The scale of the challenge couldn’t be much greater for the scarlet at the Guinness PRO14 tonight.
You’re not just playing against a team that started the season with six straight wins and averaging 38 points per game at home.
No wonder coach Glenn Delaney has kept his team’s brilliant shape in a cool perspective lately when he appeared on BBC’s Scrum V last Monday.
Still, there are pluses when a team is in the underdog’s kennel. Since few expect them to win, the match is something like a free kick.
Ulster: Michael Lowry, Matt Faddes, Luke Marshall, Stewart Moore, Rob Lyttle, Bill Johnston, John Cooney; Eric O’Sullivan, John Andrew, Marty Moore and Alan O’Connor (Capt. ), Kieran Treadwell, Matty Rea, Sean Reidy and Marcell Coetzee.
Substitutions: Adam McBurney, Kyle McCall, Tom O’Toole, David O’Connor, Jordi Murphy, Alby Mathewson, Ian Madigan, Craig Gilroy.
Scarlet: Angus O’Brien; Ryan Conbeer, Steff Hughes (CAPT), Paul Asquith, and Steff Evans; Dan Jones, Dane Blacker; Rob Evans, Taylor Davies, Javan Sebastian, Jac Price, Danny Drake, Ed Kennedy, Jac Morgan and Sione Kalamafoni
Substitutions: Daf Hughes, Phil Price, Werner Krüger, Sam Lousi, Uzair Cassiem, Will Homer, Sam Costelow, Tyler Morgan.
He hit Javan Sebastian in the head with one shoulder and only received a yellow card. The Italian referee pointed out the hit by the Irish TMO that the hit contained « minimal force ». .
The ball comes back and goes through the hands, with Dane Blacker, Dan Jones and Steff Hughes involved before Paul Asquith jumps over.
However, the Irish TMO advises that the contact has minimal force. Treadwell is shown a yellow card.
Dan Jones has another penalty chance but hits the post from an odd 20 yards.
Steff Evans shows his class a nice break during which he beats a few men.
Ulster Loosehead Eric O’Sullivan drops one knee on the deck and is punished about 35 meters away.
But Dan Jones makes an unkempt connection and the ball sails far over the post.
Matt Faddes is making up ground before sending a pass to Rob Lyttle and the pace of the wing is searing.
Stephen Ferris chose a great Ulster win and Tom Shanklin agrees.
« You have to face that pressure and when you play the best team in their own field you have to face the challenge. ”
This is the pre-game tub knock for Glenn Delaney before a game where the Scarlets face a team that opened the season with six straight wins.
While we’re talking about high quality performance – see Jac Morgan above – Sione Kalamafoni proves in this term that Guinness PRO14 is a must have.
He’s a start-up player and if he continues as he is he could, if he isn’t already, become a true fan favorite in the west.
His match with Marcell Coetzee, arguably the best-performing PRO14 player this season, should be enjoyed.
It’s a big night in Belfast and a thousand people can take part in the game.
The experiment is seen as an important step in a virus-ridden age to unlock the Guinness PRO14 and return to some sort of normalcy.
If you want numbers, here are numbers: The Brynamman boy did 30 tackles and made three sales in Galway.
The number of hits has been scored the most in a single game by anyone in the Guinness PRO14 this season, and the numbers Opta shared were only the second time in the last 10 years that a Scarlets player has done that had scored many goals in a league match (take a bow, Uzair Casseim, at 31 against Münster last year).
When his side opposed it, he stepped forward and took responsibility. He led and did not escape the nondescript work. He became a focus for team performance.
The Scarlets make three changes to the team that beat Connacht in Galway by a defiant 20-14 win.
Unfortunately, one of the dropouts is the always dangerous Johnny McNicholl, who played for Wales against Georgia yesterday.
Angus O’Brien becomes No.. 15 kit that fits into a back three that also includes Ryan Conbeer and Steff Evans.
He succeeds Morgan Jones, who has been identified as a close Covid contact and is therefore isolated under public health guidelines.
On a late change, Jac Price comes into the lock for Sam Lousi, who falls on the bench.
Ulster Rugby, Scarlets, PRO14, Rugby Union, Ryan Conbeer
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