Marcell Coetzee scored a crucial try to guide Ulster to a shock 25-24 bonus-point win over the Scarlets, while there was also a European Champions Cup victory for Edinburgh on Friday.
Ulster delivered a statement of intent with their stirring one-point triumph in Llanelli. The result saw them move up to second in the Pool 4 standings, while the winless Scarlets remain rooted to the bottom of the log.
In a competitive opening quarter, both sides slotted a penalty and scored a try, but the Scarlets took a slender 10-8 lead thanks to a successful conversion.
The hosts fell apart thereafter as Ulster seized control. They applied all the pressure and their obvious plan to attack down the right-hand blindside paid off when speedster Henry Speight found himself in space to score Ulster’s second for a 13-10 lead at the break.
Ulster landed another telling blow at the start of the second half when centre Will Addison crossed for their third. Having missed his first two conversion attempts, it was third-time lucky for John Cooney, who added the extras.
The Scarlets fought back in the final quarter with a converted try to make it a three-point game. But then Coetzee stormed over to extend Ulster’s lead to eight. The Scarlets scored once more, in the last minute of the game, but it was only enough to earn them a losing bonus point.
Elsewhere, Jaco van der Walt added nine points via the boot in Edinburgh’s 31-13 win bonus-point victory over the Newcastle Falcons. Edinburgh are now top in Pool 5, three points clear of the Falcons.
Champions Cup Round 3 results (Friday):
Scarlets 24 Ulster 25
Edinburgh 31 Newcastle Falcons 13
Champions Cup Round 3 fixtures (Saturday):
Exeter Chiefs vs Gloucester (15:00)
Lyon vs Glasgow Warriors (15:00)
Bath vs Leinster (17:15)
Toulon vs Montpellier (17:15)
Wasps vs Toulouse (19:30)
Champions Cup Round 3 fixtures (Sunday):
Munster vs Castres (15:00)
Saracens vs Cardiff Blues (15:00)
Racing 92 vs Leicester Tigers (17:15)
Photo: Dickson Digital