Date Time Competition Season
24 September 2022 1:00 pm United Rugby Championship 2022/23

Match Report

Ulster edge past Scarlets in dramatic twelve try encounter

It was a 12 try thriller in Llanelli as Ulster defeated Scarlets 55-39 in the United Rugby Championship. They take a bonus point win back to the Kingspan Stadium ahead of next week's clash against Leinster.

A scintillating, end to end contest from the off with six tries scored during the opening 40 minutes, with another six scored in the second.

Ulster dominated the early stages with Nick Timoney and Stuart McCloskey causing Scarlets issues with their powerful carries. Just after the fifth minute, captain Alan O’Connor burst over from close range for the game’s first try.

Cooney converted with a relatively easy conversion to extend their lead. Ulster’s relentless attack remained and minutes later they found their second try.

Constant pressure proved tiring for the Scarlets’ defence, and Marty Moore powered over from a couple of metres out. Cooney converted again and it was starting to look like it could be a long day at the office for the hosts.

Immediately from the restart, Scarlets bounced back after some big carries from Sione Kalamafoni and Josh MacLeod helped gain valuable metres, before Jonathan Davies crossed the try line. Sam Costelow converted and helped lift the home crowd.

Just minutes later, the fourth try of the game was scored, just after the 20th minute. In a move starting with Costelow inside his own half, the Welsh side worked through the phases excellently with some brilliant, free flowing rugby, resulting in a Stefan Combeer try in the corner.

Although Costelow missed the conversion, he put his side into the lead five minutes later with a well taken penalty, turning the game upside down within a matter of minutes.

A critical turning point in the first period was the yellow card awarded to Sam Costelow after colliding with Ulster winger Arron Sexton in the air.

Just over two minutes later, a Mike Lowry line break carved the Scarlets defence open before unselfishly offloading into the path of John Cooney who dived over to give Ulster the lead again.

Cooney converted his own try to give his side a six-point lead heading into the final moments. With the time now in the red zone, Dan McFarland’s side opted to keep the ball in play and search for a bonus point.

 This risk worked out and Mike Lowry yet again gained yards after dancing through Scarlets’ attempted tackles. After recycling the ball, Marcus Rea crossed for the all-important bonus point try. Cooney’s conversion sent Ulster into the dressing rooms at half time with a 28-15 lead.

The second half started in the exact same fashion as the first half and there was a try scored after less than two minutes. Billy Burns’ pass was intercepted by Scarlets’ lock Vaea Fifita who ran from the halfway line and dived under the posts. Costelow converted and brought them within six points of Ulster.

John Cooney quickly replied with a penalty from the ten-metre line to make the game a two-score game yet again.

Ulster found their first try of the second period after some big carries from Kieran Treadwell and a turnover won inside the Scarlets’ 22. Burns backed himself from close range and was rewarded, with Cooney maintaining his 100% record from the tee.

The high pace of the game continued, as did Scarlets’ fight with Dafydd Hughes crossing after a fantastic rolling maul from the hosts. Costelow added the extras to keep his side in the game.


15Ioan Nicholas 23 Full-Back
14Corey Baldwin
13Jonathan Davies Centre 18'
12Johnny Williams Back
11Ryan Conbeer Winger 21'
10Sam Costelow 22 Fly-Half 19', 43', 55'
9Gareth Davies 21 Scrum-Half
1Steff Thomas Prop
2Ryan Elias 16 Forward
3Javan Sebastian 17 Forward
4Vaea Fifita Lock 42'
5Sam Lousi Lock
6Blade Thomson 19 Flanker
7Josh Macleod 20 Flanker
8Sione Kalamafoni No. 8
16Dafydd Hughes 2 Forward 54', 63'
17Sam O’Connor 3
18Harri O’Connor
19Tom Price 6 Lock
20Luca Giannini 7
21Kieran Hardy 9 Back
22Dan Jones 10 Fly-Half
23Rhys Patchell 15 Back 64'


15Michael Lowry Fly-Half
14Arron Sexton 23 Back
13Luke Marshall 22 Centre
12Stuart McCloskey Centre
11Jacob Stockdale Winger
10Billy Burns Fly-Half 49'
9John Cooney Scrum-Half 34', 58'
7', 16', 35', 40', 50', 59', 80'
44', 75'
1Andrew Warwick 17 Prop
2Rob Herring Hooker
3Marty Moore 18 Prop 15'
4Alan O’Connor Lock 6'
5Kieran Treadwell 19 Lock
6Matty Rea No. 8
7Marcus Rea 20 Flanker 40'
8Nick Timoney Flanker
16Declan Moore
17Eric O’Sullivan 1 Prop
18Tom O’Toole 3 Prop 79'
19Sam Carter 5 Lock
20Sean Reffell 7
21David Shanahan Scrum-Half
22Angus Curtis 13 Fly-Half
23Craig Gilroy 14 Winger

Past Meetings

(Round 11)
27 - 15
United Rugby Championship
Kingspan Stadium

Ulster v Scarlets

(Round 7)
26 - 24
Kingspan Stadium

Ulster v Scarlets


Parc y Scarlets
Llanelli, Wales, SA14 9BU, United Kingdom

Luke is a final year Journalism student in DCU. He is a Sports Reporter for Wicklow People Sport and