Dan McFarland made a winning start to the Guinness PRO14 thanks to 79th minute penalty from John Cooney which secured the victory for Ulster.

Scarlets drew first blood however as Rhys Patchell found space down the blindside to score a try. Patchell converted his own try giving the away side a 7-0 lead. Ulster did well to restrict the Scarlets to minimum line breaks in the first half and this was a factor in the majority of the game which saw Ulster control 59% of possession and 59% of territory.

Two penalties brought Ulster to within a point and while they looked on the ball thanks to their offloading game, they couldn’t find the decisive pass to cross the line. The away side looked off the pace in the first half and gave away a few penalties in dangerous situations.

Ulster were sharp attacking down the left wing with Henry Speight having the better of his opposition. On two occasions he found himself in try scoring situations: on one occasion a Scarlets player got in between Billy Burns and Speight and then Will Addison couldn’t control an offload from the Australian winger.

Scarlets made a better start to the second half than they finished the first. Rhys Patchell was afforded space and made two linebreaks before putting Ken Owens through the gap. The Lions’ hooker would have scored but for a terrific last man tackle from Nick Timoney.

John Cooney and Dan Jones traded penalties before Ulster found another gear but two poor passes from Cooney stunted Ulster’s momentum after a break from McCloskey. Scarlets’ Ed Kennedy was sent to the sin bin with 67 minutes on the clock because of a high tackle.

After a penalty miss on 74 minutes, Cooney stepped up and gave Ulster the win after he was taken out off the ball by David Bulbring.

A good first performance from Ulster gets the win but there is still plenty of work to be done. It was good to see Ulster offload the ball as they looked a lot more dangerous and similarly attack Scarlets at their lineout but Ulster need to make sure that they punish the opposition when they make a decisive linebreak.

Photo credit – Ian Humes Photography

6.8 Awesome

Nick Timoney put in another solid performance and has certainly done enought to secure the eight jersey for next week.
Henry Speight's direct running caused trouble for the Scarlets and could have easily scored a couple of tries.
Will Addison particularly impressed from fullback and was intelligent in both attack and defence.
The Scarlets couldn't deal Iain Henderson in the lineout with the Ireland international causing the Scarlets to lose two lineouts.
Darren Cave put in another reliable performance while Angus Kernohan was bright in the time he was on the pitch, making two breaks and beating four Scarlets players.

  • Andy Warwick 7
  • John Andrew 6
  • Tom O'Toole 6
  • Alan O'Connor 6
  • Iain Henderson 8
  • Marcell Coetzee 6
  • Sean Reidy 7
  • Nick Timoney 8
  • John Cooney 6
  • Billy Burns 7
  • Henry Speight 8
  • Stuart McCloskey 7
  • Darren Cave 7
  • Craig Gilroy 6
  • Will Addison 7
  • Adam McBurney 7
  • Eric O'Sullivan 6
  • Ross Kane 7
  • Kieran Treadwell 6
  • Chris Henry 6
  • Dave Shanahan N/A
  • Angus Curtis N/A
  • Angus Kernohan 8
  • User Ratings (0 Votes) 0