Pro12: Scarlets 16-13 Ulster
|Guinness Pro12: Scarlets v Ulster|
|Scarlets (6) 16 Tries: Penalty try Cons: Jones Pens: Jones 3|
|Ulster (13) 13 Tries: Stockdale Cons: Jackson Pens: Jackson 2|
Scarlets consolidated their place in the Pro12's top four with a hard-earned win over play-off rivals Ulster.
Jacob Stockdale sliced through weak Scarlets defending to help build a 13-6 half-time lead for the visitors.
Scarlets fought back and clinched victory with a controversial penalty try owing to World Rugby's new rules on high tackles.
Both sides had players sin-binned because of the new rules in a gritty, low-scoring second half.
Scarlets started the game four points above sixth-placed Ulster, who had a game in hand over their opponents.
An exchange of penalties between Scarlets fly-half Dan Jones and opposite number Paddy Jackson had seen the hosts lead 6-3, before Ulster struck midway through the first half.
They were given a helping hand by the Scarlets, as centre Stuart McCloskey wriggled out of a tackle to offload to wing Stockdale, who ran through for an easy score.
New rules under scrutiny
Scarlets recovered with a second-half penalty from Jones, and then a penalty try which put the spotlight on World Rugby's new directive on high tackles.
Players making contact with an opponent's head in "reckless tackles" now receive at least a yellow card - and so it proved for Ulster's Sean Reidy.
The number eight thought he had denied Scarlets scrum-half Aled Davies a score with a tackle on the try line but, because it was deemed high by television match official Carlo Damasco, referee Marius Mitrea sent him to the sin-bin and awarded the hosts a penalty try.
Scarlets second row Jake Ball was also yellow-carded for a high tackle two minutes later, prompting a period of pressure from Ulster.
But Scarlets stood firm to secure a ninth win from 10 Pro12 fixtures.
Scarlets: Johnny Mcnicholl; Liam Williams, Jonathan Davies, Hadleigh Parkes, Steff Evans; Dan Jones, Gareth Davies; Rob Evans, Ken Owens (capt), Werner Kruger, Jake Ball, Tom Price, Lewis Rawlins, James Davies, John Barclay.
Replacements: Ryan Elias, Wyn Jones, Nicky Thomas, Joshua Macleod, Will Boyde, Aled Davies, Aled Thomas, Steff Hughes.
Ulster: Louis Ludik, Andrew Trimble (capt), Luke Marshall, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale, Paddy Jackson, Paul Marshall; Callum Black, Rory Best, Ross Kane, Kieran Treadwell, Iain Henderson, Clive Ross, Chris Henry, Sean Reidy.
Replacements: John Andrew, Andrew Warwick, Jonny Simpson, Franco van der Merwe, Pete Browne, Dave Shanahan, Brett Herron, Tommy Bowe.
Referee: Marius Mitrea (Italy)
Assistants: Elia Rizzo (Italy), Robert Price (WRU)
TMO: Carlo Damasco (Italy)