Pienaar ends Llanelli hoodoo
Scarletts 16 Ulster 18
Ruan Pienaar displayed a cool head and a sharp boot to steer Ulster to a first ever victory in Llanelli.
The Springbok kicked all his team's points, including an injury-time winner from inside his own half, to snatch all four points at Parc y Scarlets.
Ulster trailed 16-15 as the clock ticked past the end of regulation time after Pienaar had seen what appeared to be his final chance, with a drop-goal, squandered by Paul Marshall's poor pass.
However, a penalty in midfield from a scrum handed the scrum-half a final sight of goal. While Pienaar was Ulster's hero, there are still plenty of areas in need of drastic work before Ulster's Heineken Cup quarter-final in Northampton.
Tom Court had a poor evening and Andy Macpherson awarded a penalty try against the Ulster scrum, which capped a tough first half for the prop. Earlier he had failed to collect Pienaar's pass, with the try-line at his mercy, after the scrum-half galloped half the length of the pitch from a scrappy Scarlets line-out.
That would have stretched Ulster's early lead beyond 6-0 inside the opening eight minutes. Instead, a brace of penalties by Rhys Priestland cancelled out that advantage before the home out-half converted the penalty try on 20 minutes.
Ulster had already included one 19-year-old among their ranks in full-back Adam D'Arcy but were forced to throw another into the fray, Paddy Jackson, when Ian Humphreys suffered a recurrence of a shoulder injury.
The Ireland U-20s out-half steadily grew in confidence on his Magners League debut and his break led to a third penalty for Pienaar.
Priestland restored the seven-point home lead with a drop-goal shortly before half-time, though a fourth kick from Pienaar again pegged the Scarlets back. A fifth reduced the gap to two points, and, after Priestland was off target seven minutes from time, Pienaar snatched victory.
Scarlets -- D Evans; G Maule, R King, S Williams, S Lamont; R Priestland, M Roberts (T Knoyle 46); I Thomas (capt), E Phillips (R Lawrence 46), R Thomas (S Gardner 65), V Cooper (J Fa'amatuainu 46, J Edwards 62), L Reed, R McCusker, B Morgan, J Turnbull.
Ulster -- A D'Arcy (S Danielli 50); A Trimble, N Spence, P Wallace, C Gilroy; P Jackson (P Marshall, 50), R Pienaar; T Court, A Kyriacou (N Brady 55), D Fitzpatrick (J Cronin 65), J Muller (capt), T Barker (R Caldwell 65), TJ Anderson (R Diack 50), C Henry, P Wannenburg.
Ref -- A Macpherson (Scotland).