SCARLETS BEAT ULSTER 17 — 9 in their RaboDirect Pro12 clash at Parc y Scarlets. Wayward kicking, in atrocious wet conditions, from Ruan Pienaar meant his side left Wales without a losing bonus point.
Scarlets shaded the contest in the opening 40 minutes and were rewarded for some fine attacking play when replacement outhalf John Barclay dotted down. Barclay was only on the pitch as Aaron Shingler was substituted early with an injury.
Steve Shingler’s penalty on 23 minutes cancelled out Ulster’s sole effort of the half, a three-pointer from South African outhalf Ruan Pienaar. Mark Anscombe’s men were forced to defend with every they had as Scarlets piled through 34 phases without getting the breakthrough.
Steve became the second Shingler to depart the pitch with an injury. His replacement, Aled Thomas, slotted over a penalty with the last kick of the game to leave the Welshmen eight points clear.
Ulster blitzed Cardiff Blues at the beginning of the second half, at Ravenhill, last week and came out hard and quick after the break. Pienaar missed one penalty attempt but, with Scarlets offside at the resulting restart, made no mistake with a second bite of the cherry.
Seeking an attacking spark, Anscombe replaced Paul Marshall with James McKinney and shifted Pienaar into the scrumhalf slot. Another substitution set Ulster back as David McIlwaine was sent to the sin-bin 90 seconds after taking the field. Thomas compounded his indiscretion by slotting over a 64th minute penalty.
Pienaar converted a long distance penalty attempt five minutes later but missed from straight in front of the posts, from just 25m out, after 72 minutes. McIlwaine returned but was replaced in the bin by Roger Wilson. A late Thomas penalty ensured Ulster would be heading home empty-handed.
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