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Strong Scarlets snuff out Ulster threat

Monday 9th October 2006

12:00 am (GMT)

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- 09/10/2006 10:18

- 09/10/2006 10:18

Llanelli Scarlets and Ulster Rugby both recorded impressive wins in Round 1, and now face each other at Stradey Park for the right to top the Pool before the tournament breaks for the Autumn internationals.

The Scarlets got the better of London Irish 32-25 and Ulster Rugby demolished three-times Heineken Cup champions Toulouse 30-3.

That Ravenhill display will have opened the eyes of many who thought the Magners League champions might find it tough against the French giants.

And Scarlets coach Phil Davies would have been taking notes as Ulster’s back line tore holes in the Toulouse defence.

His side held on for the victory over Irish, but conceded three late tries in a frantic last quarter, and he has made two changes to his starting line-up for their vital clash.

In comes Barry Davies to replace the impressive Ceiron Thomas at full-back while Deacon Manu plays at tighthead in place of Craig Dunlea.. Ceiron Thomas moves to the bench, and Darren Daniel slips out of the match 22.

“We know Ulster will be a stiff challenge,” admitted Davies. “They are a quality side and have a core of players who bring experience in key areas. They had a fantastic result last week when they beat Toulouse, so it should be a cracking game at Stradey Park on Friday.”

Ulster coach Mark McCall has announced his starting line up and it shows only one change from the starting line up that beat Toulouse on Saturday. It is the inclusion of Andrew Maxwell on the wing following the injury of Tommy Bowe.

Bowe left the field after 24 minutes on Saturday with a recurrence of a hamstring injury and now looks likely to be out of rugby action for between 4 and 6 weeks, also missing the Autunm International series. Scott Young has been included in the replacements bench.


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Strong Scarlets snuff out Ulster threat

Monday 9th October 2006

12:00 am (GMT)

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- 09/10/2006 10:18

- 09/10/2006 10:18

The Scarlets clung on to make it two out of two, and nine points out of a possible ten, to lead the way in Pool 5.

The home side got off to a flying start and scored their first try within three minutes after Regan King had regathered his own charge down on opposite number Paul Steinmetz’ kick ahead.

That opportunist try was almost followed by another eight minutes later when Wales wing Mark Jones took an inside pass from namesake Stephen.

Jones managed to cross the line but lost the ball in the tackle, and referee Tony Spreadbury awarded an Ulster scrum instead of a try, after consulting with the video ref.

Stephen Jones increased the Scarlets’ lead with a 27th minute penalty, but two penalties in the space of two minutes from the ever accurate David Humphries cut the deficit to two points before Jones sent his side into the interval 11-6 ahead with a penalty from the last kick of the half.

Having started the first half so badly, Ulster were the dominant force in the opening exchanges in the second half. Humphrys kicked his third penalty and the visitors looked ready to cause an upset.

The Scarlets conjured up a second try for wing Mark Jones that went through nine phases and 26 pairs of hands before he crossed the line.
Stephen Jones’ touchline conversion looked to have put some distance between the two teams, but Ulster refused to give up and two more Humphries penalties got them back to within three points after 64 minutes.

Another Jones penalty gave the Scarlets some breathing space, but Ulster could have grabbed a try to win the game from a driving maul. They got up to the line, and looked set for the try, but Isaac Boss bumped into man of the match Neil Best, the ball went loose, and Gavin Thomas gleefully scooped it up to allow the home side to clear.

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