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Scarlets cement top four place

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Guinness Pro12

Ulster 20

Scarlets 21

Aled Davies: Moves across to make a tackleMICHAEL COLLINS scored a brace as the Scarlets beat Ulster 21-20 at the Kingspan Stadium to cement their place in the top four of the GUINNESS PRO12.

Collins scored two first-half tries for the Scarlets but Ulster were able to go in ahead at half-time thanks to scores from Craig Gilroy and Luke Marshall.

The second half wasn’t as open but remained just as tense, with Aled Thomas’ boot doing just enough to kick the Scarlets to victory.

The Scarlets made the perfect start with a try after just four minutes. It came after the visitors had held onto the ball for an extended period of time. Ulster held well initially but eventually the pressure told and when the Scarlets created an overlap, Hadleigh Parkes took advantage to cut inside Darren Cave before feeding Collins for the try.

Aled Thomas missed the conversion, but was on target with a penalty after Ulster were penalised for hands in the ruck.

The deficit was cut back to five points by skipper Paddy Jackson with a snap drop goal, and he gave the home side the lead with a fine conversion after an even better try by Gilroy.

The winger got the ball out on the right but still had 60 metres and a lot of work to do. He showed his pace and some silky footwork to chip over Collins and collect before outpacing Gareth Owen to the line. With Jackson’s extras, Ulster led 10-8 after 20 minutes but the lead did not last long.

A fine break from Owen got the Scarlets back on the front foot, and Thomas then sliced through after the ball had been recycled. A knock-on from Jackson gave the Scarlets an advantage and they showed great hands to ship the ball to the left for Collins to complete a double. This time Thomas was on target with his conversion to make it 15-10.

However just before half-time Ulster moved back in front with another great try. Playing with penalty advantage Paul Marshall sniped away at a ruck and then threw the wide pass to Luke Marshall for the score in the corner despite a convergence of Scarlets defenders.

Jackson again converted from the touchline, to put Ulster back in front, and that was in sharp contrast to Thomas, who hit the post with a penalty effort right on the stroke of half-time after Ulster had been caught offside at a breakdown.

The Scarlets should have had their third try right at the start of the second half but couldn’t quite finish off after wonderful hands had put Collins away. He found DTH van der Merwe inside him but the Canadian was tackled just short of the line. The ball then went right and back left but with Regan King over the line, he couldn’t touch down and the knocked on as he tried to offload.

Still, Ulster failed to clear to touch and after another series of attacks, the home side were penalised for slowing the ball, allowing Thomas to slot the penalty and put the Scarlets back in front.

Ulster’s indiscipline was proving problematic and they lost Chris Henry soon after to the sin-bin when he was penalised for handling the ball at a ruck. Thomas added another three points to stretch the Scarlets’ lead to 21-17.

Trailing by four, Ulster turned down a shot at goal soon after, instead kicking to the corner. It didn’t pay off though as the Scarlets defended well and were able to clear.

However the Scarlets couldn’t manage any more points while Henry was off, and he returned just as they went back to the corner follow an infringement in a ruck.

They couldn’t make that count but when the Scarlets were penalised for failing to roll away, Jackson slotted the simple penalty to make it a one-point game.

They couldn’t make that count but when the Scarlets were penalised for failing to roll away, Jackson slotted the simple penalty to make it a one-point game.

Ulster threw everything at the Scarlets in the last ten minutes but with five to go the visitors got hold of the ball and they were able to see out the game and secure the four points.

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Community

Scarlets’ grassroots clubs show community spirit in delivering vital food packages

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Scarlets community clubs have been working together to help deliver vital food packages across the region.


Volunteers from grassroots clubs and WRU girls hubs across Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire have been helping take the food packages to vulnerable members of society who are self-isolating during the Covid-19 pandemic.


The clubs have teamed up with the Scarlets Community Foundation — the charity arm of the Scarlets — and Carmarthen-based food wholesaler Castell Howell, while Scarlets players Osian Knott, Kieran Hardy, Ryan Conbeer and Jac Morgan have also lent their hand to the operation.


More than 300 packages were due to be delivered on Monday and Tuesday (April 6 & April 7), with the initiative highlighting that even without any action on the field, rugby clubs remain at the heart of their community.
Scarlets Community Foundation manager Caroline Newman said:  “We have been overwhelmed with the support that we have received from local clubs, the number of people prepared to volunteer to help the most vulnerable in our communities has been touching.


“People’s reasons for requesting packs have often been heart-wrenching and it really has made us appreciate what we have.


“The foundation has worked closely with Castell Howell to make sure the packages are ready to go to those whose need is greatest, managing to turn things around pretty quickly and I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone involved in making this happen, our funder, Castell Howell, all the clubs, our helpline volunteer and the foundation members.
“Great teamwork which has made me proud to be part of the fantastic community that rugby creates.”

Here are the rugby clubs and WRU girls rugby hubs taking part in the initiative

Aberaeron, Aberystwyth, Amman Utd, Ammanford, Burry Port, Betws, Bynea, Cardigan, Cefneithin, Felinfoel, Fishguard & Goodwick, Furnace Utd, Haverfordwest, Kidwelly, Llandeilo, Llandovery, Llandybie, Llanelli Wanderers, Llangennech, Llangwm, Merched Mynydd Mawr, Milford Haven, Narberth, New Dock Stars, Newcastle Emlyn, Neyland, Penybanc, Pontyates, St Clears, Stradey Sospans, Tenby Utd, Tumble, Tycroes, Whitland, Yr Hendy.

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Sport

Wales v Scotland postponed

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WALES’ Six Nations match at home to Scotland on Saturday has been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The two other Six Nation fixtures had already been postponed and no date has been confirmed to complete the 2020 Championship.

The Welsh Rugby Union had insisted earlier on Friday the game would “go ahead as planned”.

A WRU statement read: “The Welsh Rugby Union has maintained an open dialogue with, and continued to seek advice and direction from, the National Assembly for Wales and other stakeholders, including the Six Nations, on this fast-moving issue.

“Whilst medical advice remains consistent, we have decided that it is in the best interests of supporters, players and staff to fall in line with recent measures taken across the UK and global sports industries.

“The WRU would like to thank all parties for their counsel on the subject and will make further announcements with respect to rescheduling the fixture in the coming days.

“Every effort has been made to stage this game and we appreciate that individuals will have been inconvenienced. Given the fluid and unprecedented nature of this issue a postponement became the only viable option.”

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Sport

Domestic football at all levels in Wales suspended

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THE FOOTBALL Association of Wales has today (13 March) taken the decision to suspend domestic football at all levels in Wales with immediate effect until April  4 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The intention at this time will be to resume the football schedule depending on the medical advice and conditions from the relevant authorities at that time.  

The FAW is fully aware of the impact this will have on the domestic game but the health and safety of all fans, players, volunteers and stakeholders are of paramount importance. 

The FAW will continue to monitor this situation on a day-by-day basis and will continue to provide updates when appropriate. 

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