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Dublin: 4°C Monday 19 April 2021

Paddy Jackson in control as Ulster make it 3 wins from 3

Louis Ludik and Iain Henderson scored the tries against the Scarlets.

Image: Presseye/Darren Kidd/INPHO

Ulster 19

Scarlets 8

Adam McKendry reports from Kingspan Stadium

THEY WERE MADE to fight for it, but Ulster made it three wins from three in the Guinness PRO12 with a 19-8 win over the Scarlets at the Kingspan Stadium.

Returning fly-half Paddy Jackson pulled the strings with Louis Ludik and Iain Henderson scoring the tries, while a late Will Boyde try for the Scarlets threatened to make for an interesting finish.

Ulster were let off early when Rhys Patchell mishit a penalty from straight in front of the posts and Jackson made him pay by landing his first kick of the night in the ninth minute, and then adding a second penalty before they notched their first try of the game.

Having fielded a clearing kick, Stuart Olding broke a flailing tackle before setting away centre partner Stuart McCloskey, who in turn set away Louis Ludik for the unconverted score.

Ulster were nearly in again a few minutes later when a wonderfully executed strike move set Craig Gilroy away down the wing, but the winger was guilty of not cutting inside and was easily caught and forced into touch.

The visitors attempted to strike back and Gareth Davies was held up under the posts, but the Scarlets’ weaker scrum and discipline was letting them down, their repeated offences leading to a yellow card for Jake Ball four minutes before the break.

But Ulster were unable to capitalise as first Charles Piutau passed marginally ahead of Louis Ludik when he was certain to be in to score, and then Ludik himself failed to gather a pass out wide that would have given the home side a two-on-one.

And with Ball back on the pitch for less than a minute, the Scarlets opened their account with a Patchell penalty in the 47th minute.

Ulster then thought they had their second try of the night when Craig Gilroy soared highest and took a high ball from Pienaar, only for a combined effort from John Barclay and Gareth Davies enough to hold the winger up over the line.

With Ulster unable to capitalise on their chance, it looked like the Scarlets would make them pay when they cut through, however an exceptional interception by Charles Piutau saved a certain try.

Not only that but the Kiwi full-back managed to set Craig Gilroy away and the winger looked like he was illegally checked by Liam Williams as he kicked through, a claim that was rejected by the TMO.

However, there was a more pressing concern for the Ulstermen who lost centre Luke Marshall to concussion, another one in a long list, but they did extend their lead to 11 with just 10 minutes to go when Jackson slotted his third penalty.

The Scarlets looked to make it interesting with an unconverted score from Will Boyde five minutes from time, but Ulster were not to relinquish control on the game as Iain Henderson powered through a maul in the final minute for the game-winning score.

Ulster scorers:

Tries: Louis Ludik, Iain Henderson

Penalties: Paddy Jackson (3 from 3)

Scarlets scorers:

Try: Will Boyde

Penalty: Rhys Patchell (1 from 2)

ULSTER: Charles Piutau, Craig Gilroy, Stuart Olding (Luke Marshall 63′ (Angus Lloyd 67′)) Stuart McCloskey (Rob Lyttle 66′), Louis Ludik, Paddy Jackson, Ruan Pienaar; Callum Black (Andrew Warwick 63′), Rob Herring (captain), Rodney Ah You (Ross Kane 52′), Peter Browne (Franco van der Merwe 55′), Alan O’Connor, Clive Ross (Iain Henderson 40′), Sean Reidy, Robbie Diack.

Replacement not used: John Andrew.

SCARLETS: Aled Thomas (Scott Williams 53′), Liam Williams, Jonathan Davies, Hadleigh Parkes, Steffan Evans, Rhys Patchell, Gareth Davies (Aled Davies 56′); Wyn Jones (Luke Garrett 67′), Ken Owens (captain) (Ryan Elias 78′), Werner Kruger (Peter Edwards 50′), Jake Ball (yellow card 36′) David Bulbring, Lewis Rawlins, James Davies, John Barclay (Will Boyde 63′)

Replacements not used: Tadhg Beirne, Steffan Hughes.

Referee: Ben Whitehouse (WRU).

Attendance: 14,000.

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