Planet Rugby

Ulster put five past Scarlets

04th January 2013 21:01

Share:

SKY_MOBILE Ruan Pienaar - Ulster Heineken Cup

Assured effort: Ruan Pienaar

Ulster extended their lead at the top of the RaboDirect PRO12 table after overcoming the Scarlets 47-17 with a bonus point at Ravenhill on Friday.

So emphatic was Ulster's eventual triumph in this top of the table clash, it is easy to forget just how well the Scarlets started. Indeed for large portions of the first half, the men in red were silencing Ravenhill with a textbook defensive performance.

The scoreline at the end of the game, therefore, is testament to the way in which Ulster stormed back into the game.

It was the league leaders that made the more effective start, but some inefficient work at the breakdown inflicted an early turnover.

It was the away team, however, that looked more menacing in defence, exhibiting impressive line speed in the early stage of the encounter. It wasn't long before this aggressive approach earned its reward, with Scarlets' fly-half Aled Thomas slotting over a penalty on nine minutes after Ulster number eight Nick Williams went off his feet.

Thomas nearly added to the tally on 15 minutes when the Scarlets were awarded a penalty, following poor communication within Ulster's line-out. His kick was skewed, however.

The visitors remained ascendant in this phase of the match, with their forwards achieving dominance at the breakdown. Ulster, moreover, were their own worst enemies, and squandered good possession with unforced handling errors.

Despite such profligacy, Pienaar opened the hosts' account on 22 minutes after good work by the Ulster scrum. These points seemed to inspire the league pacesetters, and the South African gave his team the lead on 33 minutes to make it 6-3.

Ulster were now securing better territory and possession as the game became less fractured. The game, nevertheless, was still very much in the balance at this stage, and possession remained intensely contested.

The Scarlets, however, needlessly handed the advantage to Ulster when Jonathan Davies surrendered a penalty for dissent. Pienaar converted to make it 9-3 to the hosts.

Ulster could not have dreamed of a better start to the second half, when Robbie Diack finished off a try thanks to a deft offload by Williams.

When Pienaar skilfully converted a penalty on 47 minutes, Ulster seemed to have the measure of the Welshmen.

That lead became unassailable on 55 minutes, when man of the match Williams touched down. Williams has emerged as a very influential signing, and the big man certainly seems unstoppable from close range.

The only blight on this entertaining match was the injury to Lions prospect, George North. Let's hope it was not as serious as it looked.

When Trimble extended the advantage on 72 minutes following a rehearsed move, the bonus point became a real possibility.

That promise was duly delivered on 75 minutes, when a cynical intervention denied Ulster lock Lewis Stevenson a certain try.

Ulster were now exhibiting superb flair, playing a brand of rugby that had echoes of their early season brilliance. And the performance was capped on 76 minutes, when venerable stalwart Neil McComb scored his first try for his province.

Scott Williams did score a deserved consolation on 80 minutes, but this was definitely Ulster's night. Five tries, some entertaining rugby, and Mark Anscombe's men will resume their European crusade next week in fine fettle.

The scorers:

For Ulster:
Tries: Diack, Williams, Trimble, Penalty, McComb
Con: Pienaar 2, Cave, Jackson 2
Pen: Pienaar 4

For Scarlets:
Tries: Turnbull, Williams
Con: Thomas
Pen: Thomas

Ulster: 15 Adam D'Arcy, 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Luke Marshall, 11 Craig Gilroy, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Chris Henry (c), 6 Robbie Diack, 5 Dan Tuohy, 4 Louis Stevenson, 3 Adam Macklin, 2 Rob Herring, 1 Tom Court.
Replacements: 16 Niall Annett, 17 Callum Black, 18 John Afoa, 19 Neil McComb, 20 Roger Wilson, 21 Michael Heaney, 22 Paddy Wallace, 23 Ricky Andrew.

Scarlets: 15 Dan Newton, 14 George North, 13 Gareth Maule, 12 Jonathan Davies (c), 11 Kristian Phillips, 10 Aled Thomas, 9 Tavis Knoyle, 8 Rob McCusker, 7 Johnathan Edwards, 6 Josh Turnbull, 5 Richard Kelly, 4 Sione Timani, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Emyr Phillips, 1 Phil John.
Replacements: 16 Matthew Rees, 17 Rhodri Jones, 18 Deacon Manu, 19 Tomas Vallejos, 20 Craig Price, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Scott Williams, 23 Adam Warren.

Referee: Leighton Hodges
Assistant referees: Sean Gallagher (Ireland), Brian Macneice (Ireland)
Television match official: Marshall Kilgore (Ireland)

By Rory McGimpsey

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Saturday , October 25
Ulster vs ToulonUlster vs Toulon Preview
Scarlets vs LeicesterScarlets vs Leicester Preview
Bath vs ToulouseBath vs Toulouse Preview
Montpellier vs GlasgowMontpellier vs Glasgow Preview
Northampton vs OspreysNorthampton vs Ospreys Preview
Sunday , October 26
Clermont Auvergne vs Sale SharksClermont Auvergne vs Sale Sharks Preview
Castres vs LeinsterCastres vs Leinster Preview
Wasps vs HarlequinsWasps vs Harlequins Preview
Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 92Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 92 Preview
More European Rugby Champions Cup fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 31
Leinster vs Edinburgh19:35
Ospreys vs Connacht19:35
Glasgow vs Benetton Treviso19:35
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Saturday , October 25
Bucuresti vs Stade Francais14:00
Rovigo vs Cardiff Blues14:00
Exeter vs ConnachtExeter vs Connacht Preview
Oyonnax vs Gloucester19:45
More European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures
Currie Cup
Saturday , October 25
Western Province vs LionsWestern Province vs Lions Preview
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Saturday , October 25
Taranaki vs TasmanTaranaki vs Tasman Preview
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 24
Munster 14 - 3 SaracensMunster vs Saracens Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Grenoble 15 - 25 London Irish
La Rochelle 25 - 13 Bayonne
Brive 21 - 26 Zebre
Edinburgh 25 - 17 LOU Rugby
Newport Gwent D'gons 26 - 30 Newcastle
Thursday , October 23
London Welsh 20 - 52 Bordeaux-BeglesLondon Welsh vs Bordeaux-Begles Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 19
Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton TrevisoOspreys vs Benetton Treviso Report
Toulouse 30 - 23 MontpellierToulouse vs Montpellier Report
Toulon 28 - 18 ScarletsToulon vs Scarlets Report
Leinster 25 - 20 WaspsLeinster vs Wasps Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
London Irish 70 - 14 RovigoLondon Irish vs Rovigo Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
International Match
Saturday , October 18
Australia 28 - 29 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
More International Match results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sale Sharks 26 - 27 MunsterSale Sharks vs Munster Report
Saracens 30 - 23 Clermont AuvergneSaracens vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Racing Metro 92 20 - 11 NorthamptonRacing Metro 92 vs Northampton Report
Glasgow 37 - 10 BathGlasgow vs Bath Report
Leicester 25 - 18 UlsterLeicester vs Ulster Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
LOU Rugby 28 - 18 London WelshLOU Rugby vs London Welsh Report
Cardiff Blues 37 - 14 Grenoble
Stade Francais 22 - 38 Newport Gwent D'gons
Bayonne 30 - 24 Exeter
Connacht 48 - 12 La Rochelle
Zebre 24 - 33 Oyonnax
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Currie Cup
Lions 50 - 20 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
More Currie Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton625
2Saracens622
3Exeter620
4Bath620
5Wasps615