Scarlets 10-10 Leinster: Top-of-the-table clash ends all square
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 09/03/18 11:29pm
Fly-half Dan Jones kicked a last-gasp penalty to secure Scarlets a dramatic 10-10 draw as Leinster's returning Sean O'Brien was forced off through injury.
Scarlets were trailing 10-7 and just as the clock went red, referee Nigel Owens awarded the home side a lifeline and from 28 metres, Jones put the kick through the posts. The draw now leaves Scarlets three points behind Leinster in Conference B.
Leinster thought they had done enough after the break with a try from Ed Byrne and five points from the boot of fly-half Ross Byrne. The Scarlets scored through centre Paul Asquith which was converted by Jones.
In the rain and wind, Scarlets were on the defensive from the opening whistle. Full-back Dave Kearney ran back a poor clearance from Jonathan Evans and Leinster set up camp in the home 22.
It needed a brilliant turnover from Tadhg Beirne, who is Munster-bound at the end of the season, to help the Scarlets clear their lines but they continued to struggle for field position.
Scarlets did well to keep a clean sheet in the first quarter and the visitors suffered a blow when captain Sean O'Brien, in his first game since December, had to leave the field on 27 minutes with an arm injury.
Two minutes later Scarlets looked like they had made the most of their first visit to the Leinster 22 with Tom Williams stepping inside from the right to go over, but TMO Neil Hennessey intervened to disallow the score for a loss of control in the grounding.
The first-half ended scoreless. But it took only four minutes of the second period to break the deadlock with Ed Byrne getting over after the Irish team had made the most of a scrum inside the Scarlets 22. Ross Byrne converted.
Scarlets responded positively and went through 19 phases inside the Leinster 22 before scrum-half Jonathan Evans knocked on.
But Scarlets came again with a driving maul. Beirne broke away before Asquith finished well. Evans converted to level the scores at 7-7 on 66 minutes.
Leinster's loss of the lead only lasted six minutes, however, as Ross Byrne put over a penalty kick after Scarlets were caught off their feet at a ruck.
Leinster thought they had extended their lead on 75 minutes but Nick McCarthy's try, following a charge down, was ruled out by the TMO for offside.
If that was not dramatic enough a try was ruled out for Scarlets' new signing wing Tom Varndell before Jones' penalty right at the death.