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Murphy On The Double As Ulster ‘A’ Triumph In Llanelli
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Murphy On The Double As Ulster ‘A’ Triumph In Llanelli

Murphy On The Double As Ulster ‘A’ Triumph In Llanelli

A well drilled Ulster ‘A’ team defeated a young Scarlets Premiership Select side 27-19 in the latest round of the British & Irish Cup, securing a try-scoring bonus point thanks to efforts from captain Willie Faloon, John Andrew and Ruaidhri Murphy (2).

The result sees Alex Codling's charges keep the pressure on Pool 2 leaders Bristol, who have a two-point buffer heading into the second half of the pool stages.

Impresive Ulster 'A' prop Ruaidhri Murphy, who scored two tries as a second half replacement, said afterwards: “We executed our game-plan very well. We were just told to keep up the tempo throughout the game and it paid off.

“It's great to contribute with the tries but we played really well as a team and that hopefully puts me in contention to start next week (in the return fixture). Another five points is brilliant for us and it really puts us in the driving seat.

“We have really given ourselves an opportunity here and we can't let up. We have to go again. We are obviously confident after this result but we have to be careful because the Scarlets are going to be like a wounded bull next week with nothing to lose.”

In the opening minutes of the round 3 game at Parc y Scarlets, Ulster 'A' burst into the opposition 22 and were awarded a penalty which out-half Sam Windsor sent through the posts.

The visitors then showed some solid defence to prevent the Scarlets taking advantage of their position following a penalty kick to the corner. They were soon in a similar position themselves in the Scarlets' 22. The maul was formed 15 metres out and they powered all the way over the try-line with skipper Willie Faloon touching down.

Dan Jones earned the Welshmen a penalty, taking the ball in from deep and drilling the ball deep into Ulster territory. The following maul was unsuccessful in breaching the defence, but a few phases later, centre Josh Lewis blasted through the would-be tacklers in midfield to scored under the posts. Dan Jones added the simple conversion and narrowed the gap to 8-7.

Ulster 'A' responded in kind with a powerful surge downfield, pinning the Scarlets on their own line. It took hooker John Andrew to finally get over the line, however, and Windsor added the conversion.

Gavin Thomas' eyes lit up as he tried to intercept a pass but the ball was knocked on and referee Michael Hudson deems the act to be foul play, showing the Scarlets winger a yellow card.

Despite Ulster 'A' hurling everything into the midfield, the Scarlets centre partnership of Lewis and Steffan Hughes held firm with some thumping tackles. The Scarlets did well to deny Ulster any points as Thomas returned to the pitch, with the scoreline remaining 15-7 up to half-time.

However, the Scarlets fell further behind in the 57th minute when they spilled the ball forward in attempting to exit their 22. Ulster 'A' pounced on it and scrambled over the whitewash to steal a quick unconverted try through front rower Murphy.

Good work from the Scarlets saw them respond just past the hour mark, as they used lineout ball to send replacement prop Ben Leung burrowing over from close range. Dan Jones missed the conversion at 20-12.

It was tit-for-tat stuff and Ulster 'A' pressed for a late bonus point score and got their reward with 77 minutes on the clock. After sending wave after wave of forwards through, they created enough of a gap for the well-supported Murphy to drive over and complete his brace. Windsor converted for good measure.

The Scarlets had the final say, gaining a consolation try when winger Dion Jones gathered a flicked pass from Hughes and used his pace to break away and touch down. Dan Jones' second successful conversion closed out the scoring at 27-19 in the province's favour.

Referee: Michael Hudson (England)

Lineups Scorers

Match Lineups

Home Team

Will Thomas; Dion Jones, Steffan Hughes, Josh Lewis, Gavin Thomas; Dan Jones, Connor Lloyd; Rhys Thomas, Ryan Elias, Will Taylor, Ben Thompson, Josh Helps, Jack Jones, Shaun Evans, Trystan Lloyd.

Replacements used: Stuart Worrel for Helps (39 mins), Ben Leung for R Thomas (half-time), Kieran Hardy for C Lloyd (55), Jacob Cowley for Lewis, Taylor Davies for Elias, Rhys Fawcett for Taylor, Christian Long for T Lloyd (all 77).

Away Team

Johnny McPhillips; Aaron Cairns, Callum Patterson, Mark Best, Robert Lyttle; Sam Windsor, David Shanahan; Callum Black, John Andrew, Jonny Simpson, Lewis Stevenson, Matthew Rea, Stephen Mulholland, Willie Faloon (capt), Sean Reidy.

Replacements used: Paul Rowley for Shanahan (half-time), Ruaidhri Murphy for Black (50 mins), Ross Kane for Simpson, Conor Joyce for Faloon (both 62). Not used: Johnny Murphy, John Donnan, Andrew Magrath.

Match Scorers

Home Team

Tries: Josh Lewis, Ben Leung, Dion Jones; Cons: Dan Jones 2

Away Team

Tries: Willie Faloon, John Andrew, Ruaidhri Murphy 2; Cons: Sam Windsor 2; Pen: Sam Windsor