Scarlets put the brakes on Ulster

05th Mar 2007, 13:57

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The Scarlets ended a run of five straight Magners League defeats with a hard-fought 17-11 victory over Ulster, the reigning champions, at Stradey Park on Saturday.

The Scarlets ended a run of five straight Magners League defeats with a hard-fought 17-11 victory over Ulster, the reigning champions, at Stradey Park on Saturday.

Replacement fullback Barry Davies scored his side's only try without outside half Ceiron Thomas supplying four penalties.

Despite defeat Ulster earned a losing bonus point through a try for Andrew Trimble to add to David Humphreys' penalties.

After the Scarlets had dominated the early line-out exchanges they earned a 3-0 lead through the boot of Thomas, who converted his first penalty from in front of the posts.

But Ulster, boosted by the presence of four Ireland squad members, began to gain an upper hand in terms of territory.

The Irishmen were dealt a blow however when they lost scrum-half Isaac Boss after only 17 minutes with a shoulder injury.

Even so Ulster should have scored at least two tries in the space of 10 minutes, but both missed chances involved hooker Paul Shields who dropped the ball and also missed a pass.

But for all Ulster's pressure it was the Scarlets who scored again with a second Thomas penalty on 30 minutes following a break out of defence by scrum-half Liam Davies.

Ulster did get on the scoreboard before half-time with a Humphreys penalty but that was cancelled out by a third Thomas goal on 38 minutes.

Ulster finally got the try they had worked so hard to achieve but it came through a long-range effort from wing Trimble.

Thomas missed a long-range penalty at the end of the half but still Scarlets took a 9-8 lead into the interval.

It took 12 minutes of the second period before Ulster crept in front for the first time - Humphreys converting a penalty after the Scarlets went offside.

But it was a short-lived advantage for the visitors as Barry Davies sprinted in for the five points following a break by Matthew Watkins.

At the death Humphreys had a chance to level the scores in the 80th minute, but was short of the mark with his penalty attempt from the halfway line.

And in the seventh minute of injury time Thomas put a bit of gloss on the final result with his fourth penalty.

The scorers:

For Llanelli Scarlets:
Try:
B Davies
Pens: C Thomas 4

For Ulster:
Try:
Trimble
Pens: D Humphreys 2

The teams:

Llanelli Scarlets:
15 Morgan Stoddart, 14 Darren Daniel, 13 Regan King, 12 Gavin Evans, 11 Matthew Watkins, 10 Ceiron Thomas, 9 Liam Davies, 8 Nathan Thomas, 7 Gavin Thomas, 6 James Bater (c), 5 Scott MacLeod, 4 Vernon Cooper, 3 Deacon Manu, 2 Aled Gravelle, 1 Iestyn Thomas.
Replacements: 16 John Davies, 17 Ken Owens, 18 Inoke Afeaki, 19 Adam Jones, 20 Dafydd Jones, 21 Clive Stuart-Smith, 22 Barry Davies.

Ulster: 15 Bryn Cunningham, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Paul Steinmetz, 12 Paddy Wallace, 11 Andrew Trimble, 10 David Humphreys, 9 Isaac Boss, 8 Roger Wilson, 7 Kieron Dawson, 6 Stephen Ferris, 5 Tim Barker, 4 Justin Harrison (c), 3 Simon Best, 2 Paul Shields, 1 Bryan Young.
Replacements: 16 Stuart Philpott, 17 Justin Fitzpatrick, 18 Ryan Caldwell, 19 Sam Harding, 20 Kieran Campbell, 21 Kevin Maggs, 22 Paul McKenzie.

Referee: Peter Allan (Scotland)
Touch judges: Gwyn Morris (Wales), Alan Jenkins (Wales)