Ross Harries presents live coverage from Parc y Scarlets as Scarlets host Ulster in the Pro12.
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For the Scarlets, this season has been a numbers game. They celebrated
the start of 2017 by returning to the top four. It has been a
remarkable recovery for a side that lost its first three in a row. Since
then, it has been win, win after win. With one exception. That defeat
aside, they have won eight their last nine. But the challenge only
get tougher from here on in. To mites opponents are hot on their
heels. This match is the proverbial ten pointer. We are into the second
half of the regular season and those with title ambitions cannot afford
to slip up now. Both of these teams are in contention for the play-offs
but the Scarlets could put distance between Ulster and themselves to
night with a win. It has all the ingredients for an absolute cracker.
Welcome to a pretty wet and windy stadium. The weather seems to be
following us around, a monsoon in Newport a few days ago and now this.
It will probably change things because we know the Scarlets like to
play with width and attack from their own half but the weather may
dictate otherwise. Young we will see some kicking again tonight, properly
from Jackson of Ulster. Scholars like to use the players on the wing,
I'm not sure they will change much despite the rain. Context, we
touched on it, a ten pointer in the Scarlets double whammy if they win,
they can climb the table themselves and put some distance with ring them
and Ulster. For both teams, it is the last and they will have their
internationals before the Six Nations starts. Ulster have
jewellery so as their game in hand, you would expect them to get a bonus
point, but if Scarlets went mad, they will have a good gap going into
the Six Nations. Interesting team selection, Johnny McNicol, normally
on the wing, playing at full-back, is that significant or will they
swap places as the match continues. They will use their wings, van der
Merwe coming in as a decoy and then getting it as quickly as they can
into the hands of McNicol. They like to use their wingers of the
blindside. He switches play. They bring the DH back on the inside.
Here, the winner goes to the middle of the field, why does he do that,
it opens up both sides of the field to attack either side of the rock.
Look who crops up, it is McNicol office open wing. Pat jewel against
the Blues last week counter-attacked and who is there again on the short
side, it is both the wingers together and McNicol puts Steph
Evans away. Conditions aside, look out for the back three to have
involvement. The banks will get involved but the forwards will win
this game. You are looking forward to the Battle of the hookers. Nice
like this, the real men win the game for you. Six Nations around the
corner, a Lions year, they are in the mix. Owen is under pressure, he
has been Berlin but still number one, the captain and leader even
though Rory Best has given up the captaincy, his game this year has
been outstanding for Ireland and Ulster. A big bonus for them having
him back to night. In the drizzling rain, they're throwing skills will
be tested to the max. Not a happy hunting ground for Ulster, only
winning twice in 13 attempts here in West Wales. Scarlets favourites with
the home advantage this evening, let's find out how they will fare to
night. Martyn Williams on his way to the commentary box. We will hear
from Jonathan Davies and Gareth Giles. Data macro you very much.
COMMENTATOR: As Ulster come out onto the park, fourth against six. After
such a good start for Ulster to the season, a blip since then. Looking
to get back to winning ways, a different front row, Rory Best back
at hooker. Henderson back in the second row, as is Chris Henry in the
back row. No Pienaar or Charles the towel, Jackson at half-backs. Andrew
Trimble plays and his second match of the season and leads the team. It
is not the night to be hanging about a night. The rain came in earlier
and it has stayed all day. The brave supporters giving their backing to
the Scarlets, in fourth at the moment. Ken Owens rested against the
Blues returns to captain the team. James Davies is back after a
three-week ban. Dan Jones in for the injured Rhys Patchell, who started
every game and ten. Johnny McNicol at full-back, perhaps a sign of
things to come with Liam Williams's imminent departure to the Saracens.
Mickey Thomas could make his debut off the bench for Scarlets and
another former Ospreys player, Toby Bowen, the most familiar name on the
Ulster bench. Italian referee in charge this evening. And no baiting
in the conditions. Not as cold but it is going to be wet and slippery
and difficult out there. First juggle and catch from Tom Pryce.
Gareth Davies preferred at scrum-half this evening, the choice
between him, Aled Davies and Jonathan Evans. Ludik with a good
take. These will be trying conditions. These forwards don't
want to stray too far from the scrum-half. Don't want to be asking
too much of him. That is big Stuart McCloskey in midfield. I think we
will see a lot of him to night. The conditions will dominate the style
of play. It is not going to be an end to end thriller. It will be
about or retention and handling errors. Jackson, we will see plenty
of that this evening as well I dare say. Safely taken by Dan Jones. A
little bit too far there. Didn't really know what to do there,
looking for the up and under but put too much distance on it and an easy
take for Dan Jones. First league start of the season for Dan Jones.
Successfully negotiated by the outside-half. The kick charged down
by Sean Reidy, the Ulster number eight, Johnny McNicol at full-back.
The ball still in play down to Andrew Trimble.
Plenty of early possession for Ulster. Again, McCloskey the big
ball-carrier for them. Trimble again involved.
Henderson, good to see him fully fit again. Ulster keeping the ball well.
A little slide through to Dan Jones. A couple of minutes, straight off
the park from Dan Jones, making his first appearance of the season in
the league. Some breaking news this evening, Rhys Patchell, who has
played every other game, picked up an ankle injury against The Blues
and has seen the surgeon today and he will have surgery tomorrow and he
could be out for up to 12 weeks. Which is really bad news for Rhys
Patchell. I saw the news in the press, he got so excited that he was
going to play on telly. Forget about the game. He couldn't wait. He is
bristling. Dan Jones with an early chance, his football skills in the
wet conditions will help him slide over as Jones and Jackson go over
together. Now then, who got a hand on that one? He's got to go to the
TMO. Paddy Jackson has done brilliantly to get back and recover.
There it is. This is a very tough call. I think that is not a dry. We
have to wait and see where the try line is, they go early because the
conditions, you have to go early and slide over. I think daddy Jackson
has got that, I think he has done brilliantly, Paddy Jackson. Turn of
speed. This is the angle. I'm not sure you can give that. I think
Paddy Jackson has put his weight on it. Anyway, the upper part of the
body will do. For a try. He deftly got his body on it there but look at
the try line, he slides over, Paddy Jackson is there. It is grabbed by
white. All the best I say to that. It is a white scrum. He's called it
as a knock-on in the end. Disappointment for the crowd but
Jones's body was on it before the line but he was not part of it over
the line, excellent work by Paddy Jackson. Great work by both of them,
Dan Jones putting pressure and charging the kick down but a great
scramble from Paddy Jackson to get back, making a good ten or 15
metres. From the charge down, all your money is on Dan Jones to score
that drive. One kick, his control it well. He goes down early and Paddy
Jackson put his foot on the gas and made some great yards there.
There is the charge down, halfway. One good strike and you think that
is it. But then, the stars treading water and Paddy Jackson takes him on
the outside, a great save. Dan Jones will be disappointed with that, in
that position, you expect to score. Just to compound things for the
Scarlets, the free kick goes against the front row.
I think the Scarlets will fancy themselves to night. A couple Ulster
players missing. Accidental offside by James Davies.
Not a great mistake. Just runs into his own player. They managed to work
themselves up to the 40 metre line. First was a free kick, the second
one is a full penalty. Conditions like this, the scrum, if the referee
gets into his head that Ulster have the edge on it, it could be a long
evening. Through the decisions and indiscipline against them, they've
gone from their own 22 the Scarlets 22. Rob Evans, it is quite harsh
initially. He will feel he had the better of Ross came, the 22-year-old
tight head for is that, starting just his second game. -- Kane. His
first appearance was the first game of the season. Sean Reidy gets the
pressure on the Scarlets 22. The third member of the back row,
Chris Henry. From the blindside comes Paddy Jackson and he finds
Ross Kane waiting there. They went through the phases in the Scarlets
half. This time, defence wins out. The presence of the breakdown wins
the home side the penalty. Brilliant from John Barclay, so consistent,
Whee Kim and week out. He will get two or three penalties again for
that exact action. He is brilliant at getting over the ball, he and
Stephen Davies really are a threat for Scarlets. There is John Barclay,
straight in over the tackle. Jake Ball, back to full fitness
after an injury picked up last year. Good angle, beating Tredwell in the
second row. Henderson tried his best to hold him up. They do that well,
Ulster. Ulster offside in midfield. Then a
second offence at the breakdown. He gave an offside before that. I
didn't really think they were offside, good lines beat, not
committing many to the ruck area. It is going to be like a war of
attrition this evening. Not going to be many gaps up there, all doing the
hard yards. Hopefully take the points when the penalties come. You
are right, he didn't look offside at all. You didn't think so as well.
The first points of the evening do go to Dan Jones. Couldn't convert
the try but he does convert the penalty and the Scarlets 3-0 up. The
Scarlets manager is talking to us. Rhys Patchell and footwear with, how
big a blow is that? It is a blow. The last couple weeks he has been a
leading light for in good form. We are naturally disappointed for him,
he has grown in confidence in every game this year. It is a good chance
for Dan to stake his claim. Bouncing down with rain, do you have to think
about changing tactics at all? We knew the weather was coming in and
we know the type of game it will be. We like to play wide and expansive
but we may have to play a bit more of a kicking game into the right
areas. Kicking game were the words, I don't like to tempt fate. It's not
going to be a repeat of what we had last time out at Rodney Parade,
don't worry. And affective kick from the Scarlets, decent return from
Paul Marshall but Ken Owens will be throwing into the line-out. Are
these jerseys getting bigger? They'll be banned soon for being too
dangerous. Hopefully, the new law means they
won't get smacked on the GPS either. Found its way to the tail. The huge
hit coming in which has left Gareth Davies hobbling for the next phase
of play. Jake Ball over the gain line. Ken Owens, and Davies trying
to run that knock off. Take the penalty again, take the points. With
the conditions, you tend to narrow in attack. The Scarlets had an
opportunity on the left-hand side but they were all very narrow in
attack. They need to keep their width defensively as well.
Gareth Davies is in a bit of pain. Evans is down as well. There is a
pretty big injury list with the teams before the games started. The
macro two key players. The last thing you want this only in the
game. He is up. Looks as if he is OK.
Dan Jones, 21 tomorrow. Celebrates with a second successful kick. What
they've done is turn the field position in to pressure into points.
As you mentioned, the conditions, though got to get the scoreboard
ticking over. Clever. Not quite. You are graded
and pick it up. The macro Gareth Davies is not happy, he is still
limping. He needed another yard, a bit more pace for Gareth Davies to
execute it properly. He has to pick it up to touch it down. He didn't do
so. I don't see him being on for long. Here we go, that's the first
one. You macro here we go, no, accidental. It is a penalty.
Nevertheless it is yellow. It's because of where he has ended
up, the initial contact is OK. As he slides up. It is a grey area, that
is. He has dipped in low to run into him. As a tackler, you're meant to
Bentaleb can get under the ball-carrier. I know it is all down
to players health and safety at a lot of it has to be common sense as
well. It is difficult for the referees. Difficult for the players
as well. You'll get more and more ball-carrier is getting low and slow
and then the tacklers have to try and do the same, which will be very
difficult to do. You could make a comeback. Gil Andre the giant next
to me. Ulster have their first points. That's a good kick.
He thought about the quick one. John Barclay pretty glad he didn't go for
it. Stockdale in what is a pretty big back line, by and large. As a
professional player, all of your training, is in the dry ground and
nice weather and you think this morning that has all gone to pot.
Berkeley on his own, the rest of the forwards involved in driving them
on. They came off the wing to help them. Scholars are finding it
difficult to get over the gain line. Good reaction for the ball spinning
away from Gareth Davies. Liam Williams and Stockdale go up
together. It's gone forward so the choice is
therefore Scarlets. You have to think about the
substitution at this early stage for Gareth Davies. He is limping. He is
such an important link and in these conditions, he's not going to be a
threat the way he is. He's got to decide whether it is worthwhile him
staying on or bring on the scrum-half off the bench. We haven't
seen Aled Davies warming up yet. The crowd could see the hand on the
floor to support Callum Black. I don't think we've had a scrum
completed yet, have we? One free kick, one penalty and that one
collapsed. The ball does get away that time in
the hands of Clive Ross. Marshall looking to give Jackson a run.
Johnny McNichol just brushing the whitewash. You'll macro may have
saved him there, the few players on him going back to his own line. He
did well to take it. That was close. Little toe. Ken Owens, how Ulster
ended up with the ball from the previous scrum. Referee saying it
was out. The majority of the game has been
played in the middle third of the field. A concerted drive by Ulster.
McCloskey got it away for Jacob Stockdale and that is far too soft
for the Scarlets. Well worked, McCloskey was always going to be the
target and he had far too much room to feed it to Jacob Stockdale. We
mentioned big McCloskey, that is very slow. That is an easy pop.
Williams and Davies, he just gets his hands free and that is far too
easy. They will be really disappointed, the ball had stopped,
he was static, it was just a few steps that Marshall has taken which
has held James Davies. That is a soft defensive work from Scarlets.
Good support play from Stockdale. The defence would have been
expecting that. Successful conversion. All lead 10-6. A nice
try but it is the build-up I am interested in. Are the Ulster
players in front of Marshall? Just there. The touch judge should spot
that. They wouldn't have had the line-out.
Those are the breaks and Ulster take them. So is the touch judge on this
site. -- Rizzo. Good kick by Marshall.
The referee just once Ulster to speed things up at line-out time.
Black making sure the instructions are for Rory Best.
Good control about this Ulster driving line-out.
They have taken the game by the scruff of the net in the scrums. The
line-outs, the mauls. Paul Marshall quite happy to go aerial. Back to
James Davies. White eight, within ten metres.
Eight White, offside. Sean Reidy.
That is a great kick. That is a super kick from Dan Jones. He went
for everything there. He warily did past. A great kick. These galas
could not have asked for better. -- the Scarlets.
Lost it. Just when the Scarlets were looking to do what Ulster did so
effectively down the other end of the field but they couldn't keep
hold of the ball. McNicoll. The Ulster defence has had a chance
to re-form. Steff Evans gets the ball in his
hands for the first time this evening. The game is 25 minutes old.
Again, they are a bit narrow, the Scarlets. If they are narrow their
defensive line is narrow and the narrower it gets the more difficult
it is to hit the hole. Hadleigh Parkes having to do a lot of
carrying but effective in getting over the gain line.
Nicely weighted to Liam Williams. Barclay is on the outside. Inside is
Hadleigh Parkes. Past the defence. Again, Ulster battling hard in the
breakdown. The Scarlets still have it. It has all slowed down. James
Davies. Again, flies out of the tackle.
McCluskey cannot gather. In the end, all the Scarlets can have is a
potted in these grim. Ulster are winning in the tackle
area. They are organising their defence. The ball is so slow coming
out they can't use it effectively. Another game is being played this
evening at Rodney Parade. Treviso are the visitors. They went ahead
earlier thanks to a try. But the Dragons heads back and notorious had
one in front of the posts. At half-time the Dragons lead 13-8.
Usually you would need a hovercraft over the water there!
Former Llanelli, Wales, Lions, Phil Bennett. He has had his say about
the Dragons and all things Welsh rugby this week.
Their scrum has been MS. -- a mess. There is no pattern or continuity to
any part of the game so far. There are too many errors. One
opportunity, they have taken it. That is the difference. Territory
and possession. The half chance the Scarlets had early on, Paddy Jackson
got back to say. But Ulster took theirs. Play in either 22 has been
at a premium. Marius Mitrea 's knees to get a grip of this. It is
difficult enough in these conditions but you need more control of the
scrum as well. I know the ground is slippery but
let's not use it as an excuse. We cannot do better. Make sure you get
the distance, keep the gap and minimum hit until the ball gets in.
Keep the bind. Time on. That scrum is completed and the
Scarlets hit the blindside. That is where the two centres were waiting.
Gareth Davies arrives. He seems to have shrugged off they knocked to
the left leg. Steff Evans has to go in as temporary scrum half a couple
of times. Jake Ball pushing back that Ulster defence. Better
clearance. They add up very quickly, Ulster.
Good speed in defence. They are arising that's Scarlets attack. Liam
Williams always looking to be near the action. Surely, that was a hand
on the floor. But Rob Evans has it anyway.
The counter wrecking has been good by Ulster. They are not
overcommitted to the ruck. It is difficult for the Scarlets to find
any space. They are very clever, their commitment in the wreck. --
ruck. It has gone forward. I'm sure the Scarlets would like a bit more
assistance from the referee at the breakdown.
It is all about pushing the barriers as far as you can. You have to be
very clever. They have numbers on their feet and Scarlets are running
into the brick walls. I think the service isn't very good
from nine. The last thing you want is a slow ball with a great line
speed that Ulster has. I don't know why they haven't made the
substitution because he is not at his best because of that injury.
The Blues visited Glasgow is S4C's game tomorrow night. Cardiff City
against Fulham in the FA Cup third round tomorrow morning. And then
highlights of the weekend's accent, read the action that is, on Scrum V
at 5:30pm on Sunday. Apologies, it is Sunday the FA Cup game is the
rather than tomorrow. The Scarlets have almost two thirds
of the possession so far in the first half.
They haven't looked like scoring, that is the problem. The defence has
been good. Ross Kane. These grams have been
struggling anyway. Has got a bad elbow that will not help matters
much. Maybe he should put some of that on
his elbow! Liam Williams left out and the ball
reaches John Barclay. The Scarlets have lots protected possession well
enough. They have had a lot of ball but they have spilled a lot of ball
as well. McNicoll is not afraid of trying to
spread it. But the pressure comes back on and Steff Evans having to
her leave the game. Ken Owens is offside. Lightning fast! He was
having a rest there. Lewis Rawlins ran straight into the elbow. But he
is up. Conditions are pretty awful as you
can see. That very scrappy period of play, the Scarlets trying to play
some rugby which best thing in these conditions. Maybe Lewis Rawlins
should have ten minutes. He missed time the tackle. Just cops one. He
is low. He had spilled the ball and tried to make up for it. He went
straight into the shoulder. Ken Owens can have his arrest now! He
needs to go off and have a cheque. I am not sure what they are trying
to do here. Ken catches it. This is the opportunity. They were all
streaming back. That is a great take. In these conditions on the
rent. Wide receiver! He wasn't behind but forces Gareth Davies into
another bypass. That is another reason why Gareth Davies has not had
the ball away because they are living on the offside line. You have
either got to take them out and make there are very referee that Alltel
directory, if you don't affiliate, we are going to take them out at the
fringes. At least you make the rest of the aware of it. Will Boyde has
come on. He is one of the form players this season. He has been
superb. Got his opportunity in Cardiff just before the autumn
internationals and has not looked back. He has been superb for the
last two months. Callum Black had to stretch for that one.
Jackson has peppered those kicks in. Dan Jones under pressure from Luke
Marshall. The Scarlets have managed to get
back and support their outside half. Gareth Davies on to take over the
kicking duties, no Number 10 him. Ulster have played these conditions
far better than Scarlets. They have tried to go through the phases. They
have turned the Scarlets and the Scarlets have tried to run it back.
But they haven't been successful. In the last ten minutes they have got
to grips with this game, Ulster. The Scarlets have to be patient and if
it is not on, turn them, forced the error in the Ulster 22. They have
got to be more clinical. Ulster equally happy with or without
possession. Jackson getting McCluskey over that
gain line. Nothing fancy. Up the guts, recycle
and go. If it isn't going, put the boot to it. And use the forwards and
then use McCluskey again. He gets the off-load to Ludik. Simple but
very effective by Ulster. Paddy Jackson is just off-loading. A loose
pass by Callum Black. Still possession for Ulster.
In these conditions there is nothing wrong with the old-fashioned and
under. But the full-back under pressure, hang it up in the air get
the chases to it. If there is nothing on, silhouette against the
Cleverley and settle for a scrum. -- check it against the referee.
Let's go back to Phil Steele. Last Saturday the premiership before they
split split tomorrow. The big games are Ebbw Vale against Crosskeys,
Cardiff against Bedwas. If Ebbw Vale win they will join the other teams,
Merthyr Tydfil, Panther that possibly than the others in the top
league. You can play in every stage in the world from the Principality,
Eden Park, everywhere, Cape Town that you haven't played Gardiffaith
in January, a haven't played anywhere. Remember to go to
Garndiffaith. That is where I made my first ever
reporting, Open Garndiffaith. Nice little inside ball to Paddy Jackson.
They are controlling possession so well, Ulster. Scarlets can't get
their hands on the ball at the moment. Louis Ludik.
Just changing the point of the tackle. Getting away from the
Scarlets defenders. Keeping that possession well.
Not making any mistakes. It is a lesson in wet weather rugby
from Ulster. Pushing the Scarlets all the way back to that far corner.
That was a lovely little kick but the chase was not there. Here they
come again, the men in white led by Iain Henderson and Trimble.
Ludik was on there. Extra man outside. A penalty. They will go for
goal. A 7-point advantage. The crowd may not like it but it is copybook
stuff from Ulster. Paddy Jackson averaging 70% with his
kicks. He has controlled the game very well
because he has had a lot of ball. He has put a lot of variety in it, the
long kick, the shortcake. -- short kick.
One conversion and one penalty to his name. Paddy Jackson prepares
with the final kick of the first half. Again, well struck, very well
struck indeed. Paddy Jackson add Ulster have had an excellent first
hour. A couple of penalties for the Scarlets but Ulster in control of
possession and the scoreboard. At half-time, 6-13. Phil Steele is with
Ken Owens. These conditions are not going to be better, it is going to
be cavemen stuff in the second half. The scrum is 50-50 at the moment but
I were line speed is good. One mistake in the back of the line-out,
we need to tidy it up. Thanks for your time. Have a good orange.
It was the Scarlets who had the first chance to cross the whitewash.
Dan Jones was beaten to the ball by Paddy Jackson, excellent cover from
the Ulster fly-half. Jose knocked over a couple of penalties to put
the Scarlets to a 6-0 lead but Paddy Jackson pegging them back. The only
try of the half came via Jacob Stockdale. Hayward will not be happy
with this. The winger waltzed through the Scarlets defence. On the
stroke of half-time, a beautifully struck kick by Paddy Jackson to put
Ulster in a lead. For much of that first have the Scarlets enjoyed the
greater share of possession but Scarlets coming back into it was the
end to have a 55% share. Elsewhere, there is that virtually the same.
Very even on the stats. Ulster committee would have to say, playing
these conditions better. They have been more streetwise today. They
have pushed the limits with the death in the breakdown. Generally
got the better of the Scarlets in the scrum. The nines and tens have
kicked better than the Scarlets halfbacks. They are very difficult
conditions. We talked about how Byron Hayward
will be tearing his head and the ease Ulster went over for the try.
Is that a defensive error? It is a line error with Liam Williams. They
should not have had the line-out. They were in front of the kicker. He
goes to shape their kick. They are too eager, the Ulster players. The
touch judge should have seen that. Look at the tail of the line. James
Davies has to watch their nine. Liam Williams now has a problem. He has
to defend both the centre and the winger. His vision is crammed. It is
a difficult place to defend but you have to jam in.
A bit harsh on James Davies, he came in too early on Marshall. He should
never help a little bit and let the play develop in front of him. He has
made the decision for Marshall. He is so big and strong, McCluskey,
have a chance and he is through. Conditions like this, you don't get
many try scoring opportunities. Ulster were clinical. One
opportunity and one try. There are not going to be any raft of tries
tonight. Dan Jones did not take his opportunity. That could have been a
brilliant start for the Scarlets. A big night for Dan Jones. Rhys
Patchell was the only Scarlets player to start every game prior to
his injury. He has got good skills, Dan Jones. His goal-kicking was
excellent. Two difficult kicks in the conditions and got the Scarlets
6-0 ahead. This is a good kick with distance. Not easy conditions
underfoot. Those things help in those conditions. I taught at the
start about the wing is coming off the ten. This was his charge down.
He lost his running strike. He got ahead of himself but Jackson showed
pace. Dan Jones is a good prospect. As we
heard, Rhys Patchell had his operation today. He needs surgery.
It is 12 weeks out. A big blow for Rhys Patchell on the Scarlets. It
took him a few weeks to get into his stride but he has been brilliant
over the last seven weeks. It is a big blow. Dan Jones is a huge talent
and just needs a run. A big game today. He will just get better. The
breakdown, the boys in commentary talked a lot about this. Ulster are
not committing any more than they need do and frustrating the
Scarlets. Second game in a row. I am
scratching my head. They just leave their hand on the board is the
second too fast. Don't roll away quick enough, put the hand on the
ball. They're leaving their hands there are second or two longer. They
have been very cute. Like Jonathan mentioned, Ken Owens, Gareth Davies
have got to be into the referee. I knew he is Italian and maybe that is
a communication issue. You've got to make him aware. If that is the other
way, the crowd would have gone crazy. Peano would've been into the
referee. The Scarlets boys need to do the same. You have got to gauge
what the recipe is doing. Is Marius Mitrea leaving Ulster to get away
with murder? No. They is pushing the baddies as far as they can to win
the game. Scarlets have to be more proactive and work out a way to get
over the line. They know how difficult it is to
attack so they just need that white line in position. You buy yourself
an extra second or two by slowing it down at the breakdown and Vanessa
Deeney is to be stronger. These claims have been MS as well. We know
the Scarlets have a much bulkier front five. Perhaps thought they
could dominate. For me, the Ulster pack have been
impressive. The line-out has been really well, the driving line-out
has some momentum. It is difficult to see who is on top with scrums,
the referee seems to think it is Ulster. They have been a superb at
set pieces and around the contact area in the first hour. Another game
going on at Rodney Parade, the Dragons hosting Treviso, desperate
for a win after their New Year's Day defeat to the Ospreys. And the
earlier defeat to the Blues. Treviso struck first, lovely footwork to
beat the defence but not long after that, his opposite number went
through the gap and went under the posts. Added a penalty for good
measure from Angus O'Brien and the second half is just begun at Rodney
Parade. Angus O'Brien has added a drop goal, so it is 16-8 at the
moment at Rodney Parade. The second half is under way there. We have the
second-half here to come. We could see Ospreys going top if they beat
Connacht tomorrow and the Blues have a difficult away trip to Glasgow. If
Danny Wilson's men want to keep the top six in their sights, a win is
vital, it won't be easy against one of Europe's form sides.
On Sunday, the capital city counterparts the Bluebirds, Cardiff
City take on Fulham in the FA Cup. And scrum V Sunday is on at the
earlier time of five 30p. We will review the weekend action and hear
how one man turned tragedy into Triumph at the Rio Paralympics. When
it actually happened, it was an amazing feeling. A bit of a change
from years ago from playing rugby able-bodied and then being in that
final and playing in a wheelchair. A cracking interview, June in on
Sunday at 5:30pm. As we mentioned, a big game for the Cardiff Blues
coming up tomorrow evening in Glasgow. This is the team Danny
Wilson has picked, two changes from the side that lost to Scarlets.
Blaine Scully returning on the wing. We talked about this being a crucial
game, that is a really critical game for the Blues, in seventh at the
moment, Sam Warburton has Origi said if they don't win in Glasgow they
can kiss goodbye to their top six hopes. You can see the table is
already splitting into two. If the Blues lose that game, they are in a
desperate situation, top six in the Champions Cup next year which will
be a huge disappointment. Seeing how they started the season and the
names they had in the squad, I thought they would mail the top six.
A huge game against Glasgow and they are a brilliant team, they have so
much strength in depth. They need some extra resolve. It will probably
need to be the performance of the season to get a win at Glasgow. You
know Danny Wilson well, he is a perfectionist, how big and ask is it
to go up to Glasgow, who have just beaten Racing Metro back-to-back in
Europe. Root they have one eye on Europe and Glasgow are quite shaky
at the moment, if there's a time to beat them, it is now. The Blues are
paying for recent home form. They have some big-game players but they
need them, it is a big game for Glasgow as well. Particularly if
Ulster get over the line tonight. That top six is looking into reading
at the moment. Back to tonight's game will stop the about to return
to return to the playing field. Alan Davies will be replacing Gareth
Davies at the start of this half, 13-6, Scarlets still in it.
Opportunities to score are few and far between, what do they need to
change to get the lead back? You'll macro when they attack. They have to
score first, if you go two scores behind in these conditions, it is
more or less came over, they need a big start to the second-half.
Scarlets don't need the victory as desperate as Ulster do but it would
be a massive bonus if they did. Home form is in the Pro12. Boyd coming
onto the field will be a big asset but they need Jonathan Davies to
come in. Alan Davies will bring a spark but can we see more from
McNicoll and Liam Williams? That will be crucial even in these
treacherous conditions. The rain continues to fall here, it hasn't
stopped since about 3pm this afternoon. Conditions not getting
any better, can be Scarlets improve their performance in the second
half? COMMENTATOR: Thank you. Changes for the Scarlets but not for
ulcer. Aled Davies has replaced Gareth Davies and Will Boyde is on,
whether it is temporary or for keeps, we will find out. Not try to
force the game, play the conditions, make the referee referee the right
areas. Get your foot on it, take it to the fringes if you have do but
tell the referee he has to referee Ed. If there is nothing happening
and they are not getting success on the gain line, just turn them and
put them under pressure in their own 22. A converted try is the
difference between the two teams. The try scored by Jacob Stockdale.
Converted by Paddy Jackson. Aled Davies gets down on the ball, his
100th appearance for the Scarlets this evening. He was held up there.
A difficult job getting off the ground from a tackle. Henderson.
A handling error, scholars have made eight handling errors to Ulster's
three. Conditions like that, it is a crucial stat. Why they haven't
peppered the full-back, he has played a lot on the wing, I don't
care who you are, it will be difficult to take. Swirling wind,
rain, a slippery ball. Steph Evans is a converted full-back and Liam
Williams is also a full-back initially. But it is Johnny McNicoll
wearing 15 this evening. Scarlets are not going to score from long
distance I think so they need to play the territorial game.
Rory Best may be looking for another penalty. First time up again,
McCloskey. Six feet two, 16 and a half stone of
him. West set it up on the ten metre
line. A little tester but he claims it this time. Not the best kick from
Paddy Jackson but not going anywhere. Just put the pressure on
the Scarlets. They can take the ball, kick to touch now and they
will get the line-out. He had a long way to go. Very good season for
Steph Evans, five tries in the league. He must be on the way for
the Six Nations. He is playing exceptionally well. He is creating
stuff and scoring tries, he is an effective runner.
Trimble and Steph Evans go up together. Chris Henry gets it back,
this is dangerous. You let macro I thought there was a knock-on their
butt play on. Trimble. Spilled by Rory Best. His headgear has been on
and off all evening. Jake Ball as the Scarlets look to get out to
their own 22. Good work by the Ulster players. They eventually do
go back for the knock-on. I think this is what they are complaining
about, he gets up, Steph Evans. Does look like a knock-on really. He lost
the ball. Ulster, when they have the ball, they seem a bit more
controlled and their line-out is going. They have got the driving
line-out going well and they are kicking well. When the Scarlets have
the ball, not so much. Aled Davies to John Davies. Left
foot again with plenty of distance on it. Ludik returns.
Job was done in the end by Clive Ross. Plenty of time for Dan Jones.
I then think the Scarlets timing much for touch, are they, just
distance. The kicking game is a lot better from the Ulster players
unfortunately. Right on cue. Unexpected but the Scarlets will
take it. Some news about the injury on Gareth Davies. Gareth Davies has
taken a blow on the shin as was thought and the medical staff say he
shouldn't be out for too long, which is good news with Europe coming up,
the temping Scott and for Wales. Shouldn't be too bad. McBride and
Rob Howley keeping a close eye on this one for their selection for
Wales, as they will fall of the games between now and the Six
Nations announcement. I don't think you'll earn too much about players
from this one to be honest with you. Too strong from John Davies. They
need to put on some pressure. It is comfortable at the moment, they need
a change of tactics. Apply a better kicking game. Do not try and run the
ball too much actually. McCloskey straight up the middle
again. Ten carries from McCloskey. Not great yardage but keeping them
going forward. Held. That is good play. Holding on.
This is the first opportunity in the second half, a quick kick and then
good field position to start in attack from.
Dragons extending their lead, a couple of penalties in the second
half of them. First you've got to get field position but then they
lose the line-out. Ludik first to react. Will Davies find a way? Aled
Davies. Dan Jones. Steph Evans had to take it from a standing start.
Goes backwards, so untidy. Scarlets not playing the simple game
like Ulster have been doing. Liam Williams giving chase. Not enough
room on the far side. I would like to see that again, I think Aled
Davies had a split-second to get out wide on the turnover. He chose to go
himself but they have numbers on the left. It is a great tackle. Lovely
pass. Too narrow an angle. Parks was calling for it. It is a wide angle.
Change in the Ulster front row, Andy Warwick comes on to replace Callum
Black. James Davies going forward for the
Scarlets. This looks more promising, a bit more pace from the Scarlets.
It has come up a bit too quickly from the Ulster defenders.
James Davies striving to keep the ball alive. They will go back to the
offside call. They have been right on the edge all might Ulster. The
offside line and on that time creeping little too early, one step.
Great decision. There are opportunities, watch here
nor, as you watch it, stop it there. Just keep an eye on this guy, he's
going to come up to the line first of all. The runner is on. Look at
that, stop it there, look at the overlap. Such an overlap, four
players there. There are opportunities, he sucks him in and
gives the pass and it would have been three on one. The condition is
there to attack, you have to scan and play what is in front of you.
Too often they have gone for the cut out pass and that was a perfect
example of short, sharp passing. They first opportunity for points in
the second half. Taken by Dan Jones. The deficit is back to four.
His first appearance of the season. And interesting substitution.
Marshall has done well tonight. Another poor kick from Scarlets.
They rushed it again. Take it in. Recycled the ball but that is a
rushed kick again. You've just got to take that, recycle it and give it
to the stand-off and welly it down the field.
Shanahan to McCloskey. It was good work by James Davies, McCloskey had
a lot of time to get that back. Great off-load from Marshall to
Ludik. Danger signs for the Scarlets. Up comes John Barclay.
Great steel. The Davies Brothers between them couldn't get it away.
Great steel by John Barclay under extreme pressure.
That is a great tackle, stripped the ball. After a couple of off-loads,
just put the Scarlets defence under pressure. James Davies gets
attention. I have two Scarlets legends, George, give us a wave in
your Swansea City top. A big Scarlets van. The second man to
achieve 100 appearances for the Scarlets and 34 caps for Wales. You
would have enjoyed this tonight? Yes, I would have, probably with
this weather. It is a bit of an arm wrestle with the backs and forwards.
No side is dominating the game at the moment. You just feel the
players are not doing their own thing at the moment. You need a bit
of kick and go or somebody needs to assert authority in the game. What
would you be saying right now? I would go pick and go. Go through the
middle bit, take the on and create a bit of space for some big backs to
get over the gain line. It is all about the gain line momentum. The
scholars have a penalty but it is in their 22 at the moment. Your
coaching now, with him? And under ten team, my young nephew place for
them. It's not all forward oriented but it is a good way to learn the
game. We are down in Larne on Sunday and then Sinclair. Nice to see you.
Got a hand on that one but Ludik was well up in support. Jacob Stockdale.
He's got to pick his spot behind the Ulster defence. That's the
counterattack from Paddy Jackson. Hasn't found touch. A mistake. Will
they have a go? The supporters felt the pass was forward from the
full-back. Henderson charged down. Liam Williams with a few wild ones
tonight. The effect of charging that one down
for Ian Henderson. As they prepared to make more changes. I think he
caught his ribs. As soon as he charged it down, you can see him
holding his side. Very unfortunate if he has cracked or broken rib with
the ball. The game at Rodney Parade is reaching its conclusion. And the
Dragons are pretty much home and dry, skipper Lewis Evans has gone
over, a third try for them. Can they squeeze another one into get a bonus
point in the remaining two minutes? Johnny Simpson, made his debut
against Leinster on New Year's Eve at the tight head for Ross Kane.
That will knock the wind out of you. Claimed by James Davies. American
football style over the top. Landed outside the 22, forcing Ludik
to play it. Well taken by McNicol. Henderson not
releasing from the tackle. Kick it. Is this in range for Dan Jones? The
corner is the decision. Bill-macro I don't understand that. He was
obviously not confident. They really struggled, the Scarlets. They have
failed to get their driving line-out going. A big line-out for Ken Owens.
Crucial line-out in attacking positions have let Scarlets down as
the game goes into its final quarter, they need to be correct.
They are initially. Looking for the drive on, I wince seeing how close
the try line is, in go the backs as well to join in. A dozen Scarlets
players in there. Aled Davies gets it loose, comes to the blindside and
Aled Davies hasn't got the ball to ground, Sean Reidy with the
all-important tackle saves the day for Ulster. That's a brilliant
tackle. Nearly a great decision to go for the touch and nearly scored a
try but I thought he was in here. He goes for glory. That's got to be
looked at. Is that a high tackle, is it a penalty try, yellow card?
It is the two Italians to make the call. You have got to see that from
behind. Let's have a look. How high was that? Did it prevent the tried?
That is the question being asked. Aled Davies has gone in at a low
angle. It is the left arm of Trimble. That is the one more than
Reidy. You can't see it. It is the other angle. It is very difficult.
How was Reidy not going to stop this? Just watch number eight first.
That is a good tackle. He is going global. I tell you what,...
And of the rules, that has got to be a penalty.
He has penalised Reidy. They have called Sean Reidy's high and that
has prevented a possible try. That is going to be a yellow card. This
is not the last you are going to see this. The new directive about high
tackles, I thought it was Trimble's that is high. But the thought Sean
Reidy's try -- arm was high. It is a yellow card and that is a big break
for Scarlets. After getting on the wrong side of the crowd all evening,
at last Marius Mitrea has done something right. That is a tough
call. The issue with the new rule is that if Reidy goes lower than that
it is impossible to stop him scoring a try. That was so is harsh. But it
is the new rules. Tell me, what is the number eight supposed to do? He
can't: oh. He has got his shoulder. Common sense again. If he thinks it
is high I would say it is accidental, it is a penalty. You
can't give a yellow card, you can't give a penalty try because that is
nothing else that number aids could have them. You are going to stop
tackling near the try line. I know safety is paramount to be too good
to have a little bit of common sense. That you have got to have.
That is such a harsh call but Scarlets will take it though.
The player was going low as well. He was diving for the try line.
I think he is going after Jake Ball for a high tackle now. We're going
to be here all day! Can here look at it in real-time.
They slow things down and it always looks a lot worse. They are going to
have to bring shorts with pockets back because that is where players
will have to keep their hands from now on. I love the supporters behind
me. Two minutes ago it was, send him off! Now, there is nothing wrong
with its! It is dependent on which side you are supporting. Was that
any worse than Reidy's? That is never a yellow card.
In fairness the 60 minute it hasn't been an issue. Where are we going?
Where'er we going? I don't see how they can be yellow
cards, I don't. It is going to spoil the game now.
Absolutely. None of them were yellow cards. Crazy times.
It has brought the crowd to life anyway.
What adjustments to the Scarlets do now? Lewis Rawlins, who would have
been natural for the second row, he is off anyway. Hadleigh Parkes will
go on the flank. Dan Jones looking to get the
Scarlets back downfield. Back in. It was merely an outstanding kick. Just
went over the touchline, unlucky for Dan Jones.
With all that is going on I can't believe the Scarlets in front.
19-8 the corresponding fixture at the Kingston Stadium finished. --
king span. Scarlets looking to stay in the top four. Ulster as fixed at
the moment and looking to stay in that place and getting into the
play-off position. Rory Best comes away with it. Shanahan.
McCluskey offering himself again. The Scarlets are aware of the danger
he poses. Marshall is next in line as they get nearer the Scarlets try
line. Working it wide initially through Henderson. Good gains on
every occasion by them. Again, they are getting nearer that try line.
Disciplined stuff by Ulster. They have rolled up their sleeves up.
McCluskey just two metres short. Brown is ready. He gets it.
Henderson and up comes the Scarlets defence led by Tom Price. But they
have got the ball away from the defenders. They are inching forward.
Players like Rory Best and Henderson. They are holding onto
possession so well. Trimble is holding his but that is a massive
gap between him and Marshall in Centre. That is turned over
possession. Have the Scarlets got the courage of their convictions as
Mac only as far as Jonathan Davies's effort. Trimble dropped back
immediately once the ball was lost. Shanahan to Rory Best, involved as
heavily as usual. Ian Henderson has put a shift in as
well. They are dragged away from it. Stockdale, seems a long time since
he got over for the early try. Such hard work to make any yardage. From
both sides. Just a question of keeping possession and not making a
mistake. Jackson goes for the gap but the pass wasn't accurate enough.
Rob Evans to Dan Jones. That turns again and back goes Ludik. Ulster
are backing their half for the first time in a minutes. That is up poor
kick. He got away with it. They will settle for that and a breather.
Ken Owens did a match saving tackle. He caught Paddy Jackson by the
shirt. That'll be his last contribution as a Ryan Elias and Wyn
Jones come on. This is the break. He just steps inside, a lovely break.
Great tackle. A forward pass there. That is a desperate tackle by Ken
Owens. That is what you have to do. You have to look up, see who is in
front of you and take it on. He has given everything has Ken Owens. A
dozen minutes to go. A charge down into the hands of Marshall.
Luke Marshall saves the day. The second line of defence for Ulster
and they needed him. Simpson with Icardi. -- the caddie.
Taken safely bet lost by Liam Williams.
What is interesting and charged us, what this. As Paddy Jackson goes if
you know he is going to kick you have always got a chance because the
right leg is always near the guy who is charging down. If I knew he was
going to kick it that way but the gas on and get to him. If he is
kicking the overweight he has the left shoulder and the left hip to
get away from the kick. It is a common start. George North
does it a lot. If you kick across your body... You could see the
pressure they put on. Jonathan Davies is a left footer.
The Dragons have beaten Treviso. The ball shot out the side of the
scrum. Ulster started their season with
five wins on the bounce but they lost the next three. Scarlets did it
the other way around. They lost their first three but then had a
winning run of seven. McCluskey back to Jackson.
Goes for the space that is covered by Aled Davies. He's got plenty of
green grass on the far side. The ball spins and Dan Jones sees what
is up. The game is opening up in the final
ten minutes despite the constant heavy drizzle. The referee is still
loath to give penalties in the tackle area.
Elias carries well. Timing the run well. James Davies
steps off that right foot. Keep it simple, keep it in hand.
Elias again. The crowd urging the Scarlets on. Liam Williams writes
the charge of Trimble. Eventually they have lost it. Good
play. All that builder and they come away
with nothing. It is better for the Scarlets, more dynamism and got over
the gain line. Anniversaries in the game was
breaking up, they were both down to 14 men. Back-up to 15. -- another
reason. The familiar features of Tommy Bowe, the leading try scorer
in the league's yesterday. Steff Hughes has come on for Liam
Williams. Steff Hughes, straight on that far wing.
Liam Williams is not happy being pulled. -- off.
Time is against Ulster. They are back in their own 22.
Simpson flat on the floor. Jackson gets the ball away and the Scarlets
will see that out of play. It will take up a bit more time for them.
The Scarlets need to kill the game now.
Steff Evans following Davis's kick. It is James Davies. Trimble, very
brave and that the high ball. They will have to use possession wisely
now, Ulster, with only five minutes remaining. Shanahan seeing if he can
get in the stake from Scarlets. They have held them up again. The
right corner now. Over Marshall's had full stop Elias has carried
strongly in the five minutes he has been on the field.
Still on a knife edge. They have been two draws between the two teams
in Llanelli. McNichol was nowhere near that one. Picked up and taken
over the touchline by Steff Evans. The Scarlets have up their game in
the second half, in the final quarter in particular. Different
change of tactics. They have won the aerial battle. They have changed
their game in the second half. The main talking points was that yellow
card, the decision was brave to go for the touchline and they got the
penalty try. That seemed to spark them to live. They have got to try
and hang on in because Ulster are going to throw everything at them.
Scarlets trying to keep Ulster's ball-carriers on their feet but they
have gone to ground. It has been a busy evening of
dealing with high balls from the back three.
The scrum halves have put in so many kicks this evening, totally
understandable under the conditions. They don't want to do that,
Scarlets. They need to keep it tight and they have given possession away.
Marshall tries to pin them back. The Scarlets now will be living on their
nerves. I can't believe he has looked
uncertain under the high ball. You would have peppered the full-back
under the conditions. That loose pass cost the Scarlets.
They have got to do the line-out and clear it.
The loss against the Ospreys, the only one in nine for the Scarlets.
Just one win, two wins, Sally, for Ulster. Aled Davies. He puts it
safely out of play. That was a good kick.
He has made a difference since coming on, Aled Davies. You could
see Gareth Davies was injured. Ulster on 32 points, Scarlets on 36
before this evening. But Ulster have played one game less. Price wins the
Ulster feral but they have lost it again.
It is like a bad of soap. Hang on. Who knocked on their? Now
then, a scrum for Ulster. I would like to see the incident actually. I
thought is less back from the line-out.
I thought so too. There is the tap back. Let's have a look. It is
difficult to see from that angle because the assistant referee has
got to see from the other side. He has judged it to knock it on. This
is it, do or die to see if the Scarlets can hang on. Can they have
win number nine? A penalty would draw Ulster level and a tribe would
sneak it for them. They have not had any point in the second half,
Ulster. They have dropped the ball. The Scarlets looked to have done
just enough as Ludik keeps it alive. Trimble, the captain, trying to
conjure something. Reidy is back on the field after ten minutes. He
should not have been in the sin bin, but neither should Jake Ball.
Masoe looks for the quick pass but it is over the far side. --
Marshall. The Scarlets have hung on. It might have been a controversial
decision but the home crowd are delighted. A hard fought effectively
for the Scarlets. Victor Li number nine in a close game. They did just
enough to sneak home by 16-13. I thought Ulster word in control of
the game and that's one decision cost Ulster the game, I felt. I felt
it was a brave call. I am not sure it was the right call by the
referee. But they've got the result and it is a hard fought game. The
Scarlets will take that result. It keeps them open air but Ulster will
be disappointed because they dominated most of the game, their
kicking game was better. The addition of Aled Davies and their
kicking game was better in the second half.
They will be delighted. All of Ulster's points came in the first
half. The new laws regarding high tackles worked for the Scarlets in
the end and went Aled Davies try to speak over, Sean Reidy was not just
penalised and yellow carded. The penalty try was the difference in
the end. Dan Jones converted that add three penalties from him and
that was just enough for the Scarlets because they kept a clean
sheet in the second half and wait as Ulster were in control of the first
half, Scarlets had enough control to see it home in the end and that by a
margin of 16-13. What a pity victor that was for the
Scarlets. Just the two tries, one in each half. Stop them going over for
all stay in the first-half and this by Aled Davies. He was not awarded
the try. Sean Reidy was yellow carded for the high tackle. A
controversial decision and we saw another yellow card within moments,
Jake Ball seeing yellow as well. Did not matter, Scarlets clung on for
the victory. Man of the match is with Phil Steele. You are the man of
the match. Well done. How hard was that.
It was nonstop. It was very pretty. It was like schoolboy rugby. And
chase the ball. It was hard to hold onto. We did awesome to come back.
If you get behind it is hard to claw your way back. I have to ask you
about the two yellow cards, do you have some sympathy with the boys who
got the yellow? Yes. It isn't for me to say, it is one we knew they had
changed the rule. They were pretty harsh. Still in the top four, well
done. The results we saw the Dragons won.
Babies Dragons. We haven't got a great deal of time
left. I guess the talking points were that yellow card. How fortunate
with the Scarlets to get the Windows Mac they got the field position and
the try. Unfortunately, it isn't what we want is even stop both
yellow cards were harsh. We will talk about "A much more detail but a
win is a win. -- the yellow cards. They will be happy with that. A
great victory for the Scarlets, a revenge for the defeat in September.
They are still forth and be in contention for those end of season
play-offs. We will see you on Sunday at 5:30pm for Scrum V.
Ross Harries presents coverage of Scarlets v Ulster from the Parc y Scarlets.