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Result: Llanelli 12 Ulster 12

Result: Llanelli 12 Ulster 12

Ulster missed out on a chance to win the Celtic League title at Stradey Park on Friday night as they shared out four tries with the Scarlets.

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…Andrew Maxwell slides in for Ulster’s second try…

Ulster missed out on a chance to win the Celtic League title at Stradey Park on Friday night as they shared out four tries with the Scarlets.

CELTIC LEAGUE: Friday, May 19

LLANELLI SCARLETS 12 ULSTER 12, Stradey Park (Att: 6,425)

Scorers: Llanelli: Tries: Phil John 2; Con: Craig Evans

Ulster: Try: Tommy Bowe, Andrew Maxwell; Con: David Humphreys

Full-Time – SCARLETS 12 ULSTER 12 – The game ends and Ulster still need something from their trip to the Ospreys next weekend to secure their first Celtic League title. Ulster gain two points for the draw – the first stalemate of this year’s League – so they lead Leinster at the top of the League table by two points – 71 to 69.

80+5 mins – Both Andrew Trimble and Tommy Bowe produce some lightning breaks late in injury-time, but the moves come to nothing. Bowe’s romp up the right flank preceeded the game’s final action as David Humphreys was again wayward with a drop goal shot.

80+2 mins – The Scarlets line up another catch-and-drive attack off a Chris Wyatt lineout take, but they lose the ball forward.

79 mins – David Humphreys lines up another drop goal shot but he snatches at it and it squirms away to the left. Scarlets’ two-try hero Phil John is confirmed as the man of the match.

76 mins – David Humphreys tries a drop goal from distance but his effort strikes the post, just under the crossbar.

70 mins – Ulster are ruled offside off the side of a ruck and despite having a central kick, 35 metres out, Craig Evans is wayward with his penalty attempt.

66 mins – The Scarlets look to have been denied a certain try. Referee Hannah falls over at a vital stage as the hosts’ pack plunges over the try line. Chris Wyatt began the move with a lineout catch and drive, but neither referee or touch judge could pinpoint the grounding for the try.

63 mins – David Humphreys has his first shot at the posts but he pushes a 35-metre penalty to the left and wide. Humphreys compounds the miss by knocking on when collecting the restart kick.

56 mins – Some excellent work by Andrew Trimble almost sees Andrew Maxwell in for his second try. Trimble and Bowe combine before Maxwell loses possession just short of the line – a mass brawl breaks out with Trimble and Matthew Watkins scrapping on the deck. Neil Best and Chris Wyatt are in the thick of it but referee Graeme Hannah does not signal anyone out. Instead, Ulster are penalised for coming in late at a ruck.

47 mins – Try for Llanelli! The smile on Gareth Jenkins’ face says it all as the Scarlets net a stunning equaliser. The Scarlets pack produce a breath-taking lineout maul from all of halfway to gift Phil John a memorable second try. Inoke Afeaki took the lineout and the Welsh pack dug their heels to roll up to the Ulster 22 and then turn the screw as the Ulster eight were badly out-muscled. SCARLETS 10 ULSTER 12. Craig Evans converts. SCARLETS 12 ULSTER 12.

43 mins – Neil McMillan comes on for young flanker Stephen Ferris who damaged his right ankle when being tackled by Scarlets number eight Jonathan Mills. Not an ideal start to the second half for Ulster, whose full back Bryn Cunningham is in outstanding form under the high ball, especially given the poor handling conditions.

Second Half – A freshly stitched and bandaged David Humphreys returns to the fray. Lock Chris Wyatt, one of Munster’s recruits for next season, comes on for his last appearance for the Scarlets.

Half-Time – LLANELLI 5 ULSTER 12 – Two tries to one, a good half from Ulster’s perspective with the back row unit of Neil Best, Stephen Ferris and Roger Wilson operating very well. With a wind advantage to come in the second half, it’s looking good for Mark McCall’s men.

40+6 mins – Eight minutes of injury time are added. Paddy Wallace has a go at the posts from over 40 metres but he pushes his penalty to the right and wide.

40 mins – Try for Llanelli! Prop Phil John, who has been in the thick of the action, gets over from a few metres out. Andrew Maxwell was tackled into touch, five metres from the Ulster line. The Scarlets won the lineout and drove for the line with Inoke Afeaki just held up. John picks and gets over, adding quite a questionable groin-thrusting celebration! SCARLETS 5 ULSTER 12. Craig Evans misses the conversion to the right.

34 mins – Lee Byrne takes the Scarlets up to the Ulster 22 with an excellent touch finder. Rory Best’s lineout throw is snaffled by Inoke Afeaki and a kick to right corner has Ulster under pressure. David Humphreys is forced off with a cut above his right eye. Having tackled his opposite number, the Ulster and Ireland out-half took an unintentional knee to his face from Phil John. Jonny Bell is substituted on with Paddy Wallace moving to out-half.

…Simon Best is stretchered off at Stradey Park…

30 mins – Bad news for Ulster and Ireland as Simon Best is stretchered off after damaging his left ankle in a ruck. Justin Fitzpatrick comes on to replace his skipper. The prognosis for Best does not look good as he is taken to hospital with a suspected broken ankle.

24 mins – Try for Ulster! Ireland international Andrew Trimble does exceptionally well to hare onto a loose ruck ball, lost by Regan King, in midfield. Trimble hacks ahead, gather the loose ball and whilst tackled by Garan Evans, he shows excellent awareness to find Andrew Maxwell to his right and the Ireland Sevens international charges through for the score. SCARLETS 0 ULSTER 10. David Humphreys converts from close range. SCARLETS 0 ULSTER 12.

18 mins – Try for Ulster! The province gain a turnover, 30 metres from the Scarlets’ line – Isaac Boss puts in a great kick to the right corner for Tommy Bowe to chase, and the Ireland winger traps the ball brilliantly on the run before collecting it and powering over the line under pressure from Mark Jones. That’s Bowe’s 10th League try this season, drawing him level with Jason Forster of the Dragons. SCARLETS 0 ULSTER 5. David Humphreys misses a difficult conversion to the right.

16 mins – Ulster prop and captain Simon Best is found guilty of throwing a punch at Phil John in the scrum and the Scarlets gain a penalty. Craig Evans put a relieving kick in.

12 mins – David Humphreys chips over the top, 10 metres out, but the Scarlets are penalised for taking a man out. Ulster opt for another lineout – they work the short side, then wide out on the right before Andrew Maxwell is put into space on the left – a try looks certain – but Scarlets hooker Aled Gravelle, a converted back row, makes a great saving tackle. The hosts then gain a timely turnover.

10 mins – The Scarlets infringe at a ruck after a good left wing break by Bryn Cunningham. 40 metres out, David Humphreys kicks the penalty to touch. The lineout is won by Matt McCullough. Scarlets prop Phil John is found lying offside at a ruck and Ulster gain another penalty.

2 minutes – A Lee Byrne up-and-under is gathered by Ulster scrum Isaac Boss who turns and evades the Llanelli full back’s follow-up tackle and runs a full 30 metres before kicking to the right corner for Tommy Bowe to chase. The ball finds touch just five metres from the home side’s line but Aled Gravelle’s lineout throw is a good one.

Kick-Off – In wet conditions, Scarlets out-half Craig Evans kicks off with number eight Roger Wilson receiving for Ulster.

Pre-Match – Mark McCall’s side can secure their first Celtic League title if they claim a bonus point win tonight, however the men in white have lost on all of their three previous visits to Stradey Park. McCall has made one change from last week’s 63-17 thrashing of the Borders – Paddy Wallace, who impressed against the Scots, comes in at inside centre for veteran Jonny Bell.

Full back Bryn Cunningham will be making his 100th appearance for Ulster tonight.

It is Scarlets coach Gareth Jenkins’ last game in charge before he takes over as Wales supremo. Incredibly it is a 936th game at the helm for Jenkins, who began his coaching career at Llanelli in 1982.

LLANELLI: Lee Byrne; Mark Jones, Matthew Watkins, Regan King, Garan Evans; Craig Evans, Dwayne Peel; Phil John, Aled Gravelle, Craig Dunlea, Vernon Cooper (capt), Hottie Louw, Inoke Afeaki, Dafydd Jones, Jonathan Mills.

Replacements used: Chris Wyatt for Louw (half-time), Matthew Rees for Gravelle (51 mins), Gavin Evans for Byrne (60). Not used: John Davies, Jonathan Edwards, Lee Williams, Gareth Bowen.

ULSTER: Bryn Cunningham; Tommy Bowe, Andrew Trimble, Paddy Wallace, Andrew Maxwell; David Humphreys, Isaac Boss; Bryan Young, Rory Best, Simon Best (capt), Justin Harrison, Matt McCullough, Neil Best, Stephen Ferris, Roger Wilson.

Replacements used: Justin Fitzpatrick for S Best (30 mins), Jonny Bell for Humphreys (36-half-time), Neil McMillan for Ferris (45). Not used: Nigel Brady, Ryan Caldwell, Kieran Campbell, Tyrone Howe.

Referee: Graeme Hannah (Scotland)