Scarlets kept in touch with the PRO12 pace-setters after they came from behind to beat Ulster 16-13 at Parc y Scarlets on Friday.
After a back and forth start that saw the Scarlets denied the opening try after some heroic defence from Ulster’s Paddy Jackson, the Welsh side did eventually open the scoring with a penalty from Dan Jones.
With first choice fly-half Rhys Patchell currently sidelined for 12 weeks through injury, Jones has certainly seized his chance in the ten shirt, and added his second penalty of the evening to increase the Scarlets’ lead to six points.
Jackson hit back for Ulster with his first penalty of the night on 16 minutes. And it was the visitors who scored the first try of the evening through Jacob Stockdale. A powerful run from Stuart McCloskey opened up the gap for the young winger to cross unopposed. As the clock hit the 40 minute mark, Jackson slotted his second penalty to give Ulster a 13-6 lead going into half time.
After a slower start to the second half in the wet conditions, it was Scarlets who were next score. Jones added another three points from the tee to reduce the deficit to four points.
The main talking point for the game came on the hour mark. Scarlets man Aled Davies was held up illegally by Sean Reidy. Under the new laws implemented at the start of January, the Ulster back row was shown yellow for a high tackle and a penalty try was awarded to the Scarlets.
— Planet Rugby (@PlanetRugby) 6 January 2017
Minutes later, Scarlets second row Jake Ball was also when yellow for a high tackle which levelled the playing field once again.
Neither side was able to add to their score during the sin bin periods, meaning Scarlets kept a three point lead heading into the final ten minutes.
As Ulster pushed for a winning score, the ball was lost by Luke Marshall into touch giving Scarlets the victory.
Try: Penalty Try
Pens: Jones 3
Yellow Card: Ball
Pens: Jackson 2
Yellow Card: Reidy
Scarlets: 15 Johnny McNicholl, 14 Liam Williams, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Dan Jones, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 John Barclay, 7 James Davies, 6 Lewis Rawlins, 5 Tom Price, 4 Jake Ball, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Ken Owens (c), 1 Rob Evans
Replacements: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Wyn Jones, 18 Nicky Thomas, 19 Joshua Macleod, 20 Will Boyde, 21 Aled Davies, 22 Aled Thomas, 23 Steff Hughes
Ulster: 15 Louis Ludik, 14 Andrew Trimble (c), 13 Luke Marshall, 12 Stuart McCloskey, 11 Jacob Stockdale, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Paul Marshall, 8 Sean Reidy, 7 Chris Henry, 6 Clive Ross, 5 Iain Henderson, 4 Kieran Treadwell, 3 Ross Kane, 2 Rory Best, 1 Callum Black
Replacements: 16 John Andrew, 17 Andrew Warwick, 18 Jonny Simpson, 19 Franco van der Merwe, 20 Pete Browne, 21 Dave Shanahan, 22 Brett Herron, 23 Tommy Bowe
Referee: Marius Mitrea (Italy)
Assistant Referees: Elia Rizzo (Italy), Ben Whitehouse (Wales)
TMO: Carlo Damasco (Italy)