby is bright with the team showing a new youthful core, argues Enrico Borra
"The loudest cheer at a rugby game, away from social media gimmicks, pumping music and pyrotechnics will always be for a try." Tom Hamilton on the Twickenham atmosphere
"The only thing that will stop this England team from becoming a great team is themselves. They need to ask themselves 'what can we be?'" The Phil Vickery column
The latest Monday Maul looks at the hectic final weekend, the Lions hangover, the superb Mike Brown and the 'selfie'