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.
A special video package as Pontypridd claimed the double for the first time in their history by winning the Principality Premiership final, including match build-up, highlights, post match reaction and dressing room celebrations.