Ulster booked their passage to the RaboDirect PRO12 final with relative ease with victory over the Scarlets at Ravenhill last night, even though they only outscored the visitors by three tries to two.
Scorers: Ulster: Tries: Bowe, Diack, Court. Cons: Pienaar 2. Pens: Pienaar 3. Scarlets: Tries: G Davies, Timani. Cons: 0 Williams 2. Pens: 0 Williams.
First-half tries from Tommy Bowe and Robbie Diack along with another score early in the second half from Tom Court paved the way for Mark Anscombe’s side to progress to the league’s showdown against Glasgow or Leinster, while South African Ruan Pienaar kicked 13 points from three penalties and two conversions.
Ulster’s cause was also bolstered by storming displays from Nick Williams and man of the match Rory Best while an eye-catching display from Ulster’s sole Lions representative Bowe also helped the home side on their way.
The Scarlets produced another flat display in the wake of last week’s home thumping by Treviso and their failure to score any points between the third and 60th minute told its own tale. They had opened the scoring with a third minute penalty from Owen Williams but Ulster equalised through Pienaar two minutes later.
Bowe stepped inside fellow Lions squad member George North to score the opening try for the hosts and when Pienaar added a conversion, Ulster looked well on top at 10-3.
Diack touched down at the back of a rumbling maul for Ulster’s second try and a Pienaar penalty made it 18-3 at half-time. Court then scored a try three minutes after the restart, meaning scores from Gareth Davies and Sione Timani were merely consolation for Scarlets.
Ulster: Payne, Trimble, Cave, Olding, Bowe, Jackson, Pienaar, Court, Best, Fitzpatrick, Muller, Tuohy, Diack, Henry, Williams. Replacements: Allen for Trimble (75), Nelson for Olding (67), P. Marshall for Jackson (59), Herring for Best (73), Lutton for Fitzpatrick (56), Henderson for Tuohy (67), McComish for Williams (68).
Scarlets: L Williams, North, J Davies, S Williams, Fenby, O. Williams, A. Davies, John, Owens, Lee, Earle, Snyman, Shingler, Turnbull, McCusker. Replacements: A. Thomas for L Williams (41), G. Owen for S Williams (21), G. Davies for A. Davies (45), R Jones for John (59), E. Phillips for Owens (47), Adriaanse for Lee (56), Ball for Earle (50), Timani for Shingler (45).
Referee: A Rolland (Ireland). Att: 10,700.