Phil Davies' first game in charge of Llanelli Scarlets ended in defeat after being shot down in a late storm of tries by defending champions Ulster....
ULSTER 31, LLANELLI SCARLETS 14.
Phil Davies' first game in charge of Llanelli Scarlets ended in defeat after being shot down in a late storm of tries by defending champions Ulster.
Darren Daniel and the boot of Stephen Jones had raised hopes of completing a clean sweep for the Welsh regions as the Scarlets led 16-11 at half-time.
But David Humphreys hauled Ulster back into the game before Paul Steinmetz and Mark Bartholomeusz went over late on to deny Davies an opening day victory at Ravenhill.
Davies fielded a youthful side and was without injured skipper Simon Easterby but was at least able to re-unite Wales and British Lions half-backs Dwayne Peel and Stephen Jones.
However it was a shaky start for the No10 when he saw a clearance kick charged down by Neil McMillan and his opposite number Humphreys pounced to score the game's opening try.
But the Lions pair soon found their touch to give the Scarlets a hard-fought the lead before half-time.
Jones settled Scarlets nerves with two penalties before Peel showed a terrific turn of pace to catch Ulster flat-footed at the second re-start.
Peel released Daniel and the young winger showed a mature head to chip over the head of opponent Andrew Maxwell before stepping on the gas to claim the try.
Jones landed the conversion and a third penalty gave Llanelli a five-point advantage at the break.
But Ulster lost only twice at Ravenhill last season and showed why, hitting back through the boot of Humphreys and two late tries.
Whenever Bedlinog tackle Penallta a massive fixure is guaranteed but this Sunday there will be even more emphasis placed on the two rivals when they contest the SSE Swalec Plate final at Principality Stadium.
Ahead of their SSE SWALEC Bowl Final clash with Taffs Well at Principality Stadium on Sunday, Burry Port share their #FABXV nomination with WRUTV in the search for Welsh rugby's greatest volunteers. Everyone can get involved by sending nominations via twitter to @WRU_Community using the hashtag #FABXV
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SWALEC ambassador Shane WIlliams is looking forward to Sunday's Finals Day where the Cup, Bowl and Plate offers a great opportunity for players and teams to experience the magic of playing at Principality Stadium
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Meet Aberdare coach Luke Thomas whose #FABXV nomination goes to super volunteer Daz with a whopping 10 things he does for the club each week, all except the ironing! You can also join in the search for Welsh rugby's greatest volunteers, by sending your nomination via twitter to @WRU_Community using the hashtag #FABXV