Saturday 18 November 2017

Ulster slump to fourth consecutive league loss

Ulster could only salvage a losing-bonus point as they fell to a fourth consecutive defeat after being edged out at Parc Y Scarlets. Ian Humphreys booted Ulster into an early lead but it was Liam Williams' try that proved the difference as the hosts went into the interval 13-3 ahead.

Humphreys continued to chip into the Scarlets' lead in the second half before Andrew Trimble pounced for a crucial try. But Adam Warren hit back with the match-winning try.

Ulster made a fine start to the encounter and soaked up the Scarlets pressure before edging into a 3-0 lead after the hosts were caught offside -- Humphreys stepping up to slot the penalty on five minutes.

Scarlets' Aled Thomas skewed a long-range effort wide but he more than made amends with a pair of penalties to hand the hosts a 6-3 lead on 35 minutes.

With half-time approaching, the Scarlets landed the decisive blow. Williams appeared to have no options but spotted a hole in Ulster's defence and raced clear to score. Thomas slotted the conversion to hand his side a 13-3 lead at the interval.

Humphreys was off target shortly after the resumption of play but he drew first blood in the second half with a successful shot at goal on 49 minutes. Thomas hit back for the hosts five minutes later but Humphreys was again on target after 55 minutes to keep Ulster alive.

Brian McLaughlin's men continued their resurgence thanks to Trimble's opportunist try. Ruan Pienaar threaded a kick into the right-hand corner and the returning Ireland wing pounced after Jonathan Edwards hesitated over the try-line. Humphreys could have levelled the scores but his conversion agonisingly bounced back off the uprights.

The Scarlets almost instantly struck back when Warren went around Nevin Spence for the match-winning try, making it 21-14. Sub Dan Newton added a penalty to put the hosts 10 points in front before Humphreys salvaged a bonus-point on 79 minutes.

Scorers -- Scarlets: L Williams, A Warren tries; A Thomas 3 pens, con; D Newton pen. Ulster: A Trimble try; I Humphreys 4 pens.

Scarlets: D Evans; L Williams (S Williams, 59), S Lamont, A Warren, A Fenby; A Thomas (D Newton 76), R Williams (T Knoyle 45); R Jones (P John, 61), K Owens (M Rees, 45), R Thomas (S Gardiner 78), D Day (A Shingler 75), D Welch, R McCusker (capt), J Edwards (R Pugh 66), B Morgan.

Ulster: S Danielli (A D'Arcy 56); A Trimble, N Spence, P Wallace (D Cave 66), C Gilroy; I Humphreys, R Pienaar (P Marshall 79); P McAlistar (A Macklin 75), A Kyriacou (N Brady 71), T Court; J Muller (capt), D Tuohy (L Stevenson 66); P Wanneburg, M McComish (R Diack 66), C Henry.

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