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Dublin: 10°C Wednesday 14 April 2021
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Ulster's Champions Cup hopes are all but over after a disappointing defeat in Wales

They had their chances, but ultimately Ulster’s sloppiness cost them.

Image: Presseye/Darren Kidd/INPHO

Scarlets 22-13 Ulster

ULSTER’S INTEREST IN the inaugural Champions Cup likely ended tonight as they they didn’t even pick up a losing bonus point in losing away to the Scarlets.

They probably needed a bonus point win to have any realistic chance of getting out of the group and despite an excellent second half try, they were beaten 22-13.

Four Rhys Priestland penalties had the Scarlets in control after the first 40, and Ulster will be furious that they squandered the few chances they had.

It was a sloppy opening ten minutes with both sides conceding penalties in the opposition 22 when on the attack. The Scarlets then took the lead with a Rhys Priestland penalty.

A few minutes later Ulster had a good platform to launch their attack with a scrum ten yards from the Scarlets line, but referee JP Doyle penalised the visitors.

The first break of the game went to the home side, after Scott Williams burst through the Ulster defence and he was able to find his centre partner Regan King but the New Zealander then threw a poor pass towards Priestland.

However, Ulster were penalised at the resulting ruck and Priestland extended the Scarlets lead. The home side kept the pressure on Ulster and the Welsh ten kicked his third penalty of the game on the half hour mark to give his team a healthy lead.

Ulster tried to play the ball out of their own territory thereafter, but Scarlets forced yet another penalty and Priestland was successful once again.

Ulster started the second half brightly, and finally got on the scoreboard through a very well worked try. Darren Cave and Luke Marshall exchanged passes in midfield that fooled the Scarlets defence and allowed Cave to touch down under the posts.

Ulster had chances to score again but conceded a penalty for obstruction when mauling towards the Scarlets line and Ian Humphreys also missed a penalty.

Priestland restored the home side’s two score advantage with another penalty before Declan Fitzpatrick was sent to the bin after conceding a succession of scrum penalties.

Despite being down to 14 men, Ulster outscored the Scarlets 6-0 during the ten minute period as two Ruan Pienaar penalties narrowed the gap to just two points with less than ten minutes remaining.

After the Scarlets collapsed an Ulster maul, Pienaar had a chance to put the visitors ahead with less than five minutes to play but his kick drifted wide.

With two minutes to go, the South African scrum-half threw an interception pass to James Davies that was run in for the clinching try, which condemned Ulster to a defeat that likely ends their qualification chances.

As it happened: Clermont vs Munster, Champions Cup

Keatley grabs last-gasp losing bonus point in Clermont to keep Munster alive

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