Late try sees Scarlets miss out on Champions Cup spot after narrow Stormers defeat
A late Ruhan Nel try saw the Scarlets miss out on Heineken Champions Cup qualification as they were beaten 26-21 by the Stormers in Llanelli.
The result means the Ospreys have won the United Rugby Championship’s Welsh Shield and qualified for the Champions Cup as a result.
Nel scored a brace, with Leolin Zas and Evan Roos also touching down for the Stormers, who have booked a home quarter-final. Manie Libbok kicked six points for the visitors.
Johnny Williams and Ryan Conbeer scored tries for the Scarlets, with Sam Costelow kicking 11 points.
The Scarlets drew first blood through Costelow’s boot before a lovely chip over the top of a blitzing Stormers defence by Gareth Davies was gathered by club captain Jonathan Davies, who put Williams over for a tremendous try.
The Stormers hit back when Hacjivah Dayimani brushed aside a few defenders before putting Zas over for his 11th try of the season – a URC-best figure.
Libbok converted, but Costelow nicked three points back after the visitors conceded a penalty from the breakdown.
The Stormers lay siege to the Scarlets try line in the closing stages of the first half as they attempted to batter the West Walians into submission with their powerful ball carriers.
A stolen line-out from Aaron Shingler and a turnover from Liam Williams seemed to keep the South African side at bay, but impressive number eight Roos finally broke the Scarlets defence as he powered over from close range.
Libbok converted, meaning the Scarlets held a slender 16-14 lead at the interval.
The Stormers took the lead two minutes into the second half when Nel hit a tremendous angle to score.
Peel’s side tried desperately to get back into the game and very nearly broke the Stormers line when Rhys Patchell surged clear, but Deon Fourie won a crucial penalty at the breakdown. Fourie soon found himself in the sin bin after he received a yellow card for a high tackle on Kieran Hardy.
The Scarlets kept applying pressure and Conbeer went over for an excellent try. Liam Williams missed the conversion to leave the scores level at 21-21 with eight minutes remaining.
The Scarlets had their opportunities, but Nel ghosted his way over the line at the death to win the game for the Stormers.
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